Will the Death Penalty Bring Justice to the Buffalo Shooting Victims?

·3 min read
A memorial for the supermarket shooting victims is set up outside the Tops Friendly Market on Thursday, July 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. N.Y. The Buffalo supermarket where 10 Black people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors, two months after the racist attack.
A memorial for the supermarket shooting victims is set up outside the Tops Friendly Market on Thursday, July 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. N.Y. The Buffalo supermarket where 10 Black people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors, two months after the racist attack.

It’s been three months since Peyton Gendron shot and killed 10 Black people in a racially motivated attack at a Buffalo supermarket. Investigators found that Gendron wanted to inspire others to follow his footsteps. The son of victim Celestine Chaney, 65, told ABC News he worries the death penalty will make Gendron out to be a martyr.

For Wayne Jones, the only child of Chaney and father of six, he’d rather see the teen spend the rest of his life in prison. Shoot, state prison might as well be a death sentence.

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“When you see him in court, he’s a child. You can tell he’s a child and, whether he tells anybody or not, you can see it in his face, ‘I messed up badly.’ So, for me, I would rather for him to just stay behind bars for the rest of his life. If you kill him, he becomes a martyr,” he told ABC News.

If you think about it, Gendron was only one of many white supremacists who have plotted on attacking Black communities unprovoked. In their eyes, Gendron would be executed with honor being he fulfilled his plan. As a result, others may be encouraged to commit the same acts of evil.

More on Gendron’s case from ABC News:

As Jones spoke out, a new federal Joint Intelligence Bulletin obtained by ABC News warns that the public disclosure of Gendron’s nearly 700-page online diary is likely to enhance the capability of copycat attackers.

The National Counterterrorism Center document from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said the tactics, techniques and procedures Gendron allegedly wrote about “may contribute to the current threat landscape” because it represents a “how-to guide for future attackers.”

“DHS, FBI and NCTC (The National Counterterrorism Center) assess that the dissemination of written guidance outlining the tactics, techniques and procedures used by the alleged Buffalo attacker will likely enhance the capabilities of potential mass casualty shooters who may be inspired by this attack,” the bulletin said.

Steadily over the past few years (you know, the Trump Era), hate crimes have increased against Black people. The evils of racism were already exposed, but now people are just getting bold. According to a study by the Anti-Defamation League, those very people inspire white teens to be hateful too, breeding younger generations of white supremacists.

Garnell Whitfield Jr., wife of victim Ruth Whitfield, told ABC News that’s what we really need to be focusing on, not Gendron.

“I don’t care if he gets the death penalty or not. I don’t really care about him. I’m not going to spend my time talking about him or focusing on him,” Whitfield said. “The truth of the matter is that I’m focused on the things that empowered him and the reason he became who he was. The systems and the people that continue to be in power to this day that continue to make victims of us all.”