#gamergate 4chan racism

What we know about the 4channers who may have shot 5 Black Lives Matter protesters

4channers on the way to the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis
4channers on the way to the Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis

On Monday night, as I noted yesterday, someone (or more than one someone) shot five Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis. Witnesses to the shooting and others who have been following the protest say that the shots came from a small group of white supremacists who had been hanging around the protest for days. .

We still don’t know who pulled the trigger, but it is growing increasingly clear that most if not all of the small squad of racists at the protest were 4channers associated with the /pol/ and /k/ boards, the first a politics board overrun with racists and conspiracy theories and the second a hangout for weapons enthusiasts.

But a lot has happened since my last post, so here’s a roundup of some of the more significant developments.

The police are holding four men — all white, and all in their twenties — allegedly involved in the shooting.

According to local newspaper,  police have arrested 23-year-old Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, who is one of the two masked men shown driving to the protests in this video last week. (Here’s what appears to be a video of the arrest.)

Ironically, Black Powder Ranger, as Scarsella is apparently known online, was not the one brandishing the gun. BLM activists say that SaigaMarine, the gun-toting racist driving the car and spouting racist epithets, was the somewhat older Hispanic man arrested and released yesterday because he evidently had an alibi for the night of the shooting.

Two other men — identified as Daniel Thomas Macey and Nathan Gustavsson — turned themselves in to police yesterday. Newsweek reports that the police are also questioning a fourth man, Joseph Backman.

While we still don’t know the details of the shooting, someone — apparently one of the 4chan gang — sent a video to a local radio station that appears to show what happened in the minutes immediately before the shooting, in which a group of BLM protesters confronted the 4channers filming their protest. Unfortunately, the video has no sound

Videos of the racist gang at the protest — there are several making the rounds on YouTube — make it abundantly clear that they are either 4channers or others intimately familiar with 4chan lingo. One of the gang even sports a /k/ patch on his jacket.

Much of their conversation consists of little more than repitition of 4chan memes and coded language (e.g. “cultural enrichment”) that they apparently thought would conceal their racism from the Black Lives Matter crowd. No such luck for them: BLM activists figured out relatively quickly that the small group of masked men talking amongst themselves as they not-so-secretly filmed the crowd were up to no good.

Here’s one of the videos of them at the demonstration:

While the racist gang at the protests is clearly connected to 4chan, it’s not clear if any of its members are connected to broader hate movements or subcultures, from GamerGate to the militia movement.

But they are certainly steeped in racism and in America’s gun culture. Digging through the limited information on the internet about the 4chan contingent at the protests, Raw Story notes that they seem to share “a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups.”

The cover photo on Scarcella’s Facebook page, for example, shows what’s known as the Bonnie Blue Confederate flag. One of his Facebook likes is OAF Nation, a veterans’ group so right-wing that it has attacked other veterans’ groups for distributing what it called ” f*ggoty ass yard signs” asking those lighting fireworks to not do so near the homes of veterans with PTSD.

Gustavsson, one of the men who turned himself in, brandishes a rifle in his Facebook profile picture as well.

SaigaMarine — apparently the man arrested and released — also posed for his Facebook profile “armed and donning full military gear, the StarTribune reports. “He describes his occupation simply as ‘Saving the Constitution.'”

I will post more when I know more.

Please email me, or post in the comments below, if you see something.

230 replies on “What we know about the 4channers who may have shot 5 Black Lives Matter protesters”

assuming pig farts are a valid corollary

I love that this is a place where we say things like this.

Nothing Clever, Are you serious? I’ve been rolling my eyes at Alan for months because of this very same shit and am frankly surprised its taken this long for some thing to be said. Just because it doesn’t personally bother *you* doesn’t make the multiple people it does bother wrong. We don’t need a devil’s advocate all the damn time.

Nothing Clever threw a temper tantrum, sided with a particularly nasty troll and flounced around the time of the new comments policy, because how dare we call out ableism, we’re worse than Hitler, wharrgarbl, etc. So, y’know. Not really giving too much of a shit about his opinion here.

Um, SFHC, I’m actually a woman and a rape survivor as well as someone who suffers from mental illness. So thanks for saying my opinion isn’t relative. I wasn’t defending ableism. As I recall, the troll in question was not being called out for ableism but for “defending” Judgy Bitch by saying calling the cops on her might not be a good thing.

I haven’t jumped in to defend Alan before this point because he’s a big boy and can probably take care of himself, but this sort of group mentality can really, really do harm to people with mental illnesses, especially anxiety disorders. Being ganged up on is not a nice feeling. There is a certain amount of bullying on this blog, especially to self-identified POCs, so I find this thread to be especially ironic.

Don’t force him to admit he’s a racist scumbag because he gave his legal opinion

Who has said Alan is a racist scumbag? Who is asking him to call himself one? You’re really putting words in people’s mouths here.

I don’t think Alan is racist or a scumbag. I think he’s someone who likes to argue and win and is stubbornly refusing to back down from his initial opinion even as more facts emerge that suggest this is obviously not (legally speaking) self defense. With such sensitive subject matter as this, the doubling down has the effect of siding with white supremacy even though I highly doubt that’s his intent. His unexamined privilege is keeping him from seeing that it’s offensive. I’ve been continuing on with the argument because he is a regular and if this isn’t resolved it will fester and we’ll eventually have another argument.

Asking people with lots of privileges to be a better ally in a social justice space isn’t being mean. Nor is it an accusation of being a racist scumbag or a terrible person. Good allies are crucial to social justice and we could all use some work. Myself included. In fact, I would hope somebody would call me out if I ever need it.

I should note that as a white person, I don’t have the ability to grant either myself or Alan ally status when it comes to racism. But I do think that as someone who wishes to be an ally, it is my duty to point out when other white people are displaying a bias (even if it’s not conscious) such as the tendency to buy into a self defense argument right away when a white person commits violence against a black person. Even though in this case, the people who committed the act of violence are not even claiming self defense themselves at this point. Everything about western culture makes it the path of least resistance to expect that they do have a self defense case, so I understand how it can happen. What I don’t understand is why he is not willing to examine his opinion or assumptions and would rather drop it and learn nothing than entertain the notion that maybe he is wrong.

What about his actions is wrong? What about it speaks of prejudice? Saying a law exists =/= endorsing that law. I don’t really want to single you out, I really don’t, but as you pointed out, you are an ally. Alan doesn’t owe *you* any apology, which is how you’ve been approaching this from the start.


Saying a law exists =/= endorsing that law

Alan has already repeated this line way too many times, even though nobody has made that argument. It was a strawman before and it’s a strawman now. The fact that Alan still doesn’t seem to get what the criticism is, is what makes me the most frustrated about all this.

What about his actions is wrong?

Thank God you’ve asked that question, since nobody has addressed it thus far.

So Alan, does the fact that the first person to side with you is a random tone-policing snipe troll finally get our point through your head?

No, I seriously don’t understand. We speculate on legal matters all the time on this blog. On what constitutes libel or slander, on what constitutes self-defense (see Judgy Bitch’s crossbow fetish), on whether someone can be convicted of rape charges based on written confessions (see Roosh’s books). We’ve asked Alan’s opinion on all of these things to see if there is legal recourse that can be taken against real life people. I don’t understand why this is different.

I don’t really have any stake in whether Alan apologizes or not, but this thread has been eating up the comments for days now. It’s hostile and unwelcoming and full of self-importance. If anyone agrees with me, I guess they’ll chime in. If not, I’m willing to admit I was wrong. I’ll check back in 24 hours to see.

Ok so these guys are White supremacists. But the guy brandishing is hispanic, and more recent reports is another is Asian?


Lots of Hispanic people consider themselves White. Some White supremacists might disagree with them, but other racist groups are surprisingly tolerant of anyone who says the right things.

A few years ago there was a hilarious showdown between 2 KKK groups. One KKK chapter held an anti-Mexican rally outside a courthouse. Another KKK cell called their anti-immigrant rhetoric “hateful and racist” and showed up to counter-protest.

Asian beliefs about race and racist beliefs about Asians are complicated and I lack the expertise to comment in any depth. But there are two groups of people — Jews and Black folk — who are hated on every continent, and people will make surprising alliances to stick it to them.

Um, SFHC, I’m actually a woman …

Oh, apologies, I must’ve misremembered (and missed this on my earlier skim read). Doesn’t change the fact that you’re trolling, though.

Trust me, I don’t like going off on my friends any more than you like, well, us. But you can only get poked in the back of the head so many times before you have to tell Alan that he’s been acting like a friggin’ obnoxious dudebro all month.

… My metaphor might’ve fallen apart there.


I’m sorry if I’ve upset/annoyed you but I think we’re at an impass here.

If I’ve understood correctly my offence is not my opinion on the likely legal outcome but that it wad inappropriate to discuss the law on this thread.

The problem with that is, when that point was first mentioned some other people said they did find it appropriate and useful.

So who’s right? It seems to me that the issue can only be a subjective one anyway and as you’ve been quite happy for me to chat about the law before there was nothing to indicate that anything had changed.

I said I’d drop the subject if some people wanted me to, regardless of the fact other people were finding the stuff useful.

But in a situation where some people say it is appropriate and others say it isn’t who gets to dictate which view prevails?

Really, notwithstanding Katz passionate and no doubt honestly held views, that can only be David.

SCFH, I must admit I was quite shocked at the vitriol with which you came after me, but I believe you truly were mistaken and am feeling less defensive now. So I’ll apologize now for being in the wrong.

If I’ve understood correctly my offence is not my opinion on the likely legal outcome but that it wad inappropriate to discuss the law on this thread and many others for the past several weeks in which people mentioned how uncomfortable they were about the whole matter.

Fixed that for you.

So, on to the question

But in a situation where some people say it is appropriate and others say it isn’t who gets to dictate which view prevails?

Most people, including myself at times, don’t feel the urge to call out every single little behavior that makes us uncomfortable, despite the popular belief (ok, despite misogynists’ popular belief).

Not everyone reads every comment in every thread -I know I don’t. So it’s likely that some people are not bothered by your behavior because they didn’t even notice it. I remember I’ve been on that side a while ago with GrumpyOldMan(gina?), and you can also see Catalpa’s comments in this same thread, catching up to what is going on.

If several people, including some of the most active, are going out of their way to tell you you’re acting annoying and please quit it, I would say it’s appropriate to heed them, because people not being bothered does not magically cancel some people being made uncomfortable.

That last comment “it’s only David’s call” has been used in the past by trolls/splainers. I wish one of them could tell you how that went, but they’re not around anymore.

And mind you all, I actually like this Alan.

I think if you would drop the unrequested info on how hateful criminals can legally get away, we would all be more than fine.

All other info you wanna share, legal or otherwise: FINE, COOL, SUPERB as long as it’s not thinly veiled Devil’s advocacy and/or ‘splaining

@Argenti Aertheri

RE: 1st rule of holes

I think the rule is, indeed, in the comments policy.

However, some people think it’s exceedingly “picky” to see an apology as anything else than a magical “sorry” word. There was at least one comment defending Alan’s non-pology.

Could be a really short guide like “1. Acknowledge your actions caused harmed others, acknowledge their feelings and validate them 2. express regret without making excuses 3. Commit to not repeating the harmful behavior -ask for help if necessary”

Per those guidelines, would it be too much to ask for an apology for some of the nasty things aimed at me on the previous page? The fact that it took someone twelve hours to realize I wasn’t even male tells me that nobody even really read my comment, which had more to do with dogpiling than the actual thread in question.

I will stand by what I said, that ganging up on people makes them feel very attacked, and this can especially be damaging to people with anxiety disorders and other social-related triggers. If I were my younger self, having people online tell me I’m a terrible person after being told all day in in real life what a worthless idiot I am, I would probably be shaken enough to do something stupid.

I guess maybe the correct phrase would be “made to feel like a terrible person.”

I will apologize for the “racist scumbag” thing. I didn’t mean to imply that anyone had literally called Alan that, but it seemed like the apology you were looking for was more akin groveling than actually getting him to understand why he had offended anyone. Again, this has little to do with this specific case and more to do with how certain newcomers are treated, so this probably wasn’t the best place to bring it up.

I’m not *trying* to tone police. In my mind, that means saying your argument is invalid because of the tone you adopt, especially if it’s anger you’re not allowed to express on a day-to-day basis. Rather, I think it’s more important to understand that words online have real life consequences, and the anonymity of the internet allows people to say things they would *never* say to a person face-to-face. You never know when that person you tell to “sit down and shut up” has been hearing similar things directed at them all day. I, personally, know teenagers and young kids who have been pushed over the edge to attempt suicide because of cyber bullying, even when the “bullies” in question didn’t see it as bullying. This is a real and dark side of the SJW community, which normally does so much good when advocating for neuro-atypical people but who are usually the ones to suffer most from this treatment.

People make mistakes. People get defensive when they are attacked. Expecting them to immediately thank you for putting them in their place is a tad unreasonable.

Expecting them to immediately thank you for putting them in their place is a tad unreasonable.

Again, no one is expecting this from Alan. In fact, the opportunity of it being “immidiately” was already lost several threads ago, when his behavior was called out.

Not stopping it, and failing to apologize for the harm, is in fact the unreasonable response, from a person who claims to be on the “reasonable” side.

I agree this shouldn’t be the standard behavior for people who make the first mistake, hell, that would be horrible.

But this simply is not the case.

If you want to make a defense of Alan, instead of an abstract defense of hypothetical people who may or may not have problems with what we say, I’d be interested in knowing what your arguments are.

PS: I guess you missed the part when I say I *like* Alan, just not the behavior he’s been displaying.

In fact, I bet you no one around here judges the whole person based on their comments: we usually judge the comments on their own merits (which includes who is saying them and their history or lack of it).

Now, a lot of people perceive being called out as being told they are horrible, but that’s what defensiveness is about.

I think that many of the criticisms of Alan’s dogged insistence going on about the shooters possible legal defence were valid, but I do want to point out on a number of occasions I have seen people asking Alan, or asking for Alan on points of law. This I am sure has led to Alan feeling that his legal expertise has been appreciated and he got a bit carried away on the thread. Considering his personality type this is something that must happen occasionally!

I do think that some prolific regulars can become a bit bullying (in this instance Alan is clearly a strong enough personality to be able to handle it, but not everyone is). I am a regular reader, but tend to only post once one thread, or not at all because of that.

Would I’m really sorry if I inadvertently upset anybody suffice?

I appreciate that sounds like a politicians’ apology but hopefully people know that I didn’t set out to offend anybody.

For the people who chipped in, thank you, but as was pointed out I’m a big boy so unless people start throwing rocks I’m cool. My only concern is I’ve upset people I like, so once again sorry.

To avoid future offence I’ll hang fire on the legal stuff unless specifically asked. Does that work for folks?

Alan: A statement that you understand how you managed the error that caused the inadvertent offense would probably help as well. This would give folks more confidence that it wouldn’t occur again.


And now, my own, personal rant. This thread is about as close to on-topic as I could find in my backscrolling, so…

In Chicago, we’ve had a week of protests following the release of the video showing the shooting of Laquan McDonald. It’s an ugly business; I’m not even going to put the video up here, because it’s that triggering. You can Google it at this point. I am going to describe it, so trigger warnings for blatant police brutality and murder:

The video shows McDonald walking along the road, obviously under the influence of some drug (later identified as PCP). He is carrying a knife, but at the time, he’s just sort of holding it and walking along the road, trying to hedge away from the police vehicles that are pulling up. One cop car pulls up, an officer exits, and with no provocation by McDonald (from several feet away), opens fire in the space of about 6 seconds. He empties his 16-round clip, several of the shots striking McDonald when he’s laying flat on the ground, helpless.

This happened over a year ago. The cop was just indicted for murder, ‘coincidentally’ right after a judge ordered the video released. So that’s bad, but that’s not what has me battling nausea right now.

And the cops who were on the scene filed bogus reports saying McDonald attacked the officer, and ‘accidentally’ deleted a security tape of a nearby Burger King that would’ve shown police interacting with witnesses afterwards (it’s come out that the cops pretty much sent people home without even taking basic statements or getting contact info). But even that isn’t what has me pissed right this second (I’ve ranted before about the cover-up, but I am used to it in this city).

I’ve mentioned that I work for a media company before this. One of my tasks is taking calls from the public. I just got off the phone with a woman who is upset that the Police Superintendent has been fired because of the handling of the case. The following phrases occurred:

“This is a racist firing. He’s being fired because he’s not black.”
“What do these people want?”
“This isn’t a country for white people anymore.”
“We’re a silent majority out here, and we’re watching you.”

I think that gives a general idea of the gist of things. And because it’s not my job to call people racist-ass shitheads, I had to just bite my tongue and let that poison spill out of the damned earpiece. I am… shaking a bit.

“I’m sorry for inadvertently giving offence, and I’ll err more on the treading-on-eggshells side in future” will suffice for me. I don’t have any desire for you to be ritually publically humiliated or anything. I’m more interested in better behaviour in future.

The specific thing I’m pissed with you about relates to your comments about the suppression of the guerrilla phase of the Anglo-Boer war. I’m not a particularly tribal person by and large, but I’m an Afrikaner and you’re an Englishman, and that means that when you use words like “efficient” to describe my great-grandparents being put into concentration camps, I find it difficult not to take great offence.

That sounds very difficult. My sympathies go out to you for that. Hugs, unless you dislike hugs, in which case best wishes.

If it’s any consolation, I think your caller was inadvertently right when she said “this isn’t a country for white people anymore”, meaning “not just for white people any more”. Her racial supremacy is crumbling and she knows it, and her tears are delicious.

EJ: Yes, her ironic correctness was a running theme. She also said, “Thank God I don’t live there anymore.” If I weren’t an atheist, I’d’ve wholeheartedly agreed… And the hugs are always accepted in the spirit in which they are offered. Thanks.

“We’re a silent majority and we’re watching you”…

Great, and there’s another silent majority watching your silent majority watch us. There’s a whole lot of watching going on, and maybe people have been silent about problems for way too long. Treating people the way you want to be treated shouldn’t get to have exclusions, caveats, or conditions.

@ EJ

Unreserved apologies for that. Did I refer to SA? I certainly wasn’t thinking of there. If so profuse apologies. Our experiences in Sub Saharan Africa generally was not our finest hour.

On a semi related note one of my Afrikaner mate’s is always coming out with little bits of folky sayings.

On time I managed to get a Land Rover stuck sideways across a country track. As I was on move 70 of a 300 point turn to try and get unstuck he said “Alan, the horses are waiting”

I paused to digest this latest example of bush wisdom trying to figure out what the metaphor meant. Then I actually looked out of the window and saw that a load of people on horses were indeed waiting to get past.

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