Sad Gunhumpers Open Thread: When There’s Honest Argument, the NRA Loses

In case you wondered why the usual GOP suspects were screaming so loudly:

The president is probably right to be worried by the NRA’s travails. His tweet seemed to signal concerns about whether the once all-powerful group would again spend tens of millions of dollars to back him in the 2020 election as it did so effectively during his 2016 win, say NRA veterans and gun rights analysts…

NRA stalwarts say Trump’s Twitter call to end the organization’s internal battle royale – which featured charges of insider self-dealing involving its CEO and president – and focus on legal and financial threats, suggests that Trump is hoping to bank again on the NRA’s grassroots political and financial muscle boosting his re-election fortunes…

Trump’s 2020 political prospects are expected to turn in part on the NRA repeating what it did in 2016 to back his then long-shot candidacy. The NRA spent a record $30m-plus on ads supporting Trump and mobilized its field operations in critical midwestern swing states where the gun lobby has strong grassroots, helping Trump prevail despite losing the popular vote by 3 million.
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The Poway, CA Synagogue Shooting: Some Updated Information

Details are coming in to focus regarding the domestic terrorism attack, which will be charged as a hate crime because the domestic terrorism portion of the Federal terrorism statute does not include penalties, just a definition, at the Chabad of Poway, CA synagogue today. The shooter is a 19 year old named John T. Earnest. Earnest wrote and published a manifesto, in the style of the Christchurch terrorist’s, that included all of the anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic, and racist greatest hits. He claims to be inspired by the attackers of both the Tree of Life Synagogue and the two Christchurch mosques. Earnest also, like the Tree of Life attacker, claims he’s not a supporter of the President because the President isn’t extreme enough, is a “Zionist, Jew loving, anti-White, traitorous cocksucker”. Earnest also manages to work in all the traditional Christian anti-Semitic justifications as well including a Jewish led white genocide. He also claims he’s striking this blow on behalf of the European race, of which he is a member. There is no European race. Regardless, Earnest is clearly asserting that he is doing this on behalf of white Christians in order to protect them and preserve their culture and way of life. So we can confidently say that today’s domestic terrorist attack was motivated by white Christian supremacy. Earnest also makes it very clear that he the Christchurch attacks were the trigger for today’s attack, as well as a failed attempt to burn down a mosque in Escondido, CA the week after the Christchurch attack. So provided his confession checks out, that act of domestic terrorism is now solved.

I’ve read the whole manifesto. It is internally coherent and focused, but, as you can imagine is full of conspiratorial thinking and claims that are unlikely to be verifiable. For instance, Earnest claims an ancestor among the lost Roanoke colonists. This is an attempt by Earnest to tie himself into one of the faux intellectual strains of white supremacy that is centered around a wholly invented mythology for Virginia Dare, the first English colonist born in North America. According to this made in the late 20th century faux history, Dare, referred to as “the White Doe”, was supposed to have survived the destruction of the colony, was raised and lived among the Kroatoan tribe, where she was called the White Doe. There is, of course, no empirical evidence for this as no one knows what happened to the Roanoke colonists after they abandoned their settlement. The biggest proponent of this insanity is former NRO columnist and English expatriate Peter Brimelow. Brimelow is the founder of the site VDare, named for Virginian Dare.

As is always the case after these events, the real concern is copy cats. To a certain extent, Earnest’s attack today, as well as his failed attack on a local mosque three weeks ago, are copy cats of the Christchurch attacker. The other concern is for people who were already planning their own terrorism attacks or sprees and decide, because of the publicity, to accelerate their plans as the media is now primed. I expect that religious congregations, regardless of the actual religion, are currently laying on more security for whatever services and/or events they have tomorrow and for the coming week.

For those interested in how to do anti-terrorism prevention through environmental design, I published on this in Security Journal in 2006. The article is derived from a keynote briefing and an inservice I ran on the topic at Disney University back in October 2004. Below, I’m posting an adaptation of that article I did in 2013 for a contact at DHS. And, as I indicated after the Tree of Life attack, if anyone’s congregation, regardless of religion, sect, and/or denomination has questions or needs some guidance regarding adjusting physical security, please shoot me an email using the contact a front pager tool at the top right and I’ll provide the best answers I can without being able to be on site. And, as I put in a comment earlier, for coverage of these types of attacks, I highly recommend MSNBC because they have my good, long time friend and colleague (from when I was a civilian academic) Brian Levin on as a subject matter expert. Brian is a professor at Cal State San Bernardino where he runs The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Here’s that write up:

USAWC_Cultural_Operations_Report_Securing_People_Places_Things

Open thread!








Breaking: Suspect in Custody For Burning Down Three African American Churches in Louisiana

Glad they got him, but the description of the suspect in custody does not surprise me in the least.

From The Daily Beast (emphasis mine):

A 21-year-old named Holden Matthews has been arrested in connection with fires that destroyed three Louisiana churches in the span of two weeks, local news outlet KATC reports.

Throughout the end of March and in early April, three churches in rural St. Landry Parish were burned down. Matthews is reportedly the son of a St. Landry Parish Deputy, and he was booked into St. Landry Parish jail at about 5:30 this evening. Holden’s family declined to comment to The Daily Beast.

On a Facebook page that appears to belong to Matthews, he was active in black metal and pagan pages. Although both scenes are predominately apolitical, both have large neo-Nazi fanbases. Matthews commented on two memes about Varg Vikernes, a far-right (and self-described former neo-Nazi) metal musician who served 15 years in prison for burning churches in Norway and killing a fellow metal musician.

Matthews commented on two memes about Vikernes. Neither comment was particularly revealing, but they indicated his familiarity with the fringe figure. The pagan circles Matthews and Vikernes frequented can be popular with neo-Nazis. Matthews frequently posted about pagan beliefs, and recently uploaded a picture of a gun and a knife with the caption “I carry this…..maybe not legally but I only truly follow the law of Odin….. which says as you said,arm yourself…… Odins advice> modern law.” Odin is a pagan Norse god.

One of the pagan pages Matthews was active on specifically forbade racism and “nazi stuff.” Matthews also appeared aware of the religion’s white supremacist associations. In one post, a group member noted that a drawing of a pagan figure had a swastika-like design on his belt. “well yea the belt gives him extra strength and power…..white power lmao jk jk I had to,” Matthews wrote.”

From KATC Channel 3 (video and picture of Matthews at the link):

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, in collaboration with the ATF, FBI, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and several other local agencies have been investigating suspicious fires at three churches in St. Landry Parish.

US Attorney David Joseph released the following statement on the burnings.

“A suspect has been identified in connection with the three church burnings in Opelousas, Louisiana, and is in state custody.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF, and FBI are working with state and local law enforcement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the victims and those St. Landry Parish residents affected by these despicable acts.  A special thanks to St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, H. “Butch” Browning Jr., Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Cybercrime Unit, the Louisiana State Police, and the Florida State Fire Marshal for working seamlessly with federal law enforcement agents in this investigation.”

The first fire occurred on March 26 at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre. The second occurred at Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas on April 2. The third occurred on April 4 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

I’m sure Candace Owens will be along any time now to explain that these African American churches didn’t burn down and this isn’t domestic terrorism and/or a hate crime and/or the result of white supremacy, because white supremacy is a hoax. She wouldn’t lie to us, would she?

Also, obligatory:

Open thread!








The Similarities Are Not Unlikely, the Connections Have Existed for Years, the Idea Held In Common Is Anti-Semitism, and the Facilitating Link is the Internet

On Saturday The BBC published an article entitled The Unlikely Similarities Between the Far Right and IS. The article begins with:

Far-right extremists in Britain have been accessing terrorism material published online by the Islamic State group, counter-terrorism experts have told the BBC.

They say neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists have been studying methods of attack shared by jihadists with their followers on the internet.

But we should not be surprised that they do share some similarities.

The author then seeks to provide the answers:

Counter-terrorism officers have been using a range of methods, including phone taps, to gather intelligence on what the most violent individuals have been planning or aspiring to do.

In some cases, arrests have been made after suspects have been caught downloading child pornography. But officials say that neo-Nazis and other extremists have also been accessing material to plan attacks published by their ideological enemies, Islamic State.

This may seem strange, but it should not come as a surprise.

Their ideologies may be diametrically opposed to each other but there are some disturbing similarities between them, some of which are obvious, others less so.

He goes on to tick off a list of similarities from intolerance of anyone else’s views first among them. Nado Bakos, more popularly known by the title to her forthcoming book as The Targeter, tweeted out the article without comment:

Marcy Wheeler, more popularly known by the name of her blog EmptyWheel made an interesting reply:

What Wheeler has zeroed in on, and correctly so, is what is missing from the article: historical context about connections between these groups and what facilitated and enabled that connection. Specifically the historical context that can be provided by someone who has been doing comparative research into violent extremists and terrorists since the early 1990s. And that’s where I come in. One of the oldest, and now apparently no longer available, white supremacist websites was named Be Wise as Serpents. You can see a reference to it with a link that does nothing at this page cataloguing these sites at GWU. Be Wise as Serpents was one of the primary websites for the Aryan Nations, which was, at one time, the most active of the Christian Identity groups. It spun off two active terrorist groups: the original The Order and a subsequent group of the same name.  The sites name is derived from Matthew 10:16 and, in addition to having the standard Aryan Nations and Christian Identity information,  conspiracy theories, etc, it also linked to the website of an expatriate Algerian army officer who had fled to Sweden seeking asylum to avoid prosecution for his adherence to an extremist version of Islam. This individual’s website hosted The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, as well as just about every other anti-Semitic conspiracy theory known in the early to mid 90s. He also linked back to the Aryan Nations’ site.

Both of these sites are now defunct, but back when I was still an academic and teaching courses on terrorism and extremism, I would use them as examples in my classroom – first at UF, then at Temple, and then at UCA. The commonality that led these two disparate groups of extremists – white supremacists adhering to a racialized version of Pentacostalism in the US and an Islamic extremist asylee in Sweden – was anti-Semitism, specifically the conspiracy theory that Jews have always and were continuing to manipulate politics, economics, global events, and even non-Jewish religions to their own benefit. What allowed them to link up into a loose and informal network was the Internet.

As Wheeler’s commentary by tweet so accurately points out, this is not unlikely at all and the reporter downplays the likelihood/possibility of coordination even though that is not an accurate assessment. That’s because the coordination, even as innocuous as being able to easily and quickly access information to both confirm and further one’s own extremist views, has been going on for a very, very long time.  The coordination is really all about the sharing of ideas. The Be Wise as Serpents site eventually went defunct as the Aryan Nations came apart from both the lawsuits filed against it by The Southern Poverty Law Center, the death of its longtime leader Richard Gurnt Butler after a period of scandal*, and the fighting by those claiming to be his successors. I have no idea what happened to the guy in Sweden. But these connections, and the directions of influence, go back to the earliest days of the Internet, which facilitated linkages between individuals and groups that would otherwise be considered strange bedfellows. Because as different as white supremacy and racialized Christianity may be from the various extremist versions of Islam, they do have one commonality in their extremism and conspiracism: the anti-Semitic belief that the Jews are manipulating politics, the economy, global events, even other religions for the sinister benefits of the Jews. And, perhaps more importantly, these connections and the influence they facilitate among extremists of different backgrounds, are going strong in 2019.

Open thread!

* Butler, in his final years of life, got involved with and, according to some reports had married, Wendy Iwanow, who was describing herself at the time as an Aryan Princess and tattoo artist. Iwanow was better known by her professional name Bianca Trump, The Latin Princess of Porn, who had starred in such classics as Brassiere to Eternity.








Breaking News: Mass Shooting at Two Mosques in Christchurch, NZ

From Radio New Zealand:

6 minutes ago

Police say one shooter is in custody but there may be other offenders after ‘multiple fatalities’ at two mosques in Christchurch today. Follow live updates here.

What you need to know:

  • There have been two shooting incidents – at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque next to Hagley Park, and at the Linwood Masjid Mosque in the suburb of Linwood.
  • Police Commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed there have been “multiple fatalities”.
  • An eyewitness inside the Masjid Al Noor Mosque says he heard shots fired and says at least five people were lying on the ground.
  • The eyewitness describes seeing a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military style jacket opening fire inside the mosque with an automatic weapon.
  • About 300 people were inside the mosque for afternoon prayers.
  • Police say the “risk environment remains extremely high”.
  • The manager of the An-Nur Early Childhood centre in Wigram said police gave some parents an update that said there were two gunmen and at least one was on the loose.
  • People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.
  • All Christchurch schools, Christchurch Hospital and Christchurch City Council buildings have been placed into lockdown.
  • Multiple roads in the city, including Blenhein Rd, Moorhouse Ave and Brougham St, have been closed.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says today is one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.

Radio New Zealand just posted the following:

More from Radio New Zealand:

2 minutes ago

A man purporting to be at the centre of today’s attacks in Christchurch has posted video and documents online.

The videos are distressing and appear to be of the shooting in a mosque.

RNZ will not be publishing video or documents from a person who is believed to be a shooter at the Christchurch mosques.

RNZ is aware of footage of armed police appearing to apprehend a person. RNZ is also aware footage of the shooting is being posted online and a document circulating outlining the shooter’s motives is being shared.

A decision has been made to not publish in any of this material.

Live coverage of the shooting can be found here and a summary of what you need to know is here.

This is obviously going to be a fast moving event and the reporting is likely to change several times before it we have a clear(er) picture of exactly what happened and who perpetrated this attack.

Update at 11:45 PM EDT

New Zealand’s Prime Minister has made a statement (emphasis mine):

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, addressing the media about the Christchurch shooting, says there is “no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme violence”.

The PM said she couldn’t give any confirmation on fatalities at this stage, but “it is clear this one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

“Presently the police do have one suspect in custody however there could be others involved. Also there are multiple scenes involved in this incident as well and police will be giving more details as they can as the situation unfolds,” she said,

About 300 people were inside a Christchurch mosque for afternoon prayers when a gunman attacked them.

An eyewitness said there was “blood everywhere”, adding that a man wearing a helmet and glasses and a military-style jacket opened fire inside the mosque with an automatic weapon.

Police say the “risk environment remains extremely high”.

At the moment police have stated that they have one offender in custody, however, they have advised that there may be other offenders.

“Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Ms Ardern said.

“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting will be migrants, they will be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us.

“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.

“There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence which it is clear this act was. “

She said her thoughts were also with those in Christchurch who were dealing with an unfolding situation.

“Please continue to listen out to information as it comes to light.

“Remain in lockdown, we are potentially dealing with an evolving situation as I said across multiple sites.

“Christchurch Hospital is dedicated to treating those who are arriving at the hospital as we speak.

She is scheduled to return to Wellington today.

People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.

Updated at 11:55 PM EDT

Here’s video of Prime Minister Ardern making a statement regarding the attack on the two mosques (h/t Aleta in comments)

Updated at 12:05 PM EDT

The shooter posted a 75 page manifesto on 8Chan. He’s a white supremacist, so we can definitely call this an act of terrorism.

At more than 74 pages, the document outlines a white supremacist motivation for the attack. The writer, who identifies himself as a 28-year-old white man born in Australia, quotes the so-called 14 Words, the slogan shared by white supremacists worldwide. He said that while he supported white nationalist groups, he alone had decided to carry out the attack. He described the victims as “invaders” and accused them of seeking to replace white people. He wrote about attacking two mosques, one in Linwood and one in Christchurch. He focused on the latter because it was the largest, he wrote.

Interestingly enough, he was radicalized by Candace Owens, the Hitler afficionado who is the spokeswoman for TPUSA and the leader of Blexit (which isn’t actually a thing…). So congratulations to Candace Owens for inspiring your first terrorist attack. I’m sure you and your family are very proud of all your endeavors.

Newsweek reporter Stephen Asarch has excerpted the manifesto:

(I’ve removed the actual embedded tweets with the excerpts that Asarch made as they were upsetting some readers. They can be found at the link above.)

Open thread!