35 votes

‘I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth’: A self-proclaimed white nationalist planned a mass terrorist attack, the government says

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35 comments

  1. Deimos (edited ) Link
    This thread is pretty wildly off-topic now, and has just turned mostly into a debate about one person's comment that even they don't seem to want to continue. I wish I had a better tool to address...
    • Exemplary

    This thread is pretty wildly off-topic now, and has just turned mostly into a debate about one person's comment that even they don't seem to want to continue. I wish I had a better tool to address this somehow, but at this point about my only option is to lock the thread (or remove everything, but that's even worse).

    I'd like to remind people to try to keep the principle of charity in mind. Discussions always go better if we don't treat the other participants as our enemies who we have to "beat". That mindset just leads to (heated) arguments, instead of conversations.

    15 votes
  2. [34]
    ThatFanficGuy Link
    It sounds like he's using white nationalism and neo-Nazism to further his desire to cause chaos and kill people. Hate to say it, but neo-Nazism is better than this, if by a small margin: at least...

    It sounds like he's using white nationalism and neo-Nazism to further his desire to cause chaos and kill people.

    Hate to say it, but neo-Nazism is better than this, if by a small margin: at least its followers have an ideology.

    3 votes
    1. [22]
      dubteedub Link Parent
      Im sorry but what the hell? What lofty ideology do you think neo nazis have? This guy studied the white supremacist terrorist Andre Brevik's manifesto and sought to replicate his actions on a...
      • Exemplary x4

      Im sorry but what the hell? What lofty ideology do you think neo nazis have?

      This guy studied the white supremacist terrorist Andre Brevik's manifesto and sought to replicate his actions on a broader scale. He also explicitly stated that his end goals of his white nationalist terrorism was to create a "white homeland." Among his targets were minority politicians and journalists.

      It is kind of vaffling to me that you would attempt to downplay this, particularly in light of the plethora of other whote supremacist terrorists who have enacted mass violence in the US in recent years.

      The Charleston neo nazi who shot up a black church.

      The MAGA bomber.

      The Philadelphia synagogue shooter.

      The Annapolis newspaper shooter.

      Not to mention the Charlotesville neo nazi rally, torchlit march, and murder of Heather Heyer.

      This is a serious issue and we need to understand that the actions of Trump and his cohorts are emboldening far right terrorism im ths country.

      It does us no service to downplay that.


      If you want to read more about this guy, here is the detention memo that lays out his nazi writing and target list.

      https://t.co/iAtw7ORTWm?amp=1

      20 votes
      1. [21]
        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
        I'd rather keep this reply polite and understanding, but this is beyond me right now. What I'm gonna say, I'm gonna say not out of lacking respect for you, but out of the displeasure at...
        • Exemplary x3

        I'd rather keep this reply polite and understanding, but this is beyond me right now. What I'm gonna say, I'm gonna say not out of lacking respect for you, but out of the displeasure at misrepresentation of my comment. Nevertheless, you took my comment and used it as a vent for some sort of perceived frustration, which I have little respect for.

        So.

        Your thinking I said something does not equate me saying something. I don't hold the opinion I'd expressed strongly, but I would stand by my words simply because they're mine. Had you asked me whether I truly support neo-Nazism in any way, I would have replied – but you didn't, so I don't see the need to, either.

        The fact that, amidst such a contentious topic, you chose to chastise me over what you think you see in my words instead of asking whether that idea was what I wanted to express, belittles the conversation and both of us. It reduces the conversation into a messy, emotional fight of weakly-held points, and it is something I wish to be no part of. I expect more from you simply because you are a member of this community; because I have faith in the ideal this place has been built upon.

        Plainly put: next time, instead of assuming I'm an asshole, ask me and see if my reply implies as much.

        29 votes
        1. [7]
          Gaywallet Link Parent
          With so little text to work with, people tend to jump to conclusions. Have you considered that a longer initial response so that others do not misinterpret (or at least are less likely to...

          the displeasure at misrepresentation of my comment.

          With so little text to work with, people tend to jump to conclusions. Have you considered that a longer initial response so that others do not misinterpret (or at least are less likely to misinterpret) your reply might be a good solution to the issue of poor communication quality due to the limited nature of text?

          16 votes
          1. [3]
            Pilgrim Link Parent
            As someone who's been on both sides of this situation, I agree with @Gaywallet that a longer, more expository comment is going to be less susceptible to the hyper-outrage response.

            As someone who's been on both sides of this situation, I agree with @Gaywallet that a longer, more expository comment is going to be less susceptible to the hyper-outrage response.

            11 votes
            1. [2]
              Kielyr Link Parent
              On one hand, yes. On the other hand, why is that we can't take comments at face value anymore? Must we always try to find hidden second meanings in them (I'm referring to the general internet...

              On one hand, yes.

              On the other hand, why is that we can't take comments at face value anymore? Must we always try to find hidden second meanings in them (I'm referring to the general internet culture, not this particular case, in which I disagree with both parties)?


              Basically, I'm saying: We should strive to make our statements as clear as possible. But we should also try not to jump to conclussions so easily. Which is why I believe both parties here are at fault, not that I want to get into an argument with either.

              9 votes
              1. Pilgrim Link Parent
                Totally agree. I don't think myself or @gaywallet were trying to fault one side over the other. OP already did a good job of explaining to the top commentator why they shouldn't assume bad faith....

                Which is why I believe both parties here are at fault, not that I want to get into an argument with neither.

                Totally agree. I don't think myself or @gaywallet were trying to fault one side over the other. OP already did a good job of explaining to the top commentator why they shouldn't assume bad faith. I think @gaywallet was just offering some practical advice that I think would be well-taken by OP.

                4 votes
          2. [2]
            ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            I have. My conclusion was: it's not my responsibility to account for every possible misinterpretation whenever I say what I say. I will gladly address any that'd been voiced. Mind-reading is a...

            Have you considered that a longer initial response so that others do not misinterpret (or at least are less likely to misinterpret) your reply might be a good solution to the issue of poor communication quality due to the limited nature of text?

            I have. My conclusion was: it's not my responsibility to account for every possible misinterpretation whenever I say what I say. I will gladly address any that'd been voiced. Mind-reading is a foul practice, and I'm not going to engage with it any more than I have in my lifetime.

            You're right: text communication is painfully-limited – and I agree: clearer communication is preferable. I've argued about the same before, over the distinction between a vote and saying "thanks" in comment form. However, I consider the bending-over-backwards dance that is making sure everyone is clear about where everyone stands to be demeaning to the whole conversation.

            The responsibility for the clarity of communication lies on all parties involved, not on the first voice alone. If you have issues with what I said – voice them, just like you have in your comment. If you have counterpoints – make them, just like you have.

            Human communication is never perfect. To weed out the bullshit is on all of us.

            7 votes
            1. Pilgrim Link Parent
              I'd say that your initial comment was written in such a way as to be open to wide interpretation, whether intentional or not. While others need to assume good faith, I think it's fair to point out...

              I'd say that your initial comment was written in such a way as to be open to wide interpretation, whether intentional or not. While others need to assume good faith, I think it's fair to point out that the comment could have been written to more clearly convey your intended message.

              Your point about people jumping the gun, assuming bad faith, and reacting with vitriol is well-taken and on point. There is a culture of "outrage" on the web that needs to end.

              However, there is also a game afoot among bad-faith actors to post inflammatory comments (here and elsewhere) that are intended to be "misinterpreted." That person then back tracks and declares bad-faith on those who reacted negatively. If we acknowledge that this is a tactic used to divide us and work together to communicate clearly then we can have a much more productive conversation.

              8 votes
          3. Kielyr Link Parent
            Yes, and this is a problem on its own.

            With so little text to work with, people tend to jump to conclusions.

            Yes, and this is a problem on its own.

            3 votes
        2. Diet_Coke (edited ) Link Parent
          Just saying, if you had taken the time on your first post that you did on this one, the 'misunderstanding' may not have happened. Objectively it reads like a weak 'no true Scotsman' statement and...

          Just saying, if you had taken the time on your first post that you did on this one, the 'misunderstanding' may not have happened. Objectively it reads like a weak 'no true Scotsman' statement and potentially an attempt to distance this guy from the ideology he espouses. A certain tone deafness regarding race or racial ideologies is not entirely unheard of here.

          9 votes
        3. 45930 Link Parent
          What exactly did you mean by "neo-Nazism is better than this"? If you have the time to expand on that? Do you mean that people that want to eliminate only certain kinds of people are better than...

          What exactly did you mean by "neo-Nazism is better than this"? If you have the time to expand on that? Do you mean that people that want to eliminate only certain kinds of people are better than people that want to eliminate people indiscriminately?

          6 votes
        4. [12]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [9]
            Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
            Reddit and Facebook and co have trained people to behave like this through years and years of carrying on discussions on platforms that weren't build to safeguard the integrity of the...

            Reddit and Facebook and co have trained people to behave like this through years and years of carrying on discussions on platforms that weren't build to safeguard the integrity of the conversation. It has to be unlearned which is hard, and takes time. I've seen a couple of people here do it, though. I'd like to find a way to facilitate it someday, and do something to help people apply more charitable interpretations.

            Edit: The rest of this thread is meta as fuck and huge, so if y'all wouldn't mind hitting Koan and I with your offtopic labels so it auto-collapses and stops derailing the news discussion, I'd appreciate it. ;)

            9 votes
            1. [9]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [8]
                Amarok Link Parent
                Smells like an opportunity for a feature of some kind to deal with it, or at least take some of the pain out of it. I think what's missing out there is some kind of general-user-feedback mechanism...

                Smells like an opportunity for a feature of some kind to deal with it, or at least take some of the pain out of it.

                I think what's missing out there is some kind of general-user-feedback mechanism for people to use that provides cues to each user when they are crossing a line of some kind. Right now that feedback has to come from comments or PMs where people tell someone about it.

                I'd like users to be able to see something like, "You've been raising a lot of eyebrows lately." Nothing offensive, nothing specific, just a general tone-thing. I don't know the shape of this, just that many-to-one user feedback like this is the only way I can think of to get started on this problem.

                2 votes
                1. [8]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. [7]
                    Kielyr Link Parent
                    I think that's part of the point of Tildes' system. You can't just label their reply and move on with life. You have to explain to them how they misunderstood.

                    because it could very well become a downvote button, but there are times when I read comments and think, "yeah, this person didn't understand what they were replying to at all."

                    I think that's part of the point of Tildes' system. You can't just label their reply and move on with life. You have to explain to them how they misunderstood.

                    3 votes
                    1. alyaza Link Parent
                      see, i think this is a good point, but at least to me it does feel like there should be something like a "misunderstanding" label between the joke label and the noise and malice labels....

                      I think that's part of the point of Tildes' system. You can't just label their reply and move on with life. You have to explain to them how they misunderstood.

                      see, i think this is a good point, but at least to me it does feel like there should be something like a "misunderstanding" label between the joke label and the noise and malice labels. frustratingly, i can't really explain what that would be, though, and i can also see a few things that would make a "misunderstanding" type label possibly a difficult thing to implement (like how some people will probably use it to take passive-aggressive, largely invisible snipes at people). maybe this feeling is just a byproduct having already been able to boil down certain abstract ideas to easily usable comment labels, such that it seems like we should be able to do so with other things? i dunno.

                      2 votes
                    2. [6]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. [3]
                        Amarok Link Parent
                        I think people want to vote accurately - and by that, I don't mean in some objective sense of the word measured by an external standard. I mean subjective, based on how that particular comment or...

                        I think people want to vote accurately - and by that, I don't mean in some objective sense of the word measured by an external standard. I mean subjective, based on how that particular comment or submission makes them feel.

                        When you just have up and down, all you can get out of that is if it makes someone feel positive or negative. This isn't particularly useful information.

                        Our labels are 'exemplary' (a vote multiplier and highlighter), 'offtopic' and 'noise' and 'joke' (vote penalties and auto-collapsers), and 'malice' - which is basically a PM to the admin at present, but will someday be a 'red flag alert' to moderator types. That's a fairly basic set. Are there other reasons to vote that these don't cover? Of course there are.

                        A 'tone' warning for example could be shown in orange next to malice. This could, if someone gets enough of them over a time period, be used to send that 'you're raising eyebrows' warning. That'll cause some people to double down on the douchebaggery, but it'll also cause others to reflect and improve.

                        Sometimes I feel like we need a 'pedant' tag for people who get fixated on single sentences rather than the general message. :P

                        The tags we have now were never meant to be anything more than a very rough test of these ideas. It's nowhere near a final form. Deimos likes to experiment, too - once we have something approaching a concrete test for a worthwhile idea.

                        4 votes
                        1. [3]
                          Comment deleted by author
                          Link Parent
                          1. Amarok Link Parent
                            The only real limit is page space. We're at a two-click system right now, and I don't think going beyond two clicks is wise. The more 'effort' it takes the fewer people will use it. We don't want...

                            The only real limit is page space. We're at a two-click system right now, and I don't think going beyond two clicks is wise. The more 'effort' it takes the fewer people will use it. We don't want to click 'label' and have a matrix of 25 items pop out either, or dropdowns or any of that. Too confusing, eventually you're in paradox-of-choice territory.

                            I think the rainbow color effect is really helping. The spectrum instantly gets the idea across that good ones are on the left, bad ones are on the right. Perhaps we should do a thread and ask people what kinds of labels they can dream up - not just aimed at this problem, but in general. Rabid brainstorming. When the dust settles I expect we might gain more insight into how to do this right.

                            4 votes
                          2. Kielyr Link Parent
                            To me, those read like very aggressive moves that will turn toxic in no time and make the whole site more toxic, argumentative and hostile.

                            They're such a waste of time. And when you determine the person you're communicating with just isn't reading you right, it might be helpful to label them as such and move on. Helpful to the appropriate party. "Pedant" ... "this has devolved into pedantry, and I'm out." It might be helpful to people in/following the comment chain.

                            To me, those read like very aggressive moves that will turn toxic in no time and make the whole site more toxic, argumentative and hostile.

                            1 vote
                      2. [2]
                        balooga Link Parent
                        I think a "misunderstanding" label would be abused in the same way "exemplary" is. It would be a de facto downvote.

                        I think a "misunderstanding" label would be abused in the same way "exemplary" is. It would be a de facto downvote.

                        3 votes
                        1. Amarok Link Parent
                          I think they'll only be abused (or at least, abused heavily and universally) when they are being used as proxies for some other label that doesn't exist yet. The downvote gets abused on reddit...

                          I think they'll only be abused (or at least, abused heavily and universally) when they are being used as proxies for some other label that doesn't exist yet.

                          The downvote gets abused on reddit because it's the only way to express distaste there. The reason isn't even relevant - it's a bucket for all the negative reasons, just like upvote is a bucket for all the positive ones.

                          Malice is being abused already in a lot of cases. That tag is meant to be for serious infractions where you legitimately think the op is doing something bad intentionally. Not accidentally, not because it triggered some pet peeve you have that most other people don't have. Right now Deimos is quietly absorbing the load that generates, and I'm sure he's thinking about ways to handle malice better just like we are.

                          I have a feeling if we have a soft-malice tag (a tone warning or something like that) then people will stop using malice for that purpose. They won't do this because we tell them to, or because it's the culture or accepted behavior. They'll simply do it because when they look at the labels, people are going to pick the most appropriate one in that snap decision.

                          So I think when we see labels being abused, that's a cue that we're missing some other label, that there's some other effect we're not providing a proper outlet for it's expression.

                          This is separate from the bandwagon effect, though. Exemplary is definitely harnessing the bandwagon effect because others can see it. Don't we want to do that with any feel-good systems we come up with? Don't we want to encourage their use? The visibility does that.

                          I know reddit gold, quality-wise, has become a bit of a joke - but how many internet slap fights does the use of reddit gold trigger? I'm asking honestly since I spend most of my time in music subs, the most un-guilded places on reddit. No, really.

                          I think it's quite reasonable to assume that Exemplary as-is will play out a lot like reddit gold based on having identical highlighting effects. Has anyone seen these highlighting effects snowball into real trouble in any of the subreddits over there? I'm genuinely asking. I haven't been paying attention to that so I genuinely don't know if it has.

                          1 vote
          2. Kielyr Link Parent
            I don't think so. I think it's just a cultural movement that's becoming more popular. I was recently recommended a podcast about the lives of past authoritarian leaders. I thought I'd give it a...

            I think people just like to be outraged because of other problems in their life. I understand it... but man, I'm so exhausted with it.

            I don't think so. I think it's just a cultural movement that's becoming more popular.

            I was recently recommended a podcast about the lives of past authoritarian leaders. I thought I'd give it a try since I like to play informative things in the background while I do chores and learn something useful while I'm at it.

            But after a few episodes I was getting very annoyed at it. Since a quarter of the episode or even half of it was the hosts commenting on how bad x or y thing was. They couldn't state facts without judging them as right or wrong. I know killing 15 million people is bad, same as neglecting your kids and dating underage girls, you don't need to tell me every second how bad each of these things and continuously repeat yourself in the process. I also feel like the invitees were sort of the people that want everything always 100% politically correct and would often shift the blame on “us” the listeners and imply we were somehow complicit of the crimes these people did even before we were even born, or at least that was the feeling I got out of it. Very judgy. They were also very quick into ascribing their crimes to certain psychological disorders.

            You can see the same attitude on Reddit all the time.

            4 votes
          3. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            Reddit is egregious about this. Compared to it, my stay here has been a resort full of reasonable, respectful, benevolent people seeking either a productive discussion, or disabusing someone of...

            Reddit is egregious about this.

            Compared to it, my stay here has been a resort full of reasonable, respectful, benevolent people seeking either a productive discussion, or disabusing someone of their ignorance.

            I'd rather not have one bad case spoil the whole process.

            1 vote
    2. babypuncher Link Parent
      Honestly, that's what makes genuine neo-Nazism worse. This guy can probably be written off as being mentally ill. He's an abberation, not an indication of a deeper societal problem. Actual white...

      Hate to say it, but neo-Nazism is better than this, if by a small margin: at least its followers have an ideology.

      Honestly, that's what makes genuine neo-Nazism worse. This guy can probably be written off as being mentally ill. He's an abberation, not an indication of a deeper societal problem. Actual white nationalist movements are driven by beliefs and rhetoric that actually sucks people in, and makes otherwise sane people say and do terrible things. Having any ideology isn't automatically better than having no ideology.

      8 votes
    3. [5]
      no_exit Link Parent
      ....an ideology the dude explicitly claims as his own, no?

      at least its followers have an ideology.

      ....an ideology the dude explicitly claims as his own, no?

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
        What strikes me as odd in this case is how the intentions of the person don't seem to align specifically with the white-nationalist ideology. There's overlap, but the main reasoning behind it...

        What strikes me as odd in this case is how the intentions of the person don't seem to align specifically with the white-nationalist ideology. There's overlap, but the main reasoning behind it seems to be centered around Trump and his pseudo-"America first" stance.

        Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying the guy is lying, per se. I have my doubts about his true allegiance, however, because I've seen cases of people with unsettled minds trying to garner some sort of twisted acceptance by using more-common causes for their uncommon, hedious crimes. I'm no expert, but this strikes me as one such case: a lost mind trying to find some sort of reason about the world, and white nationalism is what comes up the closest.

        1 vote
        1. clerical_terrors Link Parent
          This fits entirely within the purview of white nationalism/supremacy. The creation of a white ethnostate is the end goal, the reassertion of a perceived loss in national sovereignty and primacy of...

          There's overlap, but the main reasoning behind it seems to be centered around Trump and his pseudo-"America first" stance.

          This fits entirely within the purview of white nationalism/supremacy. The creation of a white ethnostate is the end goal, the reassertion of a perceived loss in national sovereignty and primacy of the "native" population is often the first step.

          I'm no expert, but this strikes me as one such case: a lost mind trying to find some sort of reason about the world, and white nationalism is what comes up the closest.

          You're not wrong, that's how a lot of people come into contact with fascist ideologies. But more often than not they do become fully immersed in it, white nationalism isn't a convenient badge a lot of mentally troubled people happen to wear for convenience. Many people, this man included, fully believe in it's premises and courses of action.

          7 votes
        2. [2]
          no_exit Link Parent
          That is also white nationalism.

          the main reasoning behind it seems to be centered around Trump and his pseudo-"America first" stance.

          That is also white nationalism.

          3 votes
          1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
            It has traits of white nationalism, but is not white nationalism by itself.

            It has traits of white nationalism, but is not white nationalism by itself.

            1 vote
    4. [3]
      deing Link Parent
      I'd like to ask for clarification here, because this reads like a pretty hot take to me TBH. From my perspective your comment is really difficult to … charitably interpret, if you will: You seem...

      I'd like to ask for clarification here, because this reads like a pretty hot take to me TBH.

      From my perspective your comment is really difficult to … charitably interpret, if you will: You seem to claim he is abusing white nationalism for violence, while there is no feasible way a white nationalist could pursue his ideology without violence. How is he supposed to reach his self-admitted goals without it? He wasn't just randomly targeting people to kill, to quote the article:

      [T]he government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”

      Hasson developed a spreadsheet of targets that included top Democratic congressional leaders and media personalities. The list includes “JOEY,” what prosecutors say is a reference to former congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), now of MSNBC; “cortez,” an alleged reference to freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.); and “Sen blumen jew,” presumably about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

      Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland outlined […] in court documents a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views.

      “I was and am a man of action you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence.”

      This doesn't read like mindless violence for the sake of chaos to me, but rather strategic, while delusional, plans of an ideologue.

      Since this obviously isn't what you mean (since it's completely in contradiction to the facts as outlined in the article), what did you mean to express with your comment?

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
        Thank you for asking politely. I'll be brief, because that one comment has raised an amount of waves I no longer wish to swim against. I never said it was mindless, his violence: only that it has...

        Thank you for asking politely.

        I'll be brief, because that one comment has raised an amount of waves I no longer wish to swim against.

        I never said it was mindless, his violence: only that it has a different locus. White nationalism, to me, seemed merely a cover for his actions – a cover that he uses to hide his much more ulterior, much more personal motives. I think the distinction is important in assigning responsibility, if only for the sake of clarity. I'm saying that it wasn't some scary ideology: it was one man's cruel, painful vision of the world where his twisted mind feels at rest.

        Maybe I'm wrong here: like I said, I am no expert.

        Basically:

        You seem to claim he is abusing white nationalism for violence, while there is no feasible way a white nationalist could pursue his ideology without violence

        To the part before the comma – yes, it seems so to me; to the part after the comma – no, I don't assert that.

        2 votes
        1. deing Link Parent
          Thank you for replying in kind. That assertion is mine — although not exclusive to me by far —, I should have specified that. Still, I believe that considering his targets, inspirations (Breivik...

          Thank you for replying in kind.

          That assertion is mine — although not exclusive to me by far —, I should have specified that. Still, I believe that considering his targets, inspirations (Breivik Anders etc.) and own statements, his "cruel, painful vision of the world" can be accurately described as a form of white nationalism.

          1 vote
    5. [2]
      WinterCharm Link Parent
      Yeah, the problem is, when an organization starts making its target demographic for recruitment every deranged hateful person on earth, they're going to see this in increasing numbers. At some...

      Yeah, the problem is, when an organization starts making its target demographic for recruitment every deranged hateful person on earth, they're going to see this in increasing numbers.

      At some point this will be the majority party in the neo-Nazi camp. It's the breeding ground for something very ugly.

      1 vote
      1. babypuncher Link Parent
        Nazism is and always has been the domain of deranged hateful people. Why are people trying to act like there are "rational" ones, as if attempting to exterminate all Jewish people on the planet...

        Nazism is and always has been the domain of deranged hateful people. Why are people trying to act like there are "rational" ones, as if attempting to exterminate all Jewish people on the planet isn't outright morally repugnant?

        8 votes