The information, data and findings from the below brief was collected by and sourced from TRAC: Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, in partnership with the Mackenzie Institute. Please click here to visit TRAC.
Active Shooter Kills 11 at Pittsburgh Synagogue, Infamous Neo Nazi “Grandpa Lampshade” and Others Call for More Violence Against Jews
Active Shooter Kills 11 During Shabbat at The Tree of Life Congregation (Synagogue) in Squirrel Hill Neighbourhood, Pittsburgh (27 October, 2018)
Robert Bowers’ defence attorneys have filed a plea of not guilty to the 44 federal charges pressed against him, and has requested a jury trial.
On 27 October 2018, at approximately 09:45 a.m. EDT, Bowers entered the third floor of The Tree of Life Congregation in a Squirrel Hill neighbourhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killing 11 people and injuring dozens more including four police officers.
Police at the scene recounted that he wore a heavy jacket and was armed with an AR-15 and three handguns. He began shooting into the Shabbat, shouting “All these Jews need to die.” According to police, 911 calls were received from several of those trapped inside during the event. When police arrived on the scene a standoff ensued, and the assailant shot and wounded at least four police officers.
A past president at the conservative Tree of Life Congregation stated that on Saturday morning there were three services happening in tandem, “In the main part of the building, The Tree of Life has a service that has about 40 people in it. Just below that there is a basement area where New Life congregation would have been having their Shabbat service. There would have been 30-40 people. Just adjacent to Tree of Light’s service area, a congregation was in the rabbi study room and they would have had approximately 15 people in there.”
The incident comes at a time when tensions are running high in the United States. Earlier in the week, a white male attempted to attack a black Christian congregation before killing two people at a Kroger Grocery Store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. On Friday, the serial IED bomber who targeted US Democratic politicians, the actor Robert De Niro, and CNN by a suspect characterized as a strident supporter of President Trump was apprehended.
A search of Mr. Bowers’ residence revealed he owned another 21 firearms.
Robert Bowers’ account on Gab openly espouses his anti-Semitic views, with such sentiments such as “Jews are the children of Satan.” His last message was a threat to HIAS (a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees), “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Gab is often the place where the fringe right and Neo-Nazis congregate online to circulate popular conspiracy theories. The serial bomber, Cesar Altier Sayoc, thought that Israel, and more specifically Jews, are secretly behind all the world’s troubles. The massacre at the Tree of Life Congregation suggests that the United States might be in store for more stochastic terrorism.
The term stochastic terrorism is defined as “using language and other forms of communication to incite random acts of violence that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”
Infamous & Influential Neo Nazi “Grandpa LampShade” and Others Call for More Violence Against Jewish Community “Shooting Jews Every Week” in the United States (30 October, 2018)
The 27 October attack on The Tree of Life Synagogue inspired many other Neo-Nazi extremists in Robert Bowers’ social network to call for more attacks, hoping that the continued violence will push their political agenda. TRAC assesses that the incident has acted as a catalyst for more attacks to come. Even with the Gab platform taken off-line for now, the United States is at great risk for more cases of stochastic terrorism.
MESSAGES ON 4CHAN
4chan is a social media platform infamous for attracting extremists to congregate to develop their conspiracies and expand their networks. The triple parentheses represent the echo chamber that they insist Jewish people and controlled media live in.
Screenshot: 28 October 2018 an anonymous poster from the website 4chan.
WHO IS GRANDPA LAMPSHADE?
Grandpa Lampshade is a known contributor to the popular Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer and also a podcast host for Radio Aryan. His name “Lampshade” is in reference to the rumor that the Nazis made lampshades out of concentration camp inmates’ skin during the Second World War. Grandpa Lampshade speaks with a southern accent and is thought to be located in Dallas, Texas. Known for his extreme anti-Semitic viewpoint, Grandpa Lampshade is also a 9/11 truther, believing that the Jews, specifically Israel and Mossad, were secretly behind the September 11, 2001 attacks. Grandpa Lampshade frequently praises extremist violence in his blog writings and podcasts, such as James Fields, the man who plowed his Dodge Charger into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
Grandpa Lampshade’s archived postings from October 2016 paint a picture of a man dedicated to circulating Nazi propaganda and recruitment of young people he describes as Jugen (German for “youth,” made famous by the Nazis). The central thrust of Grandpa Lampshade’s posts is that racially loyal Whites need to resist ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government, or the idea that Jews control everything). Grandpa Lampshade uses the popular avatar “Pepe the Frog” or “Groyper,”a frog character frequently used by Neo-Nazis across the Internet, especially on 4chan.
It is a mistake to dismiss the Pepe the Frog character as silly because of its cartoon appearance. The people who adopt Pepe the Frog as a part of their messaging are some of the most willing followers to act out their hate speech and bring their ideas of violence from the virtual world to the actual world. The character serves not only as a code for being of the same opinion but also to pose as parody or satire so they can hide in plain sight. This frog character and technique of hiding and spinning their agenda as satire has helped recruit many young, troubled men across the globe, including Matthew Riehl, who ambushed and opened fire on police, killing a deputy on New Year’s Eve 2017. TRAC has documented Reihl’s, as well as hundreds of others, who threaten violence by using the Pepe the Frog character. In June 2018 the Daily Stormer was threatened with legal action from the creator of Pepe the Frog and removed all of its references from their website.
On Gab, a recently shut down social media network that has been riddled with extremists who have been calling daily for death to minorities, a user posted a blog written by Grandpa Lampshade calling for continued attacks against Jewish targets. Soon after the shooting at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, he posted a blog which was shared across various social media platforms and has since been taken down by the host WordPress. TRAC was able to archive his WordPress posting before it was taken down.
The document below, authored by Grandpa Lampshade, begins by explaining that the taking down of the Gab social media platform is a shame because Gab could have inspired “red-pilled millions.” It then subsequently back tracks and concludes that the ban on Gab is actually a good thing for the cause because it will paint the Jewish people in a negative light by implying they don’t support the American ideal of Free Speech and First Amendment rights. The rant advocates for the mass killing of Jews on a weekly basis in order to provoke other people into joining their cause. Grandpa Lampshade denies that the electoral process can resolve the issue of Jews controlling the world, but rather they should learn from the IRA to provoke extreme counter-measures to swing more popular support behind their cause.
TRAC Editorial Note: The reference of “The Red Pill” is from the popular movie “The Matrix” where the main character is offered a choice between: Knowledge, freedom, uncertainty and the brutal truths of reality (red pill) and Security, happiness, beauty, and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill). It also has become a connotation for red/blue politics. Although going this extreme, as Grandpa Lampshade does, actually calling for death to your opponents takes it past “red pilling” and has become known as “black pilling.”
GRANDPA LAMPSHADE’S SOCIAL MEDIA HISTORY:
Above: Grandpa Lampshade’s archived postings from October 2016, which show his Nazi propaganda and recruitment of “Jugend.” Grandpa Lampshade uses the popular avatar “Pepe the Frog” or “Groyper,” as aforementioned. Also shown is his avatar from his podcast showing the Black Sun (Sonnengrad).
Above: Screenshot of YouTube Video showing political motives and ZOG (Zion Occupied Government). In the quote below the user states “Grandpa discusses the shame that is liberal democracy.”
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The above has been compiled by Alexander Sawicki, an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of History at Ryerson University, specializing in the interplay between technological innovation, warfare, and social change throughout history. He was formerly a Research Analyst for the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC), where he published articles that dealt with Cybersecurity, US-Russia relations, and Canadian Military Procurement. You can find Alexander on LinkedIn.