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Biden visits site of racist mass shooting


US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden visit a memorial near a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were shot dead

President Joe Biden laid flowers and prayed Tuesday at the site of America’s latest deadly mass shooting, warning that the white supremacist ideology motivating the alleged gunman is tearing the country’s “soul” apart.

In the hastily organized trip to Buffalo, New York, Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, reprised the wearily familiar role for presidents of consoler-in-chief.

A strong breeze tugged at balloons and flowers piled under a tree while the Bidens paid their respects, the president making the sign of the cross before giving way to a delegation of elected officials laying their own bouquets.

Biden was later scheduled to deliver a speech that, like so many he has given, will urge Congress to overcome division on restricting firearms ownership, a constitutionally protected right that has led to there being more guns than people in the world’s richest nation.

In Saturday’s rampage, the killer wielded an AR-15, a military style weapon which has been used repeatedly in mass shootings around the country while at the same time being one of the most popular rifles for legitimate gun enthusiasts.

He will also highlight the failure to keep firearms away from people with serious mental illness who are “a danger to themselves or others.”

The most acute portion of Biden’s remarks could be about a deeper rooted threat to the nation — the racism and extremism that the 79-year-old Democrat cited as motivations for first coming out of retirement to take on then president Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“He’ll call on all Americans to give hate no safe harbor, and to reject the lies of racial animus that radicalize, divide us, and led to the act of racist violence we saw on Saturday,” the official said.

The suspect captured after the shooting was said by police to have authored a lengthy manifesto promoting extreme, but increasingly widely held, white supremacist ideas.

It is a conspiracy theory that, like the bizarre QAnon narrative, has spread from the furthest fringes of society to surprisingly mainstream areas — most notably Tucker Carlson’s enormously influential nightly talk show on Fox News.

sms/mlm

Originally published as Biden visits site of racist mass shooting



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