The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. — Genesis 4:10–16
On May 14, 2022, eighteen-year-old Payton Gendron left his suburban home in Conklin, New York, for Buffalo with a specific three-part plan he laid out in his manifesto. Go to Tops Friendly Market and kill as many Blacks as possible, avoid dying, and spread ideals.
Gendron managed to accomplish his goals. He killed ten people and wounded three others. He wasn’t killed and uploaded his so-called manifesto to the sites he frequented that spread the racist hate and vindictive vitriol of replacement theory he consumed regularly.
On February 15, 2023, Payton was in court for sentencing and made the following statement,
“I sincerely apologize for the suffering I made the casualties and their families endure. I sincerely apologize for taking your loved ones’ lives. “I cannot convey how much I regret all the choices I made leading up to my actions on May 14.” “That day, I made a horrible mistake. I killed individuals by shooting them because they were Black. I can’t believe I did it now that I look back. I acted out of hatred because I took what I read online as fact. I am aware that I cannot undo what I have done, but I still wish I could because I do not want to serve as an example to others.”
Not for a moment do I believe Payton wrote that statement. From where I stand, it appears neither did the judge when she said the following at his sentencing hearing:
“There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances,” said Judge Susan Eagan while delivering the sentence in court. “The damage you have caused is too great, and the people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again.”
This was clearly the handiwork of his lawyers to elicit mercy and escape the death penalty, not for the charges in Buffalo, as New York state no longer has a death penalty. This performance is to elicit mercy from Attorney General Merrick Garland, who will decide if Payton Gendron should receive the death penalty under the federal charges he is facing.
I realize many believe the death penalty should be abolished entirely, and those who take the life of someone should live out the rest of their lives behind bars to contemplate the seriousness of their crime. After all, he received a life sentence from the Buffalo judge and undoubtedly will under the federal charges. I’m not an absolutist on the death penalty, but I take a different stand on cases of this type. I give you Dylan Roof.
There is an eerie similarity between the two. Dylan Roof also set out to kill as many Black people as possible. Dylan also wrote a manifesto espousing replacement theory and his concerns. Black people were taking over and given unfair advantages over — what he considered the superior race — white people. In fact, Payton lists Dylan Roof as one of his heroes in his 180-page manifesto.
Neither of these two individuals saw Black people as people, and they just saw them as undeserving of the right to exist and partake of the fruits of this land they believed was the sole providence of whites. To Roof and Gendron, you had no rights if your skin wasn’t white. Both believed in the superiority of the white race and saw those who were Black as inferior to them. After all, how could such race be considered on par if they were so easily enslaved and brought to the United States as chattel? In their eyes, ‘all men created equal’ didn’t include anyone not white.
So, Payton drove 200 miles to Buffalo to kill as many Blacks as he could because they deserved to die. Because he saw all non-white women contributing to his race’s demise because of their high fertility rates, while birth rates among white women were diminishing.
Payton knew no matter how many Black people he murdered wouldn’t solve the low birth rates among white women. He didn’t commit this homicide to encourage white women to have more babies. Payton acted out of hate and fear. Payton immersed himself in the lies he read about Black people. Like his hero Dylan Roof, Payton viewed anyone who wasn’t white as inferior, non-contributors. So he set out to deliver a message through the barrel of an AR-15.
Dylan Roof was sentenced to death and awaits the time of his execution. Payton Gendron pleaded guilty to all the federal charges brought against him and awaits his appearance in the U.S. District Court to find out if he will be allowed to live out his life in prison or will receive a death sentence.
In the statement he read, he said; ““That day (May 14, 2022), I made a horrible mistake. I killed individuals by shooting them because they were Black. This is an affront to the relatives of those he murdered!
No, Payton Gendron, you didn’t make a mistake.
You deliberately set out to kill as many Black people as you could. You made detailed plans on how you would carry out this heinous act. You live-streamed it as you were gunning down innocent Black people who did nothing to you and caused you no harm. You left behind your horrendous manifesto, which outlined your exact intentions as a ‘how-to’ manual.
You stated your goals in your own words: Kill as many blacks as possible, avoid dying, and spread ideals.
Like Dylan Roof, you went forth with malice of forethought to right some imaginary wrong on people who did absolutely nothing to you except to exist. No, Payton, you charted this course for yourself, and now that you realize you are not seen as some hero, you want forgiveness for killing these Black human beings who did nothing to you except live;
Roberta A. Drury of Buffalo, N.Y. — 32, Margus D. Morrison of Buffalo, N.Y. — 52, Andre Mackneil of Auburn, N.Y. — 53, Aaron Salter of Lockport, N.Y. — 55, Geraldine Talley of Buffalo, N.Y. — 62, Celestine Chaney of Buffalo, N.Y. — 65, Heyward Patterson of Buffalo, N.Y. — 67, Katherine Massey of Buffalo, N.Y. — 72, Pearl Young of Buffalo, N.Y. — 77, Ruth Whitfield of Buffalo, N.Y. — 86
On March 10, 2023, Payton will again be in the district court to hear his fate on the Federal charges. Here he will find out if his whiteness and a guilty plea will rescue him from the death penalty.
The blood of his ten victims cries out for justice, and in the case of Payton Gendron, it should be the same fate awaiting his hero, Dylan Roof.
The forfeiture of his life.