Ahead Of The Rest

Buffalo shooting: what we know about the victims so far | New York | The Guardian

We’ve stopped counting all the losses.

There’s no reason to keep score at this point, considering how one tragedy bleeds seamlessly into the next. From Buffalo, New York to Orange County, California to some other town that is doomed to the same fate, real soon. To tell the truth about who we have become would be to admit defeat and that kind of self reflection ain’t in our DNA.

It’s been twenty-three years since Columbine introduced us to the future with a horror movie script that has become commonplace in 2022: The senseless carnage, all the warning signs left unheeded and the political war chests that cash in on the latest tragedy like vampires at the end of the world.

The reality of yet another lost day is that too many people have stopped pretending to give a damn. The media treats each new mass shooting like a severe weather forecast, focusing on the details for a day or two at most before moving on to the next storm front. Meanwhile, our elected representatives will stick to their respective company lines as if a quarter century’s worth of ruinous endings never really happened. What’s left unsaid is that these reckonings have become our national seal. And while we might be trailing the rest of the world in too many areas, we’re ahead of the rest when it comes to lost days.

There is no line in the sand when it comes to this perpetual cycle of violence, just as there is no middle ground when it comes to meaningful dialogue that could help to prevent more of the same. The indivisibility of our republic is being sold for parts by merchants whose menacing narratives feed the public forum with rage while liberty and justice get clobbered in its wake: Without reason, without compassion and without any indication that we’re going to be able to climb our way out of this nightmarish pit before it swallows us.

Ten lives were taken from the world on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo, New York. Six-hundred and forty seven years worth of living was stolen away to the mysteries of somewhere else. And we can only hope that the somewhere else they find possesses the kind of peace and reason and truth this world never has been very good at. Not even twenty-four hours later, on the other side of the country another soul was lost to the unrelenting madness.

There are questions that seep into my brain if I allow my mind to wander through all the decades worth of unimaginable losses which have gone unanswered. These questions come to me as if I just woke from a Mary Shelley fever dream, but the truth is she probably couldn’t have imagined such darkness inside her most manic of writing streaks. These questions speak to the division we have cultivated as a society and the seeds of hate it has spawned; seeds that have grown into angry redwoods, intent on blotting out the sun and replacing it with a never ending night.

What if this is how it’s always going to be? What if it’s too late to save ourselves . . from ourselves?

The answers are more frightening than that.


71 thoughts on “Ahead Of The Rest

  1. B

    This has to keep meaning something. Two days of discussion before sweeping it under the rug to be forgotten cannot suffice. There will come a point that the rug no longer lays flat. Actually, it should be tripping everyone by now.

    The nonchalance these horror stories are met with is beyond disconcerting.

    Keep caring. Keep sharing. Keep it in the news. Like you said, a couple of days for these stories to be “newsworthy” are not enough.

    Governments have to step up. Enough already.

    Fabulous writing, as per.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for your fine discussion on this horrific carnage that seems never ending , the NRA is as strong as ever because they continue to “buy” these corrupt senators . Bible quoting Florida Sen. Mario Rubio receives millions of dollars to endorse them and fight for the right to keep and bear arms only it goes beyond that, the GOP continues to defeat bills that would regulate what kind of weapons can be available and to who. In addition far right media are radicalizing and promoting hatred with impunity.
    The extremist Republican Party must be called out directly for spreading hatred. It’s an American tragedy..

    Liked by 6 people

  3. This is very sad and has become normal. It is hard to imagine where you are at in your own person that you’d think it okay to step out and cold bloodedly kill people.
    I was about to say that you could almost ‘understand’ a ‘crime of passion’ murder, which is impulsive and overwhelming. But these shooters probably consider these shootings a passion act.
    It seems a no brainer to lots of us that guns should only be owned by a select group of people, and that the NRA shouldn’t have so much power. Right to bear arms is from a time when everybody needed to be able to defend themselves, because they couldn’t rely on nearby law enforcers / army.
    I’m not American, so my opinions may not be welcome.
    It just remains unbelievable and very sad – and easily forgotten – as the next atrocity occurs. Including pandemic, wars, and other hate crimes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for weighing in with such an insightful comment.

      I think all voices need to be heard and listened to, because it sure isn’t happening right now. There is no justifying all the carnage and all the hollow language that preceded it. We have to be better than this, and sadly, I’m not seeing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You described the reporting as ‘like a severe weather forecast’ – news today, gone tomorrow. And admittedly, when the news of this shooting came up someone in our house said ‘there’s been another shooting in America’ and someone else replied ‘oh.’
        Just another day, it seems. And that’s a sad reflection too. Safe where I am 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • I remember when Adam Lanza walked into an elementary school in Connecticut and murdered twenty-six people, twenty of them were children. I was on the phone with a friend, she was a teacher. We watched the news footage and sobbed. No words, just sobbing. I remember her saying this shooting would HAVE to change things.

          That was ten years ago.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Our ‘leaders’ always managed to hide somewhere when it came time to discuss real change. These days, with politics having become more corrosive than ever, they no longer have to bother hiding.


  4. We truly are living in a mad (as in insane) country. We degenerate daily. Once we were in the road to enlightenment—where people valued human life. Now we’re reverting to savagery.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was so obsessed with Columbine starting with Dave Cullen’s book.

    Those two disturbed boys who seemed to launch this terrible trend. Dylan’s mother, and it cost her her marriage because her husband didn’t want to talk about what their son did anymore, lectures all over the country, bravely so other parents don’t make the same mistakes that they made.

    A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
    Book by Sue Klebold

    Buffalo now, but this kid is still with us. So maybe, just maybe we’ll learn why he did what he did. The hate so soldered into his soul. Where does it start, His parents? I’m really asking because what he did, what they all have done, just takes my breath away Marco.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your comment speaks to something I wrote a while back in regards to these kid shooters. “We will turn them into monsters”.

      It surely wasn’t meant as a justification, but more a question. Why don’t we pay attention to the signs? Why do we let those disconnected kids wade so far from shore that it becomes impossible to retrieve them?

      We can do so much better. The question is, will we ever?

      Thank you SB

      Liked by 2 people

      • Her son was a very sweet boy who covered his torment well. She and her husband thought by respecting his privacy, they were doing the right thing. If they had only seen what was on his computer, imagine…Columbine may not have happened. I love that you stepped out on this. Kids, especially now with so much unrest in the world, need monitoring. This young guy gunning down all those people in Buffalo. Did you see him? He’s this handsome kid who walked into a store and bought weapons like it was the most natural thing in the world. I’m shaking my head.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. You have a heart of gold Marc!
    And my pet peeve is that the responses usually involve tigger gun control while they miss the mental health that underpins this –
    I agree with what you wrote about “The senseless carnage, all the warning signs left unheeded ”

    But the powers to be on some sides put all the blame on guns – forgetting the user needs the focus
    Someone did a study on the prescription drugs that mass shooters were taking (prescription drugs can funk people up – esp those that lead to thoughts of suicide – and the Dylan Klebold mom documentary talked about how mass shooters are suicidal and then homicidal – and also the mental health issues they have)

    And so with this recent – very sad and painful – buffalo shooting – the threats the shooter made at his high school show how displaced and in pain he likely was during his school years!
    These shootings should lead to social change and mental health improvements and not constantly focusing on gun control (that has a place – but the violence in the culture – (esp
    Movies) the social circles that form with misguided principles etc – well that plays a part .
    The over authoritarian approach to early mental health needs and too quick to prescribe drugs to teens bothers me!
    We need more coping skills and mental health education in the early years.
    Also – I think a Godless culture leads to this ugliness – well actually I heard someone say that by the grace of god there was not hundreds of folks killed in the Buffalo grocery store shooting
    I agree – it could have been a hundred or more !
    And with columbine – the sprinklers went on and that interfered with the plans they had and kept the death count down! Still so tragic but could have been many more lives lost!

    I recently heard the brief bio of those who died in buffalo (on NPR) and my heart was moved! The shared the names and some survivors shared tidbits – and so hopefully these incidents can bring unity and discussion that can lead to change

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mental health and how we treat it is yet another national tragedy in my opinion. We still keep most discussions at arm’s length when a hug and a shoulder and a person to listen would work so much better.

      Warning signs ALWAYS mean something. Just because some never lead to harm, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be paying attention to every single one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes to the warning signs
        and defining mental health is another matter
        I was tuned into a radio program real quick and they were saying “there is no way the Buffalo shooter had mental problems” – what?? The guy was saying that because he planned it and broadcast it that showed no mental problems
        the wounds and the pain run deep and it doesn’t mean these folks are not competent and cannot carry out planned harms. write the opposite – all their pain and years of build up get funnel into a payback – or what they think is a huge public statement – or a revenge (in their mind) kind of thing. I am in no way defending what this buffalo shooter did (and I refuse to say his name) but the very real pain and anger and his “replacement theory” manifesto shows something that gets glossed over in our current culture – I am not advocating for anyone here – but Sarah’s husband in SC (considered white even though he is three races) placed high on a government job test but was overlooked because they had a quota to fill for minorities – and that quote is important – oh my goodness yes – but we really should make sure we get the right perps for the job and not only click the box that says this or that. But this man said he felt ostracized and was in. bad place because of the current culture shifts.
        and we are all human and the pigment of our skin should not classify us – yet we continue to let it – sigh
        so the wounds of all people need to be considered and white supremacy (so is any group that affiliates like this – that congregates by skin color – IMHO)- and what the buffalo shooter did breaks my heart ( and I think you know I was raised in Buffalo and I know that street) and I am so glad the 20 year old pushing shopping carts – who got shot in the neck – so glad he is going to survive
        Marc, this could have been much worse and by the grace of God it wasn’t – but still – breaks my heart and let’s hope and pray that warning signs can be heeded (even tho I did watch a show that showed how some attacks were stopped and prevented – so many! and many of us will never ever know – but there are safeguards and some good that has happened to prevent certain things )
        but again – so sad when it is American citizen doing this to his own fellow citizens –
        and here are the names – in their honor:

        32-year-old Roberta A. Drury, 52-year-old Margus D. Morrison, 53-year-old Andre Mackneil, 55-year-old Aaron Salter Jr., 62-year-old Geraldine Talley, 65-year-old Celestine Chaney, 67-year-old Heyward Patterson, 72-year-old Katherine Massey, 77-year-old Pearl Young, and 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield

        Liked by 1 person

        • This is the problem. Well, one of the problems. People treat mental illness as if they were looking under the hood of a car. They don’t see any wires hanging out or any ruptured hoses, they figure all’s good.

          You’re right. People of all colors are feeling marginalized these days. It’s like a huge powder keg, and when it explodes, horror. And its everywhere and it’s all the time. People, stressed beyond the breaking point about making ends meet, getting a good job, being able to afford college . . hell, being able to afford rent or a mortgage or groceries or gas.

          Thank you for those names. All those stories, quieted. Victims of this madness that prevails, still.

          Peace and love to you Prior

          Liked by 1 person

          • You are so right about the strains of making ends meet – and gas is a huge factor – it is scary.

            and I just took a CE that mentioned race and how our forms are so limiting – for example, belle from Iran do not want to be classified as white. Heck – I also don’t because I am two or more races and feel that white is too Broad – and so one of the takeaways was for researchers to be specific – which I have been doing – and not use a general word but write it out – the participant defined their ethnicity as German and African American (and the word race mothers me – lineage or ethnic background is more appropriate).
            Years ago, the acclaimed Dr Carson said that when he did surgery – he never knew what skin color someone had – he said we are all the same – just pigment differences and variations in some external factors like hair type and color – etc

            and Marc – because the group class-action of “white” is so broad – it misses something else. – for example, my husband and I are a mixed-race marriage – but for some reason that tends to only apply to darker skin mixing with lighter.
            but most couples are biracial (if we want to use that word race) – and my spouse has Dutch and gram roots with olive tone skin all winter long – and I am polish and Irish (small percent of French) and have stark white skin in winter. Yep, we are a biracial couple but we get the category – both of us – as plain ol “white”

            I think we need to fix these categories and not identify by them – but remember how alike we are as homosapians and as ceated by God – uniquely beautiful and with different gifts – and different physiologies and subtle variances to be celebrated.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Amen to this.

            I am sick and tired of being referred to as a “middle age white guy”. When the truth of the matter is I have Italy and Havana coursing through my veins. I am an amalgam of different stories, and yet, I’m heaped. It makes little sense that we lose the value of these stories when we generalize.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes – and that is one takeaway of the CE course i took about the misfires with the little
            Box we check for identifying people – it needs to be improved and hopefully small changes are in the works

            Hearts go out to the Texas victims and community and to all
            Of us! This is terrible and again – the focus should be on mental health – and also –
            Maybe individuals should not be allowed certain types of guns –
            Joy not needed to have those heavy duty assault weapons and gear -/ sigh

            Liked by 1 person

          • What are your feelings on the anti-bullying measures schools take? Do you think it’s working?

            We do not take mental health seriously even now. It’s still something we push to the side rather than deal with it front and center. It’s madness.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi –
            That s a great question and my replies
            1) I don’t know enough about all the measures, but feel some school districts do the anti bully protocols better; some school systems need to implement them in younger grades
            2) teachers and admin are often too authoritarian and some even have a “type” of bullying that destroys children – some teachers also don’t have forgiveness for when a child goes from “wild student” to “maturing and changed”-
            And so the entire system is not always conducive to wellness – not with the rigid approach – this closely aligns with the punitive nature of our legal system where young people have a mild infraction that could have been assuaged but if dealt with so firmly – iron hand! – well the young offender ends up on an unhelpful path instead of a helpful one!
            We don’t have the physical hitting and the abuse that Pink Floyd songs might address
            But so many of the schools are rigid institutions with so many sour things – sigh
            And I cannot recall the documentary but a guy who is a doctor now talks about how he got in trouble as a teen and the way it was mishandled led him down a rough path!

            I wish I could say Christian schools had things a little better because you know, having God in the picture and all. But the truth is that Christian schools (in my very humble opinion) vary greatly and so many can be legalistic or with the same social problems as public and other private –

            What are your thoughts on this topic?

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think we need to do something differently, which is why I ask. Because kids responses are like surveys . . dubious. They might say what the teachers and adults want to hear. I don’t know.

            My son encountered a couple of bullying professors in his time in college. He’s conservative and he was given a talking to, made an example in front of the class. I mean, what the hell? That’s wrong.

            Most institutions are too rigid when it comes to this stuff. I remember growing up where it was corporal punishment. We were actually hit by teachers. Can you imagine that today? Now, that was wrong of course. But as often happens, we just flipped the script the entire other way. That hasn’t worked either.

            I went to Catholic school for a short time when we lived in Puerto Rico. All classes in Spanish, so I found a buddy and she helped me through. I also got in trouble a few times and yes, I got the map pointer to the ass treatment. Not pleasant.

            When my son was around five, I remember spanking him once when we were out. I immediately regretted it and I never spanked my kids ever again. Instead, I just practiced consistency when it came to discipline. This worked better than anything else would have. My kids learned that when they played by the rules, good times happened. When they didn’t, sorry nope. No short cuts. No excuses. It worked.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Marc
            Your approach to spanking was similar to ours
            We just felt it is not needed because the human mind can be tapped and if we look at classic conditioning, operant conditioning, and modeling – behaviors can be sculpted and modified without the need for physical harm (or mental harm)!

            A huge misunderstanding I see in the Christian church is the idea to spank to keep a child in line
            They misunderstand the verse “spare the rod and soil
            The child”
            When it doesn’t mean a hitting rod!!
            The shepherd term was a culture reference that folks would understand better back then – and a shepherd used his rod to LEAD and GUIDE the sheep!
            We don’t see a shepherd person beating the heck out a sheep because it wouldn’t be effective or needed!
            Maybe they might hook the neck with their staff to yank them in line and protect them!
            But the “rod” in that verse refers to a training tool and a shepherd person would teach the sheep the way and the rod could be tapped to signal a turn – and lifted to guide !

            Sadly – some preachers view the rod as a spanking tool and think it means spanking
            But it really is better translated
            “Spare the teaching and training and you can ruin the child”
            Or “without proper parenting and help to navigate life, the child will founder and maybe have lots of probs”
            It breaks my heart to think of “whippings” and sadly the wounds a child endures from
            That can end up ruining part of their adulthood.

            I know a distant family friend who just had a hip replacement – in her 30s!
            The docs said unknown causes – possibly an injury as a child –
            Like a fall-
            But guess what –
            The dad was also a “spanker” and in my heart I think that too many spankings under six void have impaired hip development –
            Well a few of us think that –
            Anyhow – that daughter wouldn’t even let her dad go to her wedding and she knows she got a bum deal with him!
            No parent is perfect!!
            But it is with love and support we nurture our children

            This hard ass approach (whether in schools or at home) can confuse,
            Injure, hinder growth, and cause much harm!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I totally agree. Kids need to have consistency and guidance. They actually yearn for that stuff and when it is not there, they compensate with other behaviors. It takes on a cumulative effect over time.

            Now, are there kids who are just evil? It’s an interesting question and I really don’t know the answer. We see adults commit horrible atrocities and we are left to wonder if this was always going to be that person? Or did their upbringing contribute to their nature in such as way as to turn them into monsters.

            I think the worst thing we do is turn these kids who commit these mass shootings into monsters. I am NOT justifying what they do of course. But dammit, they are kids and we do not press further into HOW they ended up there. What might have contributed to this over time? What might have changed everything?

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadly, it already seems as if this is the way it’s going to be. {head shaking} And I cannot begin to wrap my head around it. The limp ‘thoughts and prayers’ mantra is almost as infuriating as the rabid call for gun control of which there simply is no way to enforce. Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle now that there are more guns than people in this country. It’s a shameful time and yet no one seems able or willing to do anything about it. Whatever “it” is. 😭

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so sorry!

    Although we have had a few attempts at copy cat mass killings up here, the fact that we have always had gun control laws means that it’s not that easy to get guns and go kill.
    We did have an incident where a guy used a van to mow down about 10 people.
    There have been attempts at mass stabbings. They don’t get far.

    There is some gang violence with illegal guns.

    Having said that, I don’t see how you can reign in the guns, hate and ignorance?
    I think there are so many guns & owners in the states, how could it ever change? It seems too, late.

    Yet, it slowly gets worse up here.
    Violence in general is and always has been a way of life …. in the movies, video games, TV, online…….. history.. the wild west, the subduing of our aboriginal populations, dictators, wars in general.

    Conclusion: Man was, is and always will be the inferior creature on earth.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s where things go from horrible to crazy to hopeless. We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to settling matters with violence. The fact that you can procure a gun in most places with no sweat doesn’t help things at all. So when the gun control peeps say “tighten restrictions!”, the pro gun people say “Give people MORE guns!” which is bat shit crazy thinking but it somehow has many fans. Still.

      We need to take mental illness seriously RIGHT NOW. We need to make schools and work places an inclusive place all the way around. That means outreach, that means everyone listening and learning and doing every conceivable thing to help those who need help. NOW. It is not an end all but it is possible. We need to unplug devices and plug into people who need us. And we need to make weapons harder to purchase than a pack of cigarettes.

      Today it was Texas.

      15 dead. Most are kids.

      This doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.


    • Resa

      Yesterday was the latest sad chapter in our national tragedy that has no end to it. Only more lost days.

      19 people dead. 19 stories gone forever. 19 lives that will never see tomorrow. And for what? So that we can pretend that some thing will change? When we know in our heart of hearts that it won’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so sorry too!
        I had only recently left a comment about the Buffalo thing… then this.
        I read that one of the things that the red stripes in your flag represent is blood shed.
        You need to add a lot more red stripes.

        Liked by 1 person

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