Universities in the Philadelphia area were on high alert today after a threat directed at them was posted on 4chan’s /r9k/ board. The anonymous threat (everything is anonymous on 4chan) deliberately called to mind the threat/warning posted on the same message board last week, the day before a gunman shot and killed eight students and one professor at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
“The first of our kind has struck fear into the hearts of America,” the writer of the new threat declared.
What is clear is that a lot of 4channers, particularly the “robots” of /r9k/, are offering the now-dead killer their sympathy and support. Indeed, in one thread on the board today, 4channers are blaming the shootings on women being sluts. Sluts, that is, who won’t sleep with them.
Even now that we know his name, the Umpqua Community College shooter remains an enigma, and commenters online and in the media have attempted to fill in the details with a lot of speculation, much of it fairly wild.
But the strangest speculation I’ve run across so far came from Mike Cernovich, the juice-hawking manosphere blogger who’s perhaps best known as #Gamergate’s “based lawyer.” Yesterday, Cernovich thought the long delay in reporting even the most basic information about the shooter was likely an indication that something nefarious was up.
UPDATE: The shooter has been identified as 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer. Rumors spread earlier in the day that the shooter was a a regular 4channer and active Youtuber known as “the eggman.” Obviously they were wrong.
This is beyond fucked up. In this archived thread from 4chan’s /r9k/ board, the apparent shooter at Umpqua Community College told fellow channers yesterday of his plans to shoot up a school today. He didn’t specify which school, mentioning only that it was in the “northwest.” /r9k/ is a board heavily populated by so-called “incels,” and the media is reporting that the apparent shooter regularly posted bitter complaints about his lack of success with women,
UPDATE 2: There is a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there, and the IDing of the killer has actually raised more questions than it’s resolved. An apparent Myspace page for Harper-Mercer suggests that he was obsessed both with guns and with the IRA.
There have also been reports that he was targeting Christians. According to the New York Post, a “woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded” reported that
“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.
Is the Myspace page really his? Is the report from the alleged granddaughter bullshit? Was the 4chan posting yesterday actually from him, or a comment from a troll that just happened to have been posted the day before a school shooting in the northwest?
I don’t know. But I still recommend that you read the rest of this post, if only to see the comments from the other 4channers.