Statement from County Executive Marc Elrich on the Tragic Mass Shooting in Buffalo, NY

by Patrick Herron

“This past weekend a lone gunman changed the world for a countless number of Americans. Ten people were tragically killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, and countless others have been traumatized by an attack that not only targeted the innocent but was also motivated by hate. Police have discovered the man they arrested for the crime drove hours to get to that supermarket because he wanted to target the Black community. It’s the kind of detail that prompted President Joe Biden to call the shooting ‘terrorism’ when he visited Buffalo on Tuesday.

People are increasingly feeling insecure about being able to move freely about our communities. We cannot allow this to be tolerated or to become ‘normalized’. Replacement theory is pure garbage and there is no replacement of anyone planned – the last replacement event in North America was when Native peoples were replaced by Europeans. Along with the demonization of critical race theory, otherwise known as our history to most of us, these are attacks on efforts to build an inclusive and unbiased community where all are valued, and all are safe.

I agree with the President when he calls on the nation to give hate no safe harbor. Montgomery County will provide no haven for hate, and we will aggressively pursue and prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes.

During the pandemic and before it, Montgomery County has seen its share of hate crimes. There is never a good excuse to target any group, whether it be Asian Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ, Muslims, African Americans, or any other.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney Office has launched an initiative called ‘Stop the Hate’ to make it easier for victims to come forward and report these incidents, but sadly we know many will not. I encourage all residents to take a look at this initiative and learn to help identify what a hate crime is under State law and what to do if you believe you’ve witnessed one.

Let’s keep what happed in Buffalo in mind as we move forward and remember that hate has no home in Montgomery County.”

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