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Yes, We Should Talk About the El Paso Shooter. Here’s Why.

Larissa McCambridge

Posted on August 4, 2019 01:54

2 users

If you want to know what the alt-right is really thinking, just hop on the forum 8chan on the day of a mass shooting and do some lurking. Three threads on the board immediately catch the eye, but I settled on one started around 1 p.m. and braced for what I would find. Content warning: some quotes may contain racist, violent, or otherwise disturbing language.

After the massacre in El Paso, I learned that the shooter had posted his manifesto on the platform 8chan earlier that day. Users were commenting on how it hadn’t been mentioned yet in news coverage. This in itself sparked debate over whether the manifesto was genuine or a hoax, and if genuine, whether it’s anti-Semitic enough. 

Setting aside such grisly debates, the overwhelming sentiment on the 8chan board is self-congratulatory, as though they as a community are at least partially responsible for facilitating what most consider a net “win.” 

They could be right. 

Similar to the Christchurch shooting, 8chan users have already begun creating memes of the El Paso shooter, explicitly instructing other users to create their own, and spreading them as much as possible so the world knows the murderer's name.

When the Christchurch massacre occurred, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a point not to publicize the identity of the shooter, in the interest of not glorifying the criminal or proliferating their ideology. 

In America, however, the dialogue almost always devolves into two camps: those who a) want to write off the killing as an isolated incident committed by an emotionally-disturbed lone wolf, or b) see it as a clear-cut case of neo-Nazi terrorism incited by an alt-right that forms a vital majority of the GOP voting base (and some of its representation).

In his manifesto, Patrick Crusius clearly identifies as part of a community. He frequently used the word “we," addressed his readers directly, and suggested migrant families will leave voluntarily if given “an incentive that myself and many other patriotic Americans will provide.” Presumably at gunpoint.  

Crusius is adamant throughout that he is not a racist, white-supremacist, a Republican, or Trump supporter. He simultaneously affirms he is against racial diversity and interracial families, and that the United States should be divided into racially self-determined territories. 

Commentators were quick to highlight the influence of national socialist James Mason, linking the manifesto directly to a mission statement of sorts from a popular alt-right website based on Mason’s book Siege, which outlines the imposition of a Universal Order. 

A few takeaways:

  • This movement necessarily has “no place anywhere in the universe for alien ‘order’” 
  • The terms right and left mean nothing as far as political allegiances; they are tools of the system
  • They call themselves American Futurists, trying to “create history” 

In the manifesto, Crusius’s disavowal of the two mainstream political parties and his romanticised future for all Americans can now be reframed solidly as part of the broader white nationalist movement. 

So there you have it--right from the source instead of an echochamber. No need for pundits and politicians to oscillate back and forth, questioning if this act of terror was motivated by the white nationalism and anti-immigrant rhetoric similar to that of Republican leadership. It was, and that’s why, full stop. 

Larissa McCambridge

Posted on August 4, 2019 01:54

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EL PASO (AP) — No charges have been filed in the death of an 11-year-old boy struck by a pickup truck in El Paso during...

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