“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
*S*T*O*P* scrolling down facebook and inform yourself about a term that gives context to the attack in El Paso and the broader problem it exposes. This is nowhere close to stopping. It will happen again. And again. And again. This is Stochastic Terrorism.
The El Paso shooting is not an act by a “lone wolf”. This, along with previous shootings such as the Poway shooting and the Christchurch shooting is Stochastic Terrorism, fostered by racially-toned suggestive language by President Trump and other people of high influence and fueled by the corners of the internet, such as 4chan, 8chan, and reddit.
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”¹ ²
30 years ago, if you wanted to find vindication and justification for your racist, white supremacist views and conspiracy theories about a “great replacement”, you either had to know people in your local circle who held your same belief, find them in your local circle, or hang your swastika in the basement and keep your crap to yourself. Now, all you have to do is read a sentence or two past what President Trump says, understand the implication, get yourself on a computer, and suddenly you’re part of one or more groups of thousands of people who hide behind anonymity spewing wack science and statistics and BS theories about the “white race” being purposefully extinguished by (((them))) (the Jews, if you’re not familiar with dog whistles), unless something is done about it. The ability to group together online and create echo chambers that justify, encourage, and strategize violence based on racist rhetoric by those with influence is a major contributor to the increase in white supremacist and right wing violence we see today. The subreddit /r/TopMindsofReddit does a good job in compiling and exposing posts like these in other subreddits.³
President Trump speaks out of both sides of his mouth when he says ‘well of course we can’t shoot them’ when they come over, but also “Today’s shooting in El Paso was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act” when someone else does. It’s disgusting and it’s dangerous. This is not a both sides problem. This is a right-wing problem. FBI director Chris Wray stated in July that the majority of the 100 domestic terrorist arrests made so far this year have been by “white supremacist violence”.⁴
The shooter travelled all the way from Dallas to El Paso, a city on the border with Mexico, more than 80% latino, and the 6th safest city in the country.⁵ ⁹ Feds have confirmed that a manifesto published to 8chan before the attack was written by the shooter. The shooter’s first sentence exclaimed support for the Christchurch shooter, and claims that his attack was a “response to the hispanic invasion of Texas”. He goes on to blame both Democrats and Republicans, but finishes by saying that Republicans could fix this issue if they prioritized it. It’s important to note that when people like this say they don’t support Donald Trump, it’s not because they’re to the left of him, it’s because they’re to the right. They don’t think he’s doing enough, or they think he’s in bed with (((them))).
Concluding his manifesto, the shooter says “it is not cowardly to pick low hanging fruit”, and proceeds to encourage more violence against “invaders”. He advocates for an ethnostate, something the Christchurch shooter also called for in calling himself an ethno-nationalist. On a quick, broader note, in case you didn’t know, the more common dog whistles/”alternate names” fascists use to identify themselves are race realist, identitarian, and nationalist. They use these words because most people don’t know what they mean or they sound more acceptable. That’s the point. If you know anyone who identifies as one of these or advocates for their beliefs, it is your duty to call them out and confront them.
This shooter doesn’t name Donald Trump as an inspiration for his attack, but it really doesn’t take much thought to ask “what people with a lot of influence are pushing an idea that hispanics are invading our country with crime and poverty, and the only solution is to stop them?”⁶ This is Stochastic Terrorism. Say something that stops short of inciting action and let the “lone wolves” do what they think they need to do. President Trump has used the word “invaders” to describe illegal immigrants 10 times in tweets in the last year.⁷ ⁸
“…it is Mr. Trump who has called journalists “scum” and “enemies of the people” (and who recently suggested that Representative Greg Gianforte, who body-slammed a reporter for The Guardian, was “my kind of guy”). It is Mr. Trump who ran a campaign ad depicting George Soros as part of a cabal of globalists — all of whom happened to be Jewish — who have “bled our country dry.” It is Mr. Trump who suggested that “Second Amendment people” might have to “do” something if his opponent in the 2016 Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, got to pick judges they did not like.”⁹
If you’re more interested in my position, or believe I’m wrong about something, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME. Even just a short “can you expand on x point you made?” I want to start conversations about this, because talking about a problem is the 0th step to figuring out how to combat and stop it.
- What Is Stochastic Terrorism And Why Does It Matter? –
- Jargon Watch: The Rising Danger of Stochastic Terrorism –
- Top Minds of Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/TopMindsOfReddit/
- FBI’s Wray says most domestic terrorism arrests this year involve white supremacy –
- El Paso among ‘Top 10 Safest Metro Cities’ in U.S. for 2019 –
- Trump laughs after audience member suggests shooting migrants –
- Trump Left A Lot Unsaid About Mass Shootings, Domestic Terrorism — And His Own Words
- Trump Picks Political Fights as He Visits Dayton, El Paso: A Closer Look [6:28-7:12]
- DailyKos member’s term, ‘stochastic terrorism,’ enters the mainstream lexicon right on time