Terrorist Attacks El Paso
I’ve been at a conference all day, and am just learning about the El Paso massacre. You probably already know it, but the alleged shooter, Patrick Crusius, is a 21-year-old white supremacist from suburban Dallas. He published a racist (anti-Hispanic) manifesto on 8chan before allegedly going into the Walmart with his gun and murdering 20 people.
Shortly after the mass shooting Saturday, Mr. Crusius’ LinkedIn and Facebook accounts were shut down. A LinkedIn page that circulated online after the account was closed down appeared to be several years old, and Mr. Crusius seemed to be a lost young man.
He wrote on LinkedIn while in high school, “I’m not really motivated to do anything more than what’s necessary to get by. Working in general sucks, but I guess a career in Software Development suits me well. I spend about 8 hours every day on the computer so that counts toward technology experience I guess.”
The posting concluded: “Pretty much just gonna see what technology careers present themselves to me; go with the wind.”
Leigh Ann Locascio, a former neighbor, said Crusius was an extreme loner who always sat alone on the bus in junior high and high school. He spoke negatively of other kids who played sports or joined the school band, she said.
She described Crusius as “very much a loner, very stand-offish” and someone who “didn’t interact a whole lot with anyone.”
Her son, Tony Locascio, walked to school regularly with Crusius and his sister. Tony Locascio said Patrick Crusius only walked ahead or behind them, never interacting and always keeping to himself. He liked animals and kept pet snakes. “He wouldn’t talk to people. No one really knew him,” Tony Locascio said.
Another former classmate, Jacob Wilson, said Crusius was “very strong minded” in class and would try to “take charge” but other kids refused to work with him because he “irritable and had a short temper.” He was often “picked on” because of how he spoke, and because he wore what looked like hand-me-down clothes, Wilson said.
Wilson, who is now 20 and works in his family’s scrap metal recycling business, said he was in English class with Crusius during their senior year, and the taunts from other kids during class seemed relentless. “Every time I looked up in class it was someone new speaking negatively to the kid, ‘Patrick that is dumb, stupid,’” Wilson said.
The most important takeaways from the El Paso shooting are twofold:
+ 8chan’s /pol board continues to deliberately radicalize mass shooters.
+The act of massacring innocents has been gamified.
This second point is illustrated clearly by some of the comments I found online in the wake of this shooting. In this discussion thread, after one anon posts screenshots of the El Paso shooter’s thread, another asks, “Is nobody going to check these incredible digits?” This statement is likely a reference to the shooter’s substantial body count. [Update: Or, also possible, a reference to the repeating “14” in a post ID, referencing the 14 words, or more benignly, “dubs” of repeating digits on post IDs]
Lots of people asking online tonight why these people, and the 8chan boards, are not treated by law enforcement as terrorists/terrorism-enabling. Good question.
I’m interested in the profile of Crusius as a relentlessly bullied weirdo isolated from others. Young men like that are easy marks for those who want to radicalize them. In the research I’ve been doing this summer about totalitarianism, young men with Crusius’s profile are the classic targets for totalitarian movement recruitment. Such movements give them a sense of solidarity and purpose, and focus their hatred. Seems it wouldn’t take much for a politician to galvanize people like that into something more cohesive and therefore dangerous.
In his manifesto (which I’m not going to link to), Crusius says that his views on the environment, corporate America, Hispanic immigrants, and the rest, have been his for years, and predate Trump’s political rise. He said it’s not right to blame Trump for what he (Crusius) is about to do. Still, I wish the President of the United States would shut up with this pointless racial antagonizing. No, I don’t believe that every single thing the Left says is a racist Trump statement really is racist, but the president would be well to just cool it. Look at this pro-Trump thug beating up an old man who was a peaceful anti-Trump protester.
This… and every reply… and El Paso. … the anger in this country is dangerous and not what America stands for. Feels like watching a slow motion unraveling. https://t.co/5WCfr8KHjb
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) August 4, 2019