The terrorist behind the deadly mass shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California praised a 19th-century white supremacist book before killing 3 (including a six-year-old boy) and wounding 12.

Breaking news site Heavy reported that the gunman — who reportedly used an assault rifle to carry out the murders before eventually being killed by police — had an Instagram account with just three posts before it was taken down. Screenshots from the man’s Instagram show that he took a photo of the Gilroy Garlic Festival before opening fire on attendees, that he was angry about “mestizos” (considered a white supremacist term for Mexicans), and that he was a fan of the book Might Is Right, by pseudonym Ragnar Redbeard.

One of the responses to a tweet identifying the Gilroy gunman and drawing attention to his praise for the book found a review of the book on a white supremacist website, which called it “an immutable non negotiable fact of existence.” The book itself speaks favorably about genocide of Indigenous peoples by European colonists, and views the ethnic cleansing campaigns by European peoples in a Darwinian fashion.

“To apologize for the sharpness of your claws, for your ability to do violence, for your ability to conquer, is to apologize for success and victory,” the review read. “It is the rancid grotesque denial of life’s essential nature… A device developed by your enemies to control you. To make whites feel bad conscience over their own success or the success of their ancestors.”

One-star reviews of Might Is Right on Amazon say the book is “designed to give white supremacists moral standing to commit genocide” and described it as “an essential piece of hate literature for the White Power/Nazi movement.”

“Read at your own risk,” one reviewer cautioned. “You might find yourself sitting on top of a pile of bodies (literally or figuratively speaking) and discover that your own heart is as dead as the living human beings you just ground under your feet.”

If the shooter was indeed an avowed white supremacist, it would just be the latest white supremacist-inspired domestic terror attack in the United States of many in recent history. As Grit Post reported earlier this year, 98% of all domestic terror attacks in 2018 were committed by people with extreme right, white supremacist, and other hate-inspired ideological leanings.

(Grit Post does not name mass shooters and domestic terrorists, in order to deny them the notoriety they often seek. We encourage other media outlets to do the same.)

(Featured image: NBC Bay Area/Fair Use)


Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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