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The entrance and parking lot of Tops Supermarket, Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, New York
Photo by Andre Carrotflower (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This one goes out to the 18-year-old who, earlier this month, in Buffalo, New York, committed one of the worst racist mass shootings in American history.

Given the chance, I imagine many Blacks would threaten you or beat you physically. But I would question you: Why did you do that? What happened in your life that made you so mad at Blacks?

I want to be calm but straightforward with you. I’ve studied men in prison. I have learned that oftentimes when someone has committed an act such as yours, he may have had a bad experience with a Black person or another person of color. Some people, as I gather you may have been, are manipulated through social media.

Know this: Not all Blacks were the cause of whatever made you this way.

I have a White friend who once ran with a white supremacist group. Eventually, he denounced it because he realized that he was being misled. And after interacting with different people of color, this guy realized that he hated us blindly. So he changed.

Do you need real friends? Because whomever played a part in your downfall, surely real friends don’t do that.

Let me tell you about my life. I did really stupid things for acceptance, and all that got me was 27 years of my life gone, taken by the system for no good reason. Honestly, I feel sorry for you; you gave your whole life away for nothing. Life isn’t a game, and we can’t change or go back later after we see the errors of our ways.

I want to ask you: Was it worth it?

You must know that white supremacy as an idea isn’t realistic. I have seen countless White brotherhoods that say they were all a pure race, but look at the world. We are all integrated one way or another. I know white supremacists who, in private, will tell you that they love Black women and wish they could take their decision back.

You got your short-lived fame, but now you will see how real prison is. Payton Gendron, there are no guns in prison. You need to see the dangers that lie ahead of you because of your decisions. Many people are going to try their best to hurt you for your actions.

You obviously don’t care for any of your family or the danger you have put them in. Many spoiled young men don’t know what goes on in prison, and let me say this calmly: Based on your actions, you have likely marked yourself for death.

Read another perspective on the Buffalo shooting: After the Grocery Store Massacre, An Ode to Buffalo

What you did was one of the most senseless, stupid and horrible things a person can do to others. Remember why this all came to happen. Because of your sickening ideology, those families will never be the same. If you regret what you did, reach out and express that.

In the end, it doesn’t matter why you did it. Whatever recognition you were seeking will shatter when you see where you’ll end up. The world on the inside of these walls is going to change your outlook on life. So I will pray for you and move on. Some lessons in life must be learned the hard way.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Lamar "Shone" Moore is an artist and writer, who believes in the need for criminal justice and prison reform. He is incarcerated in Arkansas.