The Denver gunman’s links to far-right figures on social media highlight key role of misogyny in violence

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The killer, a 47-year-old white man named Lyndon McLeod, shot dead five people, all apparently targeted, at various locations in the Denver area during an hour-long session on Monday. Her prolific writings on social media and elsewhere were mostly expressions of contempt for women and communities of color, as well as the desire to inflict violence on them.

These included a series of three books he had written, titled Sanction, which featured a protagonist named after him, who stalks and murders people, some in their homes, just like he has done this week. The books even identify potential victims by name.

Like The daily beast reports, McLeod’s multiple Twitter and Instagram accounts used the pseudonym Roman McClay, the same pseudonym he wrote under. Sanction. He has posted on these accounts frequently, still promoting the same far-right and white supremacist ideology embedded in his novels.

“This is basically the plot of my stupid book,” he wrote in April 2020. “Our whole society is made up of little shit whores who curse badass and get away with it because the forces order and social norms protect the WEAK from the STRONG. I moved on. “

“The weak had better get attached … shit is about to get real,” he added.

Like many “red pill” mass killers, he was also a staunch participant in the “manosphere”, and had become something of a known figure in those circles. He had been interviewed about his books on Start the world podcast, hosted by white nationalist figure Jack Donovan, who has experience in organizing the cult of white power, which has now disappeared Wolves of Vinland. McLeod said he was “a big fan” de Donovan, and described his appearance on the podcast: “We discussed the myth, the masculinity, and the role of the artist or shaman in the tribe.”

He also frequently exchanged tweets with Cernovich, with whom he was a common follower on Twitter. McLeod even promoted Cernovich’s business on Twitter. Cernovich has yet to publish a single word about the Denver rampage.

Another McLeod mutual on Twitter was right-wing organizer Jeff Giesea, longtime partner of financier Peter Thiel and funder of various far-right causes. Gieseus played a key role in building Donald Trump’s alternative right-wing army in 2016, and helped Thiel is having a dinner during which he met some of the country’s most infamous right-wing white nationalists.

McLeod also posted regularly in response to tweets from Claremont Institute Fellow Jack Murphy, another figure in the “manosphere” best known for writing that “feminists need rape.” Although McLeod was apparently a member of Murphy’s “Liminal Order” groupMurphy on Monday locked his account to prevent the public from digging into the trade.

Another notable figure of white nationalism, Jack posobiec, also promoted McLeod’s books, ask his supporters at one point: “Should Poso read Sanction? “

A reader named John McNally replied, “Yes, that’s enough read @JackPosobiec but my friend @mcclay_roman has a great wit and an exciting way of writing. Shades of Dostoyevsky. It is a necessary glimpse of a possible American future. McLeod responded to both with a handshake emoji.

McLeod was also an active “answering machine” in several right-wing accounts he followed avidly, including pseudo-journalist Andy Ngo, a white nationalist Richard spencer, and right-wing scholar Glenn Beck. He also appeared as a guest on transphobic rapper Zuby’s podcast.

Its threats of violence extended beyond its primary targets – its enemies in the tattoo industry, women, “antifa” and various marginalized communities – to sometimes even include rival far-right extremists. At one point he threatened with beheading the wife and children of such a rival; Twitter has never suspended its account for this.

Unsurprisingly, other far-right extremists immediately got to work praising McLeod, especially on Telegram and other platforms where racist bigotry is widely tolerated. A meme appeared on Telegram congratulating him: “Hail Lyndon McLeod.” His text read: “5 dead Antifa, what a shining example of a [righteous] Aryan, I hope others will find inspiration from him.

Misogyny has always been a central part of fascist politics, and the manosphere has therefore long played a key role in organizing some of the most vicious violence that has emanated from the extremist right in the past decade. The trend appeared to escalate into an even more toxic phase over the past two years, fueled in part by the increase in the public’s time spent online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. An MIT study published last year revealed that there appeared to be a serious spike in interest in so-called “incel” (“involuntary bachelor”) groups that promote a nihilistic view of society.

As Helen Lewis explained in Atlantic in 2019, the realm of online misogynists is in many ways the beating heart of the radical right, as they generate many of the core ideas of white nationalism and other extremist belief systems, including the belief that ‘feminization’ destroys western civilization and that women need to be submissive to men in order to create a strong society. They also all promote the idea that the world can only be saved by strong men committing acts of violence.

White nationalist concepts such as “replacement theory” are all grounded in this worldview, as Lewis notes:

In all of these strands of replacement theory, control over white women’s sexuality and reproduction is vital. Women’s sexual and reproductive freedom is seen as a threat to civilization itself. So it’s no surprise that anti-feminism is a gateway to the far right online. “Misogyny is primarily used as a primary mechanism for raising awareness,” Ashley Mattheis, a University of North Carolina researcher who studies the extreme right online, told me. “You were owed something, or your life should have been X, but because of the ridiculous things feminists do, you can’t access it.”

It’s the same theory we heard Tucker Carlson promote on Fox News, all against the backdrop of the popular Right’s claim that the Liberals and the Left seek to replace white men with women of color. Carlson, of course, gives it the imprimatur of general public approval. But it does reflect the intense hold that violent hatreds have in all corners of their politics, which inevitably manifests in the terrorist acts of men like Lyndon McLeod.



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