Alleged Gilroy shooter promoted a favorite book of far-right message boards

The alleged shooter behind the Gilroy, CA, mass shooting recommended on Instagram a book and author popular among white supremacists. Before the shooting, the book had been repeatedly recommended by users on message boards on 4chan and 8chan -- sites known for being white nationalist hotspots -- with users saying that it "will gear you up for war,” that it gave them insight into the “enemy,” and that it justified a mass shooting.

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Shooter kills multiple people at California festival

At least three killed at California garlic festival. At least “three people were killed and 12 more were injured in a shooting at a garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif.” on July 28, according to The New York Times, and “a suspect carrying an assault-style rifle was fatally shot by the Gilroy police.” [The New York Times, 7/28/19]

Alleged shooter recommended a book that claims the “white race” is superior to all others

Alleged shooter recommended a white supremacist, misogynistic book. The alleged shooter, who was identified to CBS News and who posted an image of the festival before the shooting, reportedly recommended on Instagram that people read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. [Heavy.com, 7/29/19]

Might Is Right is “widely popular and present among ethnocentric white nationalists.” The book “essentially advocates for social Darwinism, or the idea that members of certain races or ethnicities are inherently better equipped for survival than others,” that “true egalitarianism does not and cannot exist, and that the ‘white race’ is inherently biologically superior to other races,” according to Rolling Stone. [Rolling Stone, 7/29/19]

Users on 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly recommended Might Is Right recently

8chan user: “Have you read any Ragnar Redbeard?” As recently as hours before the shooting on July 28, a user on 8chan’s “/qresearch/” message board, in response to attacks on Jews and religion by other users, asked, “Have you read any Ragnar Redbeard?”

[8chan, 7/28/19]

4chan user: Anyone who thought New Zealand shooter was not justified “need to read (or listen to) ‘Might is Right.’” On March 25, a user on 4chan’s “/pol/” message board urged people who criticized the New Zealand shooter’s actions to read the book.

[4chan, 3/25/19]

8chan user: “Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard has helped shape my mind to be geared for action.” On May 3, a user on 8chan’s “/pol/” message board posted an image of Might Is Right’s book cover and wrote that they “wanted to reference this book” because it “will gear you up for war.”  

[8chan, 5/3/19]

8chan user urged others to “spread” Might Is Right “everywhere,” alongside Mein Kampf. On September 16, a user on 8chan’s “/fascist/” message board urged others to “spread these books out everywhere to kill censorship,” listing Might Is Right alongside Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

[8chan, 9/16/18]

8chan user: “Have a look at ‘Might is Right.’” Discussing book suggestions on 8chan’s “/pol/,” a user responded, “Have a look at 'Might is Right' by Ragnar Redbeard.”

[8chan, 9/1/18]

4chan user: “READ: Might Is Right” to “learn” what the “enemy” has planned. On July 8, a user on 4chan’s “/pol/” wrote:

[4chan, 7/8/19]

4chan user: “You need to read Might is Right” as part of “essential /pol/ reading.” On July 9, in response to a user on 4chan’s “/pol/” asking for “the essential /pol/ reading list,” a user responded, “You need to read Might is Right.”

[4chan, 7/9/19]

4chan user: Some of the “points” in Might Is Right “are hard to rebut.” On July 17, a user on 4chan’s “/pol/” asked if anyone had read the book, writing they “don't really agree with all his points but some of them are hard to rebut,” adding that a PDF of the book “is easy to find online.”

[4chan, 7/17/19]