The accused Buffalo gunman followed the familiar radicalization path

18 year old gunman Accused of deadly racist rampage in Buffalo supermarket It seems to fit a profile that is too familiar. A suffering white man immersed in a hateful plot online and inspired by the slaughter of other radicals.

Payton Gendron of Conklin, NY, appears to have been driven to action about two years after his radical teaching began, showing how quickly and easily murder attacks occur on the Internet. No tactical training or systematic support is required.

Law enforcement officers have been proficient in destroying well-organized plots since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but face much more difficult challenges in stopping self-radicalization. A young man who absorbs racist screeds on social media and plots violence on his own..

Christopher Costa, a former senior director of counterterrorism at the Trump administration’s National Security Council, said: “What has changed is the Internet.”

Gendron has been accused of shooting 10 blacks and could be charged with federal hate crimes in the coming days. He is said to have left a 180-page diatribe stating that the rampage terrorized non-white people and intended to take them out of the country.It Parrot ideas left by other white murderers The massacre he investigated online extensively.

Evidence so far It emphasizes the evolution of the threats facing law enforcement agencies.

In the first few years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, US officials were obsessed with the possibility of organized terrorists mobilizing believers to launch new attacks on their homeland. They were later worried about the possibility of self-radical Islamic extremists acting on their own.

White supremacists are now emerging as the central focus.Last year’s FBI Director Christopher Ray Explained the threat of domestic terrorism As a “metastasis”. Young white men have been responsible for most of the most deadly attacks on US soil in the last five years. Including 2018 shootings in Pittsburgh Synagogue and next year’s rampage Gunman targeting Hispanics Twenty-two people were killed in Texas Wal-Mart.

An unclassified report from US intelligence last year warned that violent militants motivated by political dissatisfaction and racial hatred pose an “increased” threat to the country.

Recognizing this issue, the White House in March said the latest budget provided the FBI with an increase of $ 33 million for a domestic terrorist investigation. In 2019, the FBI brought together agents who specialize in combating hate crimes and agents who focus on domestic terrorist acts. This is in favor of the overlapping nature of the threat.

Federal authorities have recently charged white supremacists and members of the neo-Nazi group, including the Atomwaffen division and bases. These organizations have adopted a fringe philosophy known as “accelerationism” that promotes social collapse, causes racial warfare, or promotes large-scale violence to overthrow the US government.

The digital path to the indoctrination of those defendants seems to reflect that of Gendron in a sense. The racist screed caused by him “Great alternative” theory — An unfounded conspiracy theory that there are plans to reduce the influence of whites.

Within the criminal justice system, the ability to rehabilitate racially or ethnically motivated militants, or to create so-called “off-ramp” for them before committing violence, has long been debated. I did. When charged, several defendants tried to abandon their ideology. They pointed out mitigation factors in their own lives that they said distorted their judgment and led to a series of poisoned beliefs.

After the Justice Department indicted four Seattle members of Atomwaffen in a campaign to intimidate them with threatening posters at home in 2020, defense lawyers tried to recreate the similarities between the client’s background and the path of radicalization. Did: They were bullied, had no friendships, and were banished; coveting the community, they found each other on the Internet.

Cameron Shea was obsessed with opioids and lived in the car when she founded Atomwaffen.

“Ï is lost, sad, and angry with the world (at the risk of being dramatically heard),” he wrote in a letter to the judge. It was easier than dealing with the feelings of sadness and displacement beneath all of it. “

Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, who was 21 years old in the judgment, is a trans-gender man who was shunned by his peers and frequently bullied in high school in New Jersey, his lawyer Peter Mzone said. After a failed attempt to “connect with the LBG TQ crowd,” Parker Dipeppe was drawn online to Atomwaffen’s cell in Florida, led by a 16-year-old boy, and became a “perfect believer,” his lawyer said. rice field.

“But he is also a group that fights for him as needed unless he” passes “as a man, is accepted by a” men “club, and no one knows he is actually transgender. I felt that I was a member. “Mazzone wrote.

Atomwaffen’s defendant has been found guilty or convicted by a jury. All four were sentenced to imprisonment or sentence. Gendron’s online wanderings may have been a more independent endeavor while those men were united on the internet. However, the statement he appears to have posted online is inspired by the rampage of other racists, such as a white man who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019. Shows that you got.

In the document, Gendron experienced “extreme boredom” as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, and was popular in May 2020 for anonymous and often violent or misleading posts. He said he started browsing 4chan, a lawless messaging board with. Gendron said he first browsed the site’s gun message board.

Soon he came across a neo-Nazi website posted on the site, and then a copy of a live stream video of a New Zealand mosque shooting.

“This document shows a very clear trajectory from online radicalization to domestic terrorism and radicalism,” says Sophie, who is studying the white nationalist movement and hate crimes at Vanderbilt University’s assistant processor. Björk James says.

Gendron shared meme screenshots and conservative news headlines to help formulate his extreme beliefs in the document.

“It’s very important to keep megaphones away from those people, and now that megaphones are on social media,” Bjork-James said.

Facebook did not stop the live stream of the New Zealand murder until 17 minutes after it aired, and indefinitely distributed a copy of the video to more seeded sites such as 4Chan. Gendron’s live stream video is also spreading to social media sites It can be used to teach more users.


Tucker and Seitz reported from Washington. Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland.