Don’t blame Tim Pool for the Texas mall shooting
Internet personalities aren't at fault for Mauricio Garcia's killing spree
On 6th May, 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia went on a shooting spree in a packed mall in Allen, Texas, claiming the lives of at least nine people. Now it’s being reported by multiple outlets that he frequently browsed “far-Right extremist material on social media”, and went on “incel rants”, where he would “express support for Neo-Nazis.”
In the wake of this news, reporters like NBC’s Ben Collins are all but explicitly blaming people like Chaya Raichik, who runs the account @LibsofTikTok, and centrist media personality Tim Pool, who the shooter purported to like on a private social media account that “appeared to function like a personal diary”, according to Gizmodo. Questions have been raised over whether it was meaningful that Garcia was a fan of these people, and if this credibly connected them with so-called far-Right ideologies. There are also questions about how seriously we should take Garcia’s ties to neo-Nazism. Is it more likely that he was a deeply troubled individual drawn to the most immediately shocking material he could find, or was he radicalised to commit an act of mass violence by a couple of internet celebrities?
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The answer shouldn’t be difficult to work out. It’s ludicrous to even imply that centre-Right internet personalities have anything to do with the epidemic of mass violence in the US. That doesn’t mean that Garcia didn’t authentically like these people or consume their content, but it isn’t any more relevant than the bizarre note about how “Valerie Solanas would be proud” of Nashville shooter Audrey Hale included in one of his posts. (It may also be worth noting that some of Garcia’s posts were cribbed from other sources, like movies or the incels.is forum, perhaps to create a text-based mood board.)
Ironically, Garcia says in that very post that if these acts of terror hold any meaning to him at all, it’s as a spectacle. This was, after all, most likely a deeply mentally unwell man whose worldview did not cohere in any way. Garcia often wrote in unintelligible, though not broken, English in a style suggestive of someone struggling with mental health problems. Many of his posts were difficult to follow, or made very little sense, like this one about shaking people’s hands. He frequently expressed despair, feeling as though he didn’t “even exist”.
In another post Garcia wrote, “It is my contention that the very roots of our mass shooting epidemic may be found in our core cultural value of fierce individualism.” He used the language of the incel community at times, examples being “oldcel” (someone whose celibacy is due to their older age), “Chad” and “Stacy”. Other times, he gestured to Right-wing memes. But mostly, he posted difficult-to-follow screeds about his loneliness accompanied by posts like this: “i wish i was dead, noone [sic] would care if i ceased to exist,” and “I’m worried that all these decades of loneliness have ruined me.”
But there is a difference between someone who sees the swastika as a political symbol that motivates them to commit acts of violence and a mentally ill person who sees it as symbolic of chaos and discontent. Neither person is deserving of any apologia. However, one person is politically motivated, and another is a ticking time bomb who may not have the faculties to even have a modus operandi.
When you see tweet threads like Bellingcat researcher Aric Toler’s, which include quips like, “I guess we’ll never know if this guy was a liberal or fascist or anything else, oh well,” we’re not learning anything. Very little has been published about the alarming state of Garcia’s mental health (concerns over which led to him being discharged from the US military), or that his posts were those of someone who resented American individualism and saw life as a meaningless spectacle.
This also isn’t meant to excuse Nazism which, I cannot emphasise enough, is a heinous ideology. It’s just that throwing together a grab bag of vaguely Right-wing personalities as some kind of proof that we have an unaddressed problem with white supremacist terrorism is worse than useless. We certainly don’t have any greater understanding of how and why a dark-skinned Mexican man might come to align himself with neo-Nazism, assuming we accept that these were his genuinely held beliefs and not a tool to alienate himself from others through shock value. And, finally, the reporting being done on Garcia’s social media presence isn’t even instructive to help us understand the far-Right subcultures that do percolate online.
Here’s what’s happening instead: people’s deaths are being used as pawns to condemn the American Right at large by conflating it and anyone who comes within 500 feet of it (like Tim Pool and Chaya Raichik) with the furthest reaches of the far-Right, about which the broader American public knows very little.
One of the more tragic elements of the story is that we will never come any closer to answers about why these horrific events happen.
Gonna try reposting, not sure which word got flagged…
There are a lot of things that don’t smell right about this whole matter of the tatted up Latino gang-member who is also a committed white nationalist, and apparently showed that racial hatred off by shooting up a bunch of white people in a mall in Texas. That summary is eyebrow raising enough as it is.
The source of this guy’s social media posts (pulled from an obscure Russian social media platform) is Aric Toler. He is the sole source for these lurid screenshots of Tim Pool’s show, and headless photos showing huge (fresh) SS tattoos. Now they’re everywhere.
Aric Toler works for Bellingcat.
Bellingcat are a known intelligence cut-out. They are regularly used to launder western intelligence talking points into the media. They’ve been very busy in the past month it seems. If you thought it was slightly odd that the New York Times managed to find the Pentagon leaker faster than the entire Department of Defense apparatus, well you may be interested to know that actually the NYT were told who he was… by Bellingcat.
Aric has actually already walked himself a certain way back on Twitter, saying he didn’t actually verify if this is definitely the guy. But the bird has flown. The media train has left the station.
These days I hardly trust anything I hear, especially when the whole of the media are shrieking it at me in unison. But I doubly do not trust anything that 11/10 lurid, and turns out to trace back to shady intel outfits. I’m gonna wait for better sources on this highly controversial story.
Indeed. Meanwhile, about the Nashville shooter’s manifesto….
Indeed, I am looking forward to seeing an analysis of the Nashville shooter’s social media statements, her manifesto etc. by Ben Collins and the gang!
Whenever things like this happen and the usual deradicalisation-industrial-complex and grifters come out, it always betrays their limited knowledge of the subjects they profess to be experts in. If one actually bothers to check out the darker places on the internet where some of these ideologues actually congregate, you’ll find that they are laughing at him for being a non-white ‘live action role player’ and ‘schizo’. They are not his comrades; the idea of some gigantic conspiracy of right wing actors is a figment of serious delusion, or more likely, the desperate tin-can rattling by groups like the Anti-Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Centre and Hope Not Hate who thrive on it all.
“The vast right wing conspiracy” – H.R.C.
Which will eventually go on to include anyone who is not 100& on board with the new dictatorial regime being imposed upon us.
Part of the problem is that, these days, self-described ‘progressives’ won’t drop their narrative, regardless of the evidence against their position. Instead, they double-down.
Within minutes of the shooting, legacy media and social-media blitherers leapt to the conclusion it was ‘white supremacy’ in action. Then the shooter turned out to be Hispanic – doesn’t matter, he’s ‘white-adjacent’, and therefore an Austrian watercolourist admirer! The more evidence against the first thing they blurted out, the more pig-headed the resistance to acknowledging it.
The same happened when a Syrian bloke shot up a supermarket a couple of years back, and there are still some who, looking at the photos of the white guys killed by Kyle Rittenhouse in self-defence, insist they were actually black!
What’s scary is the power of the media in these instances.
There are still many, many millions of Americans who think Kyle Rittenhouse shot a bunch of unarmed black people at a protest (it was a riot, the people he shot were white, and armed, and attacked him first as they admitted on the stand …hence, acquittal). The trial was televised. The evidence was highlighted clearly. But the media did such a stunningly good job of seeding the initial narrative, that many didn’t even bother to tune in to the “rigged trial” CNN had told them would take place, and they just took CNN’s word for it the trial was a perversion of justice and Kyle was still guilty despite the verdict.
We saw the same with the Russiagate hoax. The relentless promotion of this scam, and the doubling down on it, even as it was exposed to be absolute nonsense, is really something to behold. And like with Rittenhouse, there remain million and millions of people who still think that it was Putin who got Trump elected. To some extent, the very dangerous situation we are now in with Ukraine is also being influenced by this hoax that would not die, as lots of Republicans feel the need to look ‘tough on Russia’, leading us into a cul-de-sac where the only option is endless escalation. Madness.
Well put, and this is what’s terrifying. We can talk about how irrelevant the MSM are and how we don’t take it seriously anymore, but we share our country with millions of humans who _do_ accept these messages and vote and otherwise act on them.
There are still people who believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. To me, that was the first time I’d seen such collective brainwashing. Yes, in the early 90s, the invasion of Iraq was horrid and dressed up by excited embedded reporters, but there didn’t seem to be such active attempts to influence Americans to affirmatively give a shit. But now? Heaven help us.
Indeed. CNN has become worse than Fox News for hyperbole. The problem is is that CNN viewers think they are highly informed and intelligent compared to Fox News viewers.
Carlos Reales Dominguez
If only there was some sort of pattern, some kind of link connecting these recent mass murderers…
Mass shootings became more prevalent after the prescribing of antidepressants became more prevalent. https://open.substack.com/pub/pierrekory/p/how-the-fda-buried-the-dangers-of?r=j965m&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
I love how everyone gets obsessed with “ideology” in trying to explain these mad acts of senseless violence. Let’s remember the absolute insanity of the psychology involved:
1. Psychopathology. Nothing shocking about that, unless it’s paired with…
2. Desire to hurt random people.
It doesn’t get any worse than that as far as wretched mental illness goes. We’re talking about the lowest behavior humans are capable of. Who cares what they think about women or whether they fantasize about Nazis? Nothing to do with Why They Did It!
At this point, I get the impression that the American Left will gleefully paint anyone to the right of AOC and MSNBC as extreme right-wing [email protected] and the fount of all violence. And at the risk of being labeled a conspiracy theorist, it seems like our Federal government is happy to go along with that trope. When the US Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are pushing the message that suburban parents who are unhappy with public schools indoctrinating their kids in CRT, transgenderism, etc. are closet terrorists, something is wrong. As is the Left’s seeming silence on clearly mentally ill people acting out violently.
At least Britain had a shooting season that starts with Grouse in August, and finished at the end of January.
Lots of talk about the 2nd Amendment, but how many mass shooters have been members of a well regulated militia or using their guns to protect themselves against unlawful violence?
It’s a strange kind of freedom that allows parents to live in fear that their child will not get shot in school, out shopping, going to a nightclub or turning up at the wrong address but allows any creep who wants one to own an AR-15.
Like most British people, I find the gun culture of the United States incomprehensible, and profoundly unattractive. But if I had one, which I do not, then I would never surrender any firearm of mine either to Donald Trump or to Joe Biden.
Prince Harry’s bragging about his 25 kills in Afghanistan was too much even for Richard Kemp, meaning that he really had gone too far, but it was of a piece with the American liberalism into which he had married.
Liberal America is still the land of guns in homes, of guns sold in supermarkets, of armed Police, of capital punishment, and of popular humour about a level of casual violence in schools that would not be tolerated in prisons in Britain. Huge numbers of Americans have been in their country’s ultra-violent penal system, or in the military that implemented its highly interventionist foreign policy, or both. For all its good points, and I do not deny them, America is a violent place, and it is no wonder that Harry feels at home there.
Seeking to extend across the whole wide Earth the mission that had extended the Republic from sea to shining sea, American liberalism has been possibly the world’s most bellicose political movement in living memory. It has given us Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korea and Vietnam, and every act of the Clintons, of the Obama Administration, and of the 50 years and counting since Mr Biden went to Washington.
Its domestic record has been no better in almost as long, with obscenities such as the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that Biden sponsored on behalf of Bill Clinton, setting the tone for little brother copycatting by the Blair Government and by any future Starmer Government, which now proposes to have victims determine sentences. Even Kamala Harris would have to eat her heart out at that one.
But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair’s Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And I say again that on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.
To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought WW2 to an abrupt end and prevented the vast number of deaths among allied servicemen, Japanese servicemen, Japanese civilians and allied POWs which would have attended the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands.
“Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped,” concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Surveys. That was early as 1946. It gets some people’s backs up when Hiroshima and Nagasaki are compared to the Holocaust. But beyond any crude numbers game, there was more than a touch of Josef Mengele to those bombings. No one knew what the effects of an atomic attack would be. So experiments were conducted on perceived racial inferiors, not to end the War, but just to see what would happen. “If we’d lost the War, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals,” admitted even Curtis LeMay. He was right.
If you think there’s any moral equivalence between the US and Imperial Japan, I suggest that you read about Unit 731.
Nobody knows what would have happened. Would Japan have surrendered without the bombs? Surrendering was not a big part of their culture, so I doubt it.
The only part of Japan that was invaded was Okinawa. It cost the lives of 12,000 Americans and 94,000 Japanese defenders. Also, 300 civilians committed suicide by jumping from the cliffs.
Now imagine that multiplied by the size of the Japanese home islands to understand why the 2 bombs really saved a lot of lives.
I am afraid you know nothing of life in USA, or of the USA. The Second Amendment is, after the First Amendment, one of the very greatest parts of USA.
I am from both sides of the Atlantic, and really, from the Middle East as well. I have seen a very great deal of things.
USA is the only Nation in the world which gives its citizens the absolute freedom to own a firearm. All elsewhere it is a privilege, and almost Always, and everywhere, one totally denied the people.
This makes USA the only free country in the world.
You are not free – you are a bound man, your government owns you.
There are only 2 stores in Mexico where you can buy guns.
Come back to me when America takes gun control as seriously as Mexico does.
The obvious problem with that is that firearm deaths in Mexico are 17.22 per 100K population. The figure for the US is 10.89.
The obvious problem with your reply is that the guns used in these shootings are bought legally, often by people fronting for the drug cartels, in the US and smuggled across the border.
In a civilised democracy freedom of speech is more important than freedom to carry arm. In a civilised democracy, we discuss our differences, not shoot at each other.
Added to which, UnHerd Reader (with unsurprisingly bumptious American ignorance) is wrong on the facts. There are plenty of countries with lots of guns, but few – if any – in the developed world with the rate of deaths from gun violence that the USA has.
You are correct, but the right to bear arms is only one notch below the right you mention, which is on the very top of the list. The right to speak and the right to bear arms are both aimed at the same goal, which is to prevent popular democracy from descending into tyranny. The modern age doubts that tendency at its peril.
If you read another article in today’s UnHerd about Durham and the utter lawlessness up there, you might understand America’s Second Amendment.
Like most Americans, I find the willingness of Europeans to be subjected to authoritarian rule incomprehensible. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.
Funny because no Americans I know think their European friends do subject themselves to authoritarian rule and neither, funnily enough, do those European friends who don’t think they are subjugated. Because most Europeans live in a democracy, however well or badly it functions.
“It’s ludicrous to even imply that centre-Right internet personalities have anything to do with the epidemic of mass violence in this country.”
OK, fair enough. But the next time a mass shooter proves to have been a regular attendee at his local mosque, don’t blame Islam.
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