Buffalove…

Last Saturday, I was having a picnic with friends in the park near my apartment here in Dublin. It was a lovely afternoon filled with conversation and laughter and prosecco. But then, when I got back to my place in the early evening, in my prosecco-filled haze, I saw on twitter and facebook that something was happening in my hometown of Buffalo, New York.

And it was the worst thing one could imagine – a mass shooting. At a grocery store. On a saturday afternoon. A lone gunman, armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor, shot 13 people, killing 10 of them. Details were sketchy when I first heard the news. I immediately tried to figure out which Tops market the shooting had taken place at. When I found out the location was Jefferson Ave. on Buffalo’s East Side, I knew in an instant that everyone in my immediate family and friend circle was safe. I also was 99% sure that the shooting was going to be a young, white man and that this was a racially-motivated hate crime.

I was right.

The terrorist, whose name I will not write here, purposely picked this Tops market because it was located in a black neighborhood. He posted a hate-filled manifesto online and live-streamed his shooting spree on twitch. What has happened so many times before in so many places in the US has now happened in my home town. I spent the rest of that evening crying as details of the massacre started to filter online and onto the news over here.

Buffalo has been experiencing a renaissance in recent years – at the same time some would argue that Dublin has experienced a bit of a downturn. Buffalo now has amazing restaurants, wonderful entertainment, cultural and sporting events, and areas that were once abandoned and derelict factories are finding uses as some of those restaurants and entertainment venues. Winter or summer, there’s now amazing stuff to do in Buffalo.

But there is still a segregation of neighborhoods – hence how I knew immediately when I learned the address of the store that it was a racially-motivated attack. There is a difference being white in Buffalo and being black in Buffalo – just as there is a difference being white in America and being black in America. It’s my white privilege that allowed me to nearly immediately know that my family and friends were safe in the aftermath of this attack – my zip code wouldn’t have been targeted by a racist, gun-toting terrorist.

I could go on about white privilege or start in on gun control but I’m not going to do that today. Today, I just want my hometown to know that I love it and that no matter how long I’ve been away, it will always be home. And, while I won’t write the name of the terrorist, I will write the names of those he killed.

They deserved better and now, at the very least, they deserve to be remembered.

  • Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo
  • Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo
  • Andre Mackniel, 53, of Auburn, New York
  • Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport, New York
  • Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo
  • Celestine Chaney, 65, of Buffalo
  •  Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo
  • Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo
  • Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo
  • Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo

Rest in power. Rest in peace.

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