After another shooting by a right-wing extremist, right-wing extremists fall into despair
Facing the likely possibility that another mass shooter was inspired to kill by his far-right beliefs, far-right con artists and media personalities are rallying around conspiracy theories to explain the massacre that took place at a mall in Allen, Texas over the weekend.
The shootout that remained eight dead – including three children aged 11, 8 and 3 – was allegedly committed by Mauricio Garcia, who was himself shot dead by police during the attack. Garcia reportedly maintained a social media presence that featured neo-Nazi, misogynistic and other far-right beliefs.
All available evidence indicates that the shooting was another shooting of seemingly unending proportions Wave of far-right shootings in recent years.
But instead of directly confronting this evidence, prominent right-wing voices — most notably Elon Musk, the world’s second richest man and owner of one of the world’s largest social media platforms — have instead presented an alternate reality about a government-backed conspiracy. As Musk, the state-subsidized tech billionaire, told his millions of Twitter followers Monday, “Assume you’re always being manipulated.”
What we know about the suspect
Garcia allegedly worn a patch during the gunfight with the text “RWDS” – short for “Right Wing Death Squad”. And multiple news outlets reported on a hateful social media profile that investigators believe belonged to Garcia.
While the suspect’s exact motive for the attack is still unknown, “we know he had neo-Nazi views.” He had spots. He had tattoos. Even his signature confirmed that,” Hank Sibley, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s regional director for North Texas, said at a news conference Tuesday.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the details a Rolling Stone report It said an FBI review of Garcia’s social media footprint “turned up hundreds of posts and images containing writings containing racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist rhetoric, including neo-Nazi materials and material promoting white supremacism endorsed.”
“The referenced bulletin is a leaked confidential law enforcement report,” Melinda Urbina, public affairs officer at the FBI’s Dallas field office, told HuffPost in an email Monday. “I am not sharing this document with anyone as it was not intended for public distribution.”
Nonetheless, Garcia’s footprint has been independently reported on social media: investigators are investigating a Russian social media account “full of hateful abuse against women and black people” believed to belong to the shooter. according to the New York Times. Later Monday, Aric Toler, a researcher at open-source research portal Bellingcat, claimed to have found the profile in question, a diary-like presence on Russian website OK.ru.
In a long Twitter thread And Article In presenting his work, Toler documented the details, stating that “all available evidence indicates that it is associated with the shooter,” including numerous photographs, identification documents, a speeding ticket, and evidence that the suspected gunman had been monitoring the mall days before the attack. Also, a photo of a tattoo on the suspect’s body matched months of photos and video on the account. Another photo on the account showed a swastika tattoo with the caption, “Here’s what I think of your diversity you fucking loser.”
Toler also shared an image from the report of a tactical vest with an “RWDS” patch — a match to descriptions gleaned from other reporters from unnamed law enforcement sources. The patch appeared to match a patch previously for sale on the neo-Nazi apparel webshop Anime Tobacco Firearms. The business called on its Facebook, Twitter and Gab pages on Monday that it was closing “for the time being” “due to certain events”.
It’s not uncommon – at all ― for people of color to engage in far-right politics, including supporting white supremacist and neo-Nazi views. This is addressed multiple times on the social media page reported by Toler. In a meme On the account, a cartoon kid labeled “Latino kids” faces two avenues: one labeled “Handle black” and another labeled “Become white racist.” “It’s funny because it’s true,” the account commented under the meme. “I think I’ll take my chances with the white supremacist.”
Tolerant written down that the account contained clips of Tim Pool, the prominent conservative YouTuber, and that a contribution The page began with “This post was inspired by Libs of TikTok,” referring to a prominent anti-LGBTQ hate account.
Faced with the violent outcome of fascism, crooks turn to conspiracy theories
Musk, who does not shy away from its own ultra-conservative policieshas worked for Months Making Twitter a welcoming place for far-right scammers and ideologues. And after the shooting in Allen, he eagerly promoted from questioning credulity to insane claims that the suspect’s well-documented history of neo-Nazi beliefs was in fact a smokescreen for some sort of deep state false flag operation.
“[T]This is either the weirdest story ever or a very bad PsyOp!” Musk wrote Tuesday after incorrectly saying Bellingcat “specializes in psychological operations.”
The phrase “psychological operations” or “psychooperations” is widely used among conspiracy theorists, partly because there have been governments throughout history have engaged in the tactic in the past. But applied to modern day mass shootings, the theories are not backed by evidence – Just ask Alex Joneswho owes over $1 billion to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting for claiming it was a hoax.
Nonetheless, Musk’s thinking was representative of Twitter’s extreme right.
“The regime’s top two priorities are disarming law-abiding Americans and silencing those who tell the truth,” wrote Mike Cernovich, a career conspiracy theorist and far-right activist. “Coincidentally, a Mexican with a swastika on his chest committed a mass shooting and said he was inspired by LibsOfTikTok and he posted it all on Reddit.”
“Absolutely nothing suspicious about the fact that a day later we know all about this man’s alleged motivations, and yet more than a month after the murder of trans-terrorists in Nashville, we have still not been told anything about their motivations.” wrote Matt Walshthe station, which jokingly describes itself as a “theocratic fascist” on Twitter.
For conspiracy theorists, the value of sarcastic rhetoric peppered with “absolutely nothing suspicious about…” and “accidental…” lies in its ambiguity: the observations require neither evidence nor an alternative explanation of the events.
Greg Price, A political activist and Substack Writer, provided a pristine example of this type of response to a mass shooting. “They tell that a Mexican man happened to have Nazi tattoos and accidentally posted about Nazis and prominent conservatives on an unfollowed Russian social media account, and that this discovery was made by a man working for an organization funded by the CIA?” He commented sarcastic.
Ian Miles Cheong, an online culture warrior who years ago allegedlypraised Hitlerwas more direct, calling the reported biographical details of the shooter “suspicious” — apparently because the suspect’s internet habits included chatting with Cheong’s colleagues.
“The alleged shooter’s alleged profile claims he was inspired by Libs of TikTok. Between that and Tim Pool’s references, this thing is suspicious. where is his twitter account Why did he use a Russian social media site to write? [what] was essentially a diary for zero followers? Cheong wrote.
“For the record, a Jewish woman and a milquetoast fence sitter radicalized a Mexican neo-Nazi into slaughtering white Texans through a Russian website, according to the CIA agent who broke the story.” snapped Josie Taitwho calls himself The Redheaded Libertarian on Twitter.
Twitter’s new owner has pushed the conspiracy theories further.
“Very strange,” Musk wrote in response to Tait, whose Twitter feed he appears to subscribe to. Regardless, Musk commented, “This is getting weirder by the moment,” after Tait reinforced Cheong’s post.
Some journalists tried to push back on the “Just ask questions” campaign.
“So @elonmusk – tell us your theory. The feds did this shooting to incite outrage against white nationalists and launch a crackdown with guns? Is that what you are implying?’ asked Ryan Grim, DC bureau chief at The Intercept, in response to Musk’s comment “This is getting weirder by the minute.”
Musk didn’t respond, but Grim did point out that right-wing activists often claim mass shootings are in fact government creations, even though none of them have resulted in serious gun law changes — one of the alleged justifications cited in the conspiracy theories. “To be serious for a second, why would this work for the FBI this time? There were endless mass shootings. Why would the FBI think one more is enough?” Grim wrote.
Anna Merlan, conspiracy theories researcher at Motherboard and author of the book Republic of Lies commented At more conspiracy theories about the suspected shooter’s tattoos, citing an illegal experiment the CIA conducted decades ago: “Is the idea someone forcibly tattooed him and then machined him with MKUltra — God, I’m going to give these people ideas.” .”