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When Trolls Carry Guns: Were 4channers responsible for shooting 5 Black Lives Matter protesters?

Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis earlier this month
Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis earlier this month

Last night, according to various media accounts, Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis confronted three mask-wearing men at the protests who seemed to be acting shady. After a brief altercation, one or more of the men pulled out a gun and shot at BLM protesters, wounding five of them.

Police took two men — one white, one Hispanic — into custody in connection with the shooting, later releasing the Hispanic man. Two other white men, both in their twenties, turned themselves in to police this afternoon.

While we still don’t know all the details of the shooting, there’s some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence suggesting that the masked men (and perhaps a masked woman as well) were 4channers who had been lurking around the demonstrations for days.

Raw Story is claiming that

White supremacists have discussed various strategies online for sparking confrontation at the demonstration, which they described as a “chimpout.” …

They agreed to wear camouflage clothing and display a four of clubs to identify each other, and the white supremacist agitators argued over whether they should carry guns or wear Guy Fawkes masks.

Much of their language will sound familiar to you all. Raw Story continues:

The white supremacist mocked “social justice warriors” and other anti-racist whites, who they described in psychosexual terms.

“Best to act as much like a beta white as much as you can,” one the racists said.

Meanwhile, a video posted online shows two masked men in camo gear apparently on their way to disrupt the BLM protests; they refer to blacks as “dindus” (short for “dindu nuffin”), a racist slur popular amongst 4channers and white supremacists. (The video was apparently shot several days before last night’s shooting.)

While we don’t know for sure that 4channers — or the two men in the video above — were involved in the shooting, some 4channers are convinced of the connection.

In a 4chan /pol/ thread earlier today quoted by Gawker, one anon puts the responsibility on members of 4chan’s famously racist /pol/ board, as well as another 4chan board devoted to guns:

4chan in the news again. A bunch of /pol/lacks+/k/ommandos in Guy Fawkes masks just shot up a Black Lives Matter protest. Apparently the BLM protestors tried to assault them, the Anon’s ran off and when the BLM protestors chased after them the /k/ommandos shot them.

5 BLM supporters confirmed in the hospital.

Media hasn’t mentioned 4chan by name yet but these guys were on /pol/ a few days ago telling everyone how they were trolling BLM by attending their protests and open carrying.

Other 4hanners claim that the 4channers who talked about disrupting the protests were not the same people who were involved in the shootings yesterday.

If the connection to 4chan is as real as it seems on the surface to be, it’s yet another reminder that online talk can have potentially deadly real world consequences — even when the online talkers claim to be “trolling.”

The alleged planning emails quoted by Raw Story, with their references to “SJW faggots” and “beta white cuck[s],” are steeped in the language, and the aggrieved entitlement, not only of 4chan but of the broader manosphere; it’s the same sort of language used by readers of the cuck-obsessed white supremacist “pickup artist” Heartiste and more than a few GamerGate trolls.

Online hate is not somehow magically separate from the real world; it’s part of it. If the shootings last night were connected to 4chan, and it seems likely they were, they also show that the line between hateful “trolling” and “real” hate is exceedingly thin if not nonexistent. The shootings last night are what happens when “trolls” carry guns.

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Fabe
Fabe
5 years ago

Now watch as the right wing media paints the shooters as innocent by standers who where just defending themselves from a hate mob.

reymohammed
reymohammed
5 years ago
Leda Atomica
Leda Atomica
5 years ago

“these guys were on /pol/ a few days ago telling everyone how they were trolling BLM by attending their protests and open carrying”

So the definition of trolling is anything from winding someone up on a youtube video’s comment section to shooting people.
I’ve always hated the “it’s just trolling” cop-out. It’s asking someone to go “Ohhhhhh haha good one mate, i don’t want to be seen as an uncool fool who got all worked up by your threat of raping me before you bury me in the woods. I mean, I *do* have a sense of humour, duh.”

Judas Peckerwood
Judas Peckerwood
5 years ago

I’m not optimistic about this country’s future.

Fabe
Fabe
5 years ago

@David

Figures,first they brag about their plans to antagonize a group then claim innocent

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

A lot of white people in the Twin Cities are afraid to go into North Minneapolis. While there are some issues with crime in that community, I’ve found most of the people I’ve met from there are good people. But I guess racist people aren’t too afraid to go into the predominantly black part of town if it’s to commit terrorism. It makes me sad there are people like that in my city, but it’s not a surprise or anything either.

mockingbird
mockingbird
5 years ago

OT but related:

Who needs Maxim when you can hate women on Reddit and 4chan?

http://flip.it/UrSlI

mockingbird
mockingbird
5 years ago

@Judas – We’re currently weighing a job prospect my husband has in Belgium.

Quoth the Mr. Tonight: “Hm…a race war in the US or WWIII kindling over there…decisons, decisions…I mean, over there, I at least probably won’t be hung as – what was it? – a beta-cuck white man*…”

* The kids had drifted off into another room to finish their homework and we’d just finished looking up info regarding amd discussing the shooting at the BLM rally.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
5 years ago

http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/rdju.gif

Wasn’t 4chan suppose to be going under?

Could it just go under?

It would help keep these assholes from finding each other and organizing this shit at least.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Trolls on Gawker, and I’m sure in many other places are running with the misinformation that one of the shooters was Hispanic and holding it up as some kind of proof that this shooting was not racially motivated.
http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view3/2971540/john-goodman-table-flip-o.gif

Johanna Roberts
5 years ago

Great, the chan trolls are in my backyard. :/ I hope everyone injured recovers quickly

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

“Feminists you should be F**CKING SHOT.”

I guess these guys think that some other Others should be SHOT as well.

leftwingfox
5 years ago

The most openly racist person I’ve ever heard towards black people was a dark-skinned man of mexican decent.

My roommate, once upon a time.

Just because someone is a PoC and deals with their own shit from white people doesn’t make them any less susceptible to siding with white bigots against other races that aren’t them. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy’s enemy; nothing more.

Nequam
Nequam
5 years ago

All I can think of is that SNL sketch about pranks with Christopher Walken: “And then I pranked him to death with a tire iron…”

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
5 years ago

@WWTH

I remember the episode that gif was from and it legit frighten me.

scalyllama
5 years ago

Other 4hanners claim that the 4channers who talked about disrupting the protests were not the same people who were involved in the shootings yesterday.

#NotAll4channers anyone?

These jerks make me sick.

Leda Atomica
Leda Atomica
5 years ago

Also, isn’t their choice of mask a bit… well, ironic? What’s wrong with the traditional white pillowcase with eye holes cut into it?

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Pandapool,
Was it the one where Dan isn’t following his post heart attack diet and Roseanne kind of cracks from the stress of worrying about him and monitoring his diet and exercise like he’s a child and they have an epic blow out?

I love how dark Roseanne got sometimes. It was still a total sitcom but instead of doing the cheesy “very special” episodes, they opted for portraying issues in a very real way. The show tackled issues like child abuse, domestic violence, abortion, financial woes and racism so well. I also love how the cast, the wardrobe, and the sets were all convincingly working class and small Midwestern town look. I hate it when TV shows and movies have people who are supposed to be lower income in designer clothes and otherwise doing and buying things they could never afford in real life.

Sorry. It’s one of my favorite shows and while it’s pretty well regarded – setting aside everything that happened after they won the lottery – I still think it’s a little bit underrated and not taken seriously enough. I always take every opportunity I can to gush about it!

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
5 years ago

@WWTH

I like Roseanne a lot too and, yeah, I’m pretty sure that gif is from that episode. (John Goodman is just too scary good of an actor sometimes omg.)

I think TV Land was doing some long ass, rerun/marathons of it last year so I got to see a lot of episodes I’ve never seen before (because I was born in 1992 and had no interest in sitcoms). I only saw that episode once and it was entirely scary and memorable. D:

greyskye
greyskye
5 years ago

I’m in the twin cities, and for the last week the ID’s of these 2 guys along with descriptions of their vehicle and video evidence of their threats have been circling through local groups, ones not even related directly to BLM (I’m not in the BLM group and I saw the warnings pop up in 2 different local groups). They were reported to police, and all it would have taken is police talking to these guys and telling them to stop with their threats for this to not have occurred, however the police response was that as they were carrying guns legally, there was nothing they could do unless they hurt someone.

It’s amazing no one was killed by these two douchebags, and disappointing the police didn’t take the opportunity to be proactive and show the community they ARE looking out for them despite the dispute over Jamar Clark’s death.

It’s doubly sad also, because these 2 guys were deep in the nerd community, regular cosplayers & con goers. It feels like a betrayal to those communities as well as the awful racist attack it was. Their true vicious natures were not previously known to the communities, and this has been a big shock all round.

I’ve been watching the ripples, and on top of everything else going on it’s sad to see.

mockingbird
mockingbird
5 years ago

@pandapool –

(because I was born in 1992

comment image

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Mockingbird,
Right? Whenever someone I talk to online reveals they were born in the 90’s I feel old as fuck and I’m all like
http://i.imgur.com/DEFIqmH.jpg

LG.
LG.
5 years ago

Thanks for the coverage, David. I live in North Minneapolis, and this is all surreal.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
5 years ago

I’m laughing way too hard. People were INJURED. My sides ACHE. This is no time to say you feeling OLD and make me LAUGH from the schadenfreude.

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

“Best to act as much like a beta white as much as you can,” one the racists said.”

= Mmmm hmmm. Wow. The Manosphere is becoming famous for all the wrong reasons. Or right ones? I mean I’m glad Manosphere lingo is making its way out into the mainstream so that people can begin to associate these terms with the ***holes who use them.

“Two other white men, both in their twenties, turned themselves in to police this afternoon.”

= I wonder why they would do that? Oh that’s right – ATTENTION.

“Trolls on Gawker, and I’m sure in many other places are running with the misinformation that one of the shooters was Hispanic and holding it up as some kind of proof that this shooting was not racially motivated.”

= Coz they think “Hispanics” and African Americans are the same?

Virtually Out of Touch
Virtually Out of Touch
5 years ago

Is it just me or has the internet fueled racism and violence since its become widely accessible? Also, I don’t watch TV but I used to. I don’t remember race being talked about in mainstream TV like 2 or even 1 decade ago, like it is now.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

…pandapool?

We were born in the same year. I don’t know why this surprises me. I thought you were… older.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

(not that the rest of you are old, or anything: I’m just befuddled by having contemporaries!)

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
5 years ago

@contrapangloss

I thought you were older, too. Everyone but, like, Fruitloopsie is older than me here, even by a few years.

(I am waaay too immature to be thought as older so I am offended on behalf of everyone older than me.)

JoeB
JoeB
5 years ago

Is it just me or has the internet fueled racism and violence since its become widely accessible?

The internet lets people find people like them, and some people are totally awful…

peaches
peaches
5 years ago

I have been to North Minneapolis. My husband is from there, and we live in Birmingham, AL, one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the US. We were driving around, and he wanted to show it to me, to see what I thought of the “bad” side of town. I thought it was…rather decent, actually. It probably sucked to live there, but it’s not like B’ham, with buildings that look like a bomb hit them.

leftwingfox
5 years ago

Born in 1976, personally. Yesterday was my birthday, in fact.

bvh
bvh
5 years ago

Also, isn’t their choice of mask a bit… well, ironic? What’s wrong with the traditional white pillowcase with eye holes cut into it?

(warning tl;dr pedantic post)

I find it very telling… as in it is a sign of deliberate awareness…they did NOT go with the Guy Fawkes mask.

4chan is a platform used by many subcultures exploiting “anonymous” online identities.

This is not excusing 4channers, or their actions…it is knowing who exactly your enemy is. Comments around here are famous for confusing 4chan, channer culture, gamergate, and Anonymous. I usually don’t bother saying much about it because commenters are right in their criticisms, just often wrong conflating a platform with a group.

For instance: 4chan is NOT Anonymous. The SJW branch of Anon was birthed in 4chan and used it as a platform, until they were politely asked to move on by Moot:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Chanology

Anon also used ED and 888chan as platforms, but they are not Anonymous, just platforms. For the record, there is another branch of Anon that hates all this protest “f*ggotry” and embraces being shitlords. In the past there was friction between the two. The two rarely interact these days, and the later rarely makes a big deal about being “Anon”.

/pol/ – historically always had people posting racist content, whether they were racists or trolling for lulz. What has changed dramatically, at least since I started watching the boards in the mid 2000’s , is the lack of equal response from non-racists. Also, the famously offensive slang discouraged the older racist crowd from participation for a long time. It’s ironic, but raging homophobes are very uncomfortable in a place everyone is calling everyone else a “f*g”.

Sometime around OWS, the political racist crowd “got over” the slang and started to use 4hcan for organizing, not just trolling. By this time most of the early chan crowd had aged out and moved on, leaving a vacuum. There is almost certainly in an attempt by racists on /pol/ to mimic the success of Anon. They wouldn’t be the only ones….

Gamergate – one of the most blatant attempts to mimic Anonymous, using Anon and 4chan culture as a shield. Some factions of Anon tried to take on GG, but found resistance in the collective, many groups strangely giving GG the benefit of the doubt. In one case a couple Anon were outed( not doxxed, just exposed as organizers of the OP, a very rude thing to do in Anon) by GG apologists and the Op was abandoned out of concern for damaging the collective.

For the record I think this is some weak sauce, and made me ask around to see WTF was happening. (Any lurkers from the collective want to know how weak that sounds? As weak as the IRS caving to Operation Snow White. If that stings, it should) From talking to people it seems many old Anon groups were replaced by OWS Anon, who are full of tinfoil, Tea Party woo and value “freeze peach” over trufax.

Regardless of how lame Anon has been about GG, there is a short list one can check to prove GG–or any other groups using the collective as a shield– is not Anon, though it likes to coyly imply a connection to outsiders:

-Anon values trufax without tinfoil. GG’s values tinfoil and spin over trufax.
-Anon corrects itself when new information is available. GG never does.
-Anon is NYPA. GG is openly the PA of all reactionary woo.

This is true regardless of the platform. If trufax are being ignored, you are not dealing with a member of the Anon collective.

Why this Tl;Dr tangent about groups, platforms, 4chan, gamergate and Anon? To show there is a deliberate attempt by gaters and racists to hide their organizing by exploiting the same platforms and anonymous strategies. But, for all that, both groups are aware enough to not do the thing that would piss off Anon: actually claiming to BE Anons while being caught doing something criminal and stupid.

Because, as loathsome as many Anon feel about the Fawkes mask, it is now considered legit branding, implying trufax. The racists considered using the Fawkes Mask. They did not.

I don’t believe this is by chance or whim. IMHO they are avoiding it out of self fucking preservation.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Pandapool @WWTH – my mom used to watch Roseanne when I was a kid, and even when I was around 8-10 I found that the characters, especially the main couple, seemed like “real people” compared to characters in other shows.

I guess I’m technically from the 80s. I was born in 1988, when everybody seemed to be wearing glasses with huge frames.

epitome of incomprehensibility

*avoids talking about more bad news*
*discusses TV and glasses with huge frames*

contrapangloss
5 years ago

*avoids talking about more bad news*
*discusses TV and glasses with huge frames*

… me too. Only, I’m hiding from the horrible news by looking up stargate reaction gifs, because that was the show of my childhood. Also, because of potential troll who’s nym happens to be a minor character who was kind of hilarious but not a good guy (although not a super terrible guy either).

Really didn’t do much in the way of sitcoms, ever.

GiJoel
GiJoel
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger I <3 you so much right now

amandajane5
amandajane5
5 years ago

Maybe I’m being a dunce, but what *what* is the gain? Potential gain? Slight tilt in favor of? Of what? What gain?

Some sort of username
Some sort of username
5 years ago

@Pandapool

It’s alright, I’m (probably) not older than you.

OT: Is it me or has there been a sort of trend of 4Chan bullshit leaking out into the real world more and more? Back in ’06 they were famous for things like the false bomb threats to various stadiums but for many years they just went to harassing people online and DDOS attacks. Recently it feels like they’ve become more active in person, even if it is just going around shooting people. I’m not sure what to make of it but it’s worrying.

Leda Atomica
Leda Atomica
5 years ago

@amandajane5

In 4chan mentality being awful is itself a value. Can you imagine portraying your most vile, hateful and violent characteristics for social acceptance and pats on the back from equally depraved characters? Right down to gun violence and even murder. No gain, just ego masturbation over your lowest low.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

“Is it just me or has the internet fueled racism and violence since its become widely accessible?”

…no? But then, by ’92 I was begging for a computer (get off my lawn!) and was running DOS a few years later. So yeah, I think the ‘net really hit its stride when I was in HS and was just fucking THRILLED for web research, even if I couldn’t cite it.

Even further off topic, the youngin’ in my trapeze class is half my age. The instructor and I are both 30. We keep making cultural references and having to go “wait, do you know what we’re talking about?” — jazzercise no, Home Alone yes. It’s weird.

On topic, nope. Won’t. Can’t. Fucking assholes.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

“For the record I think this is some weak sauce, and made me ask around to see WTF was happening. (Any lurkers from the collective want to know how weak that sounds? As weak as the IRS caving to Operation Snow White. If that stings, it should)”

That sound you just heard was my heard exploding.

The IRS caved to CoS, Anon, afaik, hasn’t. But GG they cave to? Goddamnit peeps, what happened to those pesky things like facts and something resembling ethics?!

*head explodes again*

katz
katz
5 years ago

The IRS caved to CoS, Anon, afaik, hasn’t.

Holy acronyms, Batman.

kale
kale
5 years ago

personally Ive heard lot of conspiracy theory talk and general assholery from people calling themselves anons and stopped trusting them in general a while back. What some have done for justice like the Parsons case is great but not having a real structure including an ethical code imo weakens what anon could be.

kale
kale
5 years ago

I don’t really have a lot to say about the OP only because the horror of one of my fears coming to life …….makes it hard to form sentences….. yea just freaky, I thought when I protested cops might shoot at us….. the idea of civilian white supremacists lurking to hurt us…. just because black people ask to not be shot randomly with impunity….. and the Chicago tape just came out with an arrest…. just, Im glad no one died anyway…. 🙁

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@WWTH:
A few months ago I got hit on by someone who was born in 1997. It was a moment of absolute horror.

Next year, people who were born in 1998 will be permitted to vote to determine who the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth will be.

We’re getting old.

sbel
sbel
5 years ago

I don’t think that society has become more racist or more violent. All the numbers I’ve seen are trending down. I think you’re just hearing about it more now, thanks to the internet and the 24-hour news networks.

Kat
Kat
5 years ago

@leftwingfox
Happy Birthday, Bicentennial baby! I hope you had fun.

@sbel
That’s a really good thing to hear.

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