On Saturday, May 14, around ten individuals were killed in Buffalo, New York, after a mass shooting that has been tied to the 'Great Replacement Theory.' The shootout was carried out by an 18-year-old gunman identified as Payton Gendron, who hailed from Conklin, New York, and drove for hours to initiate the attack.
Local authorities labeled the shootout as a racially charged attack as 11 of the 13 victims who were shot by Gendron were black. Furthermore, the shooter reportedly wrote a 180-page manifesto-esque document, which contained a lot of racial hatred and outlined his plan for the shootout.
Other mass shooters have cited this racist conspiracy theory in recent history. These shooters include Robert Bowers, who shot 11 people at a Pittsburgh Synagogue in 2018. Furthermore, Patrick Crusius was also associated with the theory as he reportedly killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019.
Great Replacement Theory: What does it mean?
French author and novelist Renaud Camus reportedly coined the theory. This theory is essentially a conspiracy theory that enables its followers to believe that a ploy to decrease the influence of white people is underway by people of color.
However, in the USA, the definition of this theory may have been evolved by its followers to cater to their nation specifically. The conspiracy theory states that non-white citizens are allowed into the country to replace white voters in order to diminish their majority in decisions. The Great Replacement theory is also politically charged as some individuals often use it to state the Democratic party's supporters have enabled mass migration into the US, which replaces white voters.
Most believers of this theory believe that the migration of a non-white demographic is the leading cause behind this theory, which ultimately threatens the white population majority as per the claims.
Meanwhile, Payton Gendron stated in his document that he was influenced by some opinions on the anonymous website 4chan, infamous for some users' racist and radicalized views. He further claimed that he developed his views on the subject in 2020, as he was bored amid the pandemic.
Why are Tucker Carlson and Elise Stefanik under scrutiny for the association of the Great Replacement Theory in the Buffalo shooting?
Following reports of this theory being potentially involved in the Buffalo mass shootout, Fox News host and Republican party sympathizer Tucker Carlson and Republican representative Elise Stefanik are being criticized by netizens. As per many tweets, numerous individuals believe that these two individuals are responsible for popularizing the conspiracy theory in the USA.
Following the shootout on Saturday, a day later, MSBC host Mehdi Hasan tweeted a video that contained clips of Tucker Carlson allegedly promoting the Great Replacement Theory.
In August last year, Carlson reportedly said:
"Our country is being invaded by the rest of the world."
Meanwhile, fellow Republican representative Adam Kinzinger called out Elise Stefanik on Twitter for her political Facebook ads, which allegedly promoted the Great Replacement Theory. Thus, the two influential figures (Carlson and Stefanik) received a lot of backlash following the shootout.