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.

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Hey TW, your article really inspires a lot of thought. I have mixed feelings about how society should deal with mass-murdering racists but to start off, I oppose the death penalty. That doesn’t mean I don’t have intense anger toward racist murderers like Gendron and Roof nor does it mean that I don’t sympathize with what you write about, that it would not only be justice but thinning the herd of an unsalvagable monster.

I have similar feelings. Emotionally, I’m close to your view on this.

In films and shows, I root for the hero to overcome the monster who is killing and terrorizing innocent people, defeating and often killing the villain. I don’t feel it is wrong in the world of fiction but something gnaws at me about that in real life. I think it is the slippery slope concept, I don’t trust the haters on the other side of the fence not to use that kind of power unjustifiably to kill good and innocent people.

I can’t say I haven’t imagined the death of horrible people in real life either who represent hatred and destruction in this country, or at least the satisfaction of punching them in the face. But in the real world, what holds me back from supporting any type of government violence or execution against its own citizens is the precedent it sets for horrible, conscience-lacking people to turn it against innocent people if they gain a position of power.

Consider Trump who has stated that he would have the state murder drug dealers and it’s not a leap to imagine that sociopath justifying the murder of those who protest against him, the press, whoever he saw as an enemy and deemed “a danger to America”.

I don’t believe the state should ever have the power to kill citizens because that power will be abused as it has in every nation where state killings are accepted (in Russia, they sure fall out of windows a lot).

My proposition is that despite how justified it may feel, giving into that understandable feeling to have deranged murderers face the same kind of total destruction that they wreaked on others due to their hatred and bigotry, it will end up with the deaths of more innocent people.

If Gendron dropped dead tomorrow, that would be fine with me. I don’t approach this with the sensibility that he deserves to be alive. I just think that giving government the power to kill citizens is a dangerous power that inevitably can be and has been used to kill innocent people. It is the principle of that “right” of the government to kill that I oppose, not the feeling I share with you that Gendron and Roof have no reason to remain in a society they only want to destroy.

As you know, there are innocent people and likely innocent people who have been killed via the death penalty and many of them have been people of color. That is horrible in a different way but it is also driven by the blind hatred of racism. That needs to stop just as racist lone wolf murders do along with the spread of racist stochastic terrorism.

I think the DoJ should create a division that aggressively goes after those who promote the kind of racist hatred that is spread publicly and convinces people like Gendron to murder others. Those people should also be hunted down and charged as accessories to murder for spreading the volatile propaganda that brainwashes defective people into becoming racist murderers.

The bottom line for me is that racial violence in this country needs to be smothered overall and my concern is that support for violence, including the death penalty, only justifies the concept of using violence to right wrongs. In the deluded minds of racists who see whole races as “wrong”, I think it ends up only increasing the cycle of violence and feelings that it is justified.

So, as I said at the beginning, a very thought-provoking piece. Well done, my friend!


Hi Twilson

This is the dilemma that we face—basically to kill or not to kill. Payton Gendron decided absolutely to kill people. And I agree with you. I don’t think he has 1 ounce of remorse. I also agree with your statement that calling what he did is a mistake is a slap in the face to the victims families. The dilemma that I still face is do we kill to avoid killing? That if you kill someone you will face the death penalty. I think that Payton Gendron should spend the rest of his life in jail. But I also have a deep down gut reaction that he should be put to death. So I respect your reasons for the death penalty in this case. And maybe that’s the way it should be. That’s a death penalty should not be used in every case but only in extreme cases. One thing is for certain in my mind is that Payton Gendron should never again be a freeman.

Thanks for writing an article that makes one think. Hope to chat with you tomorrow night. Take care.