The Christchurch Terrorist’s Insane Online World

I know we don’t usually use four-letter words around here, but “shitposting” is something that happens, that’s what they call it, and we have to confront unpleasant things sometimes.

I begin with the idea of confronting unpleasant things because it’s not just about a website’s standards for curse words, it’s about the media and the culture and how they view things they don’t want to view, and face facts they don’t want to face. Like the word itself, “shitposting” is an unpleasant thing that happens, and the fact that it doesn’t always confirm narratives, or conform to them, has to be confronted.

Although most major media probably won’t.

In the case of the massacre in New Zealand, the motive of the murderers is going to be the singular story for Americans, far across the globe from the actual consequences of the act and the personal connection to the deaths. New Zealand is literally the other side of the world. That distance will breed the detachment to focus purely on what the killer’s acts mean in the broadest sense, and the myopic self-absorption to make it about our own domestic politics.

And in that, the media, our media, have a willing ally in the killer himself, it seems. Because his manifesto is “a trap” in some ways. At least, that is how it is phrased by journalist Robert Evans in an article that is getting a lot of circulation on social media and on the right, less so on the left and in the mainstream media.

Here is an excerpt.

Shortly after the spree ended, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed that several improvised explosive devices had been disarmed by authorities. If those devices were meant as some kind of booby trap, they were not the only trap “Brenton” left behind. Immediately before carrying out his spree, he posted links to a manifesto on Twitter:

He includes a screenshot of the Tweet, which had the links to the “manifesto.”

Continuing:

In “The Great Replacement” repeats a variety of “white genocide” talking points, and claims his murder of several dozen Muslims is because they are “invaders” outbreeding the white race. All the evidence we have suggests these are, more or less, the shooter’s beliefs.

But this manifesto is a trap itself, laid for journalists searching for the meaning behind this horrific crime. There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter’s radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, “shitposting”.

And he goes into shitposting, which is a slippery concept, but is essentially a thing on the internet where people who embrace chaos or have deep hate for basically everything say and do things that they know are upsetting or terrible simply for the sake of the terribleness and not as much for the particular ideology involved. It is people wishing Happy Birthday to Hitler or relentlessly trolling strangers or using memes and codes that they believe will trick journalists into seeing conspiracies where there are none, or missing them when they’re there. In the old days it would just be called the acts of “anonymous”.

As you’ve probably read already today, MAGA activist Candace Owens was named in the manifesto.

“Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness. Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes.”



That’s from the killer, and reads like it was probably meant: as trolling.

More from Robert Evans:

But in the context of the shooter’s online presence, and the rest of his manifesto, this was almost certainly misdirection. Here is what the author wrote immediately below the section crediting Owens for his radicalization. In it, he jokes that “Spyro the Dragon 3”, a video game, taught him “ethno-nationalism”.

Here is that portion of the “manifesto.”

Evans says that while Owens does traffic in anti-immigration, the references to Ownes “in context” were probably “calculated to spark division, and perhaps even violence, between the left and the right.”

Left: the shooter’s online manifesto. Right: Shooter’s magazines marked with names of other mass killers.

Throughout the manifesto, it is a task to sort sarcasm or trolling from the genuine idea that motivated the murderer. Because let’s not forget that this “shitposter” went far beyond merely stirring up trouble. He took a gun and committed a massacre. That act must have a belief behind it, and that belief is in his writing. It is, in fact, even expressed by the ways in which he chose to “shitpost” and sow discontent and chaos. And the murderer says so himself.

“Well lads, it’s time to stop shitposting and time to make a real life effort post, he wrote. “I will carry out and attack against the invaders, and will even live stream the attack via facebook.”

As we know, he did livestream it, to the horror of the world.

Evans goes into a great deal more detail, outlining what portions of the manifesto demonstrate his true beliefs, and you really ought to read the whole thing.

This monster was foremost opposed to immigration of all kinds, he was a white nationalist, a fascist. He claimed to be an “eco-fascist.” He had neo-Nazi sympathies, but did not associate himself with them. He wanted to inspire other murderers, and was inspired by murders who came before him.

On his thread at 8chan, among his fellow “shitposters” and swimming in their hate, the replies to his act were celebratory, cheering the body count, full of racial slurs, religious slurs,  and antipathy toward human life.

This was a monster. He operated among monsters. His worldview is a modern one, inextricably meshed with the internet and the anonymity it affords, the radicalization it encourages. His motivations are ancient ones, a hate so deep in his being he cannot recognize it as hate. Nor can his fellow monsters. Because worst of all, what this shows is that he is not alone. Not even close.

It will be tempting, and the press will probably give in to that temptation, to offer a very simple, watered-down version of what drove this act. Tempting to point to Trump in the U.S. or Marine Le Pen in France, to cite people like Candace Owens or those who want a border wall, and to say “this is them. They are all the same.”

But this animal — like his fellow animals — is both more complicated than that, and driven by far more primitive emotions than that. Taking the easy way out and putting it on Trump would be short-sighted and stupid and utterly self-involved of our press. But that’s probably what will happen anyway.

Still, if you want to understand more fully, read more here. It includes screenshots from that vile thread of replies to his announcement of intent, and an explanation of some of the references he made that definitely require explanation.

If we’re to really understand what the danger, we have to try to grasp the online world in which this massacre was born. Even if it’s not easy or doesn’t confirm our biases.

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53 thoughts on “The Christchurch Terrorist’s Insane Online World

  1. The saddest and most repulsive thing about barbarians like this murderer, is that he was successful. His evil little troll, his bait, was successful, because the media took it and will use it to attack any and all on the right, rather than just the misanthropic vermin who swill the same poisonous bile as this little psychopath.

    These hateful hypocrites, who claim to hate Islam and what it’s barbarism all the while celebrating someone who is basically an Alt-Right Jihadi, are the lowest of pondscum. They are a shameful blight on the human race.

  2. This murderer (and the handful of sickos who connect with him on the Internet) was marinated in hatred and evil. The vast majority of people, whether on the right or the left, are horrified and disgusted by this. There is nothing political about it.

    However, that will not stop the Left from blaming the Right and especially Trump, no matter how irrational that is.

  3. I have much more confidence that the AG William Barr will do the right thing with his decision regarding the Presidents Veto,than even our own Congress and Senate regarding the border. Very apprehensive when Barr was nominated.

  4. Love ya Fred but once the bullets start flying I think we should take peoples words seriously, even shitposters.

  5. The Offspring had a handle on this over twenty years ago with their song Cool To Hate.

    “I’m always thinking bad
    I never have nothing good to say
    I’d rather tear things down than build them up
    It’s easier that way”

    “I’ll cut you down ’cause I’m a fool
    Being positive’s so uncool”

    WARNING: The Offspring swear more than George Carlin, so if you don’t like NSFW lyrics then don’t click on this video.

  6. His intent is clear. Those of us who are on the sane right will mourn this and not see this guy as anything close to one of us. The left’s biases will confirm, and that will draw up more hate that will build on itself as the volleys of accusations go forth. We will yell louder at the biased media and shake our fists. The left will say “see, look at these haters”. The temperature goes up, and more things go horribly wrong. That’s what he wants. And so far, it may be working.

  7. Listening to CNN for a few minutes, you would think that New Zealand is one of the fabled “57 states” that Obama talked about. Trump may have even campaigned there that is how they are talking about NZ…The left’s TDS is at gutter level at this point for how laughable it is.

  8. The leftist, corrupt media is only getting worse. They will NEVER stop attacking Christians, whites and anyone who supports Trump. How in the world is this guy any worse than all the radical Muslims who have been committing terrorist attacks forever now?? OH, but the corrupt media will certainly say he is.

    1. The Leftist Liberal Meanstream Media eagerly jumped to wrongfully condemn young Nick Sandman. Now they are eagerly blaming Trump for what happened in New Zealand? I’m not surprised.

    2. @cheetobuster Note that the Media uses the term “home grown terrorist” which is their code for deranged right winger. :exclamation:

  9. Taught that man simply “evolved” and that he is only a smart animal, taught humanistic moral relativism, taught that there is no God or that “God is in the eye of the beholder”, and then terrorized by the eco-catastrophists, what choice does he have? He has no hope, there is nothing to live for, and no reason not to do whatever any evil spirit whispers into his ear.

    Why is anyone surprised?

  10. Fred
    Thank you for this very interesting article. Let’s be honest, almost everything we read on the internet is “shit” but until your article I was genuinely unaware of the concept of “shitposting”.
    I agree this well turn into nothin lf more than the NRA or America’s fault when indeed nothing that once involves murder can be blamed on anyone else but the individual who perpetrated the act.
    Unfortunately, this article will be read by the educated few and the “shitpost” will be swallowed by the masses.
    This is journalism (as it is) in our time and A complete lack of intellectual honesty in general in our time.
    Truth is hard.

  11. For those, especially on the Left, who like to blame Trump for the increase in violence since his election, you’ve got it all wrong.
    From the moment Trump was elected, the Left, led by the media, has been trying to foment discord, disagreement and resistance by any means necessary. This is what has causes the violence. Trump himself has been doing all he can to quell it, most notably by prevent violence prone people from entering our country.

    1. The blame game solves nothing. The media didn’t shoot up those mosques any more than Donald did.

      1. Here’s what it solves: It exposes Never Trumpers who point their fingers at our President. If the shoe fits, wear it.

  12. Morons or minions of this guy have been doing exactly what he wanted on twitter. Hate, vile comments etc., they’re dutifully lock-stepping to this guy’s command.

  13. Good post Fred T. He seems to have a hodgepodge of ideologies woven together, whose main goal is to incite chaos and anarchy.

  14. That was a well written tale. I drink a ale in yer honor ‘n hope that ye will be writin’ more tales fer everyone t’ contemplate o’er.

    1. Shiver me timbers, @blackbeard.
      Do ye think ’twas a tale or avast do ye bloody think ’twere a collection of insights?

      1. Good day t’ ye! Well I do believe ye be correct in thinkin’ that ’twas a booty trove o’ insights that our first mate, One-Eyed Freddie, created fer all o’ us rum lovers.

        1. @Dr. Strangelove
          We wrapped ’em all in a mains’l tight
          With twice ten turns of a hawser’s bight
          And we heaved ’em over and out of sight,
          With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
          And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
          Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell,
          Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

  15. The one thing hardly ever mentioned is demonic possession but in these cases of crazed killers I think it’s a strong possibility.

    1. I wouldn’t call it demonic possession because then an attorney is going to go with temporary insanity ( Son of Sam the dog is talking ) I’m going with just plain ole evil in this world.

      1. @ruthiedoggiemom And isn’t that one of the problems? A secular society that, is in essence, atheistic won’t ever believe in demonic possession so anyone possessed will be labeled insane.

        1. In case I’m not making myself clear @paladin and @sjmom I am a Christian but I am not buying ” demonic possession ” I just believe in good and evil.

  16. Well written, Fred.

    I’ve been pointing out for decades now, going back to the early days of online forums, that the Internet comes with the drawback of removing the isolation from insane people.

    That one-out-of-a-thousand nutjob who likes things that would end up getting him put in an asylum only 50 years ago, now can connect online to thousands more like himself. He’s suddenly convinced he’s not crazy at all, because he’s part of a, “Huge social movement.”

    I knew 30 years ago it would become a serious problem. I honestly didn’t think these kinds of rare nutjobs would rise to the top of a political party though. Right now, hate is selling big on the left. It was inevitable that it would embolden the few crazies to try and inflame the right as well.

    The kook fringe is its own special hell. Unfortunately one party is recruiting from there. Lets hope the other party works even harder to keep it away.

    1. Yes, indeed it was well written. If I failed to convey my appreciation for your work and effort in my other post, Fred, I apologize for that.

  17. In the case of the massacre in New Zealand, the motive of the murderers is going to be the singular story for Americans

    Most Americans. I honestly don’t care what the specifics of the motive was, because we already know the general motive: at some point, he decided that in the choice between Right and Wrong, he was going to choose Wrong.

    That’s the motive. The rest is just filler and excuses. Which people obsess about and speculate to in order to accomplish precisely nothing but feeding their confirmation bias and prejudices.

    So, no, it’s not a singular story for me. I find (for example) the Pentagon’s criticism of Google helping China’s military instead of our own to be far more troubling than the mindset and daily habits of a psycho killer.

      1. I don’t consider it short-sighted. I simply don’t understand the human need for closure.

        “If only I could understand why, I could move on.”
        “I will never be able to move on until someone does something.”
        “As long as that man walks the earth, I can’t move on.”

        I think it’s a control thing, and an uncertainty thing. “When you stare into the void, the void stares back,” and all. I’ve found that a certain acceptance of the Random and Chaotic that exists in our lives is all the catharsis I need to just move on immediately. Bad things happen. They’re out of our control or understanding. There are some answers we will never get. Dwelling on them accomplishes nothing. We can either move on now, or move on later. I see no point in waiting out the latter.

        But I’m interested in hearing any thoughts on the subject.

    1. You’d think we’d be able to prosecute Google for working with an enemy of this country. It fits the definition of treason.

    2. But how do you identify that he chose “wrong”? To him, he chose “right”. At any point, he could have said, “wait”. What I’m doing is wrong, but nope–NEVER! So we have to believe that he believed that he was doing the right thing. Which begs the question, why would anyone think this is “right”? The answer is that he is a morally depraved God-less individual who may have some screws loose upstairs.

      1. But how do you identify that he chose “wrong”? To him, he chose “right”.

        The “to him” is irrelevant. That’s subjective. The only thing that matters is the objective.

  18. The Christchurch attack will reverberate here. SCOTUS has decided to hear New York State Rifle And Pistol Association Inc. v. New York City. This could be a turning point in our rights, depending upon which way the court goes.

    1. @dr-strangelove Australia has strict gun laws…yet these 4 amassed an arsenal enough to kill 49 people. All these laws do is prevent people from protecting themselves.

      1. @SheerPolitics Yes, and my “arsenal” hasn’t gone rogue. We all know that the more laws, the more shootings. BTW, NZ has somewhat lighter restrictions than Australia.

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