Mass shooting shows 6 reasons for furries to worry about the causes.
by Patch O'Furr
Last month, Equestria Daily warned about blowback to fans: The Indianapolis FedEx Mass Shooter Was Apparently A Brony, and Obsessed with Applejack. The 19 year old shooter carried it out after posting online that he hoped to see the cartoon character in the afterlife. “Brony” stands out by the Man Bites Dog rule, but there’s more details. Previously he had a gun seized, and got confined for threats after visiting white supremacist websites. Half of those killed were Sikhs. (I REALLY hate that, because of learning about this at the birthday of a Sikh friend. Every one I’ve met is a sweetheart.)
Rolling Stone asked: “Do Bronies have a Nazi problem?” They say fandom isn’t inherently problematic, but it faces infiltration by problems. Being a fan of cartoons isn’t a threat, but there’s threats coming out of fandom. Maybe giving a heads up about negativity should also say…
1: It’s not the only incident.
- (2020): In Texas, Daniel Perry killed a protester after tweeting about how to kill protesters. His FurAffinity page got far-right gloating.
- (2020): Furry in Ohio shot up a school, thankfully just hitting the building and nobody was hurt.
- (2017): Randy Stair, a Brony who made animated fan videos, did a mass shooting at his workplace that was predicted by his creations.
- (2016:) 3 killed in Fullerton CA by 3 furries, they all mingled at furry events and might not have met without them.
Maybe this isn’t more frequent than in general society, but do they share context? And isn’t one shooting too many?
Last summer, a right-wing extremist with furry fan background drove into a crowd and shot a protester. He was let go by police and his Furaffinity page was used for extremist hate support. Now the incident is being considered for charges. https://t.co/Kpx9NzGwjr https://t.co/hJPCTbDfjo
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 18, 2021
2: People tend to reject bad news by reflex.
I hear reflexes like these all the time:
- (Community defenders): We’re always facing haters, and the problem is giving them too much attention.
- (Con runners): This looks bad for filling hotel rooms, so let’s not mention a surprise lone wolf nobody could have predicted.
- (Sunshine McFluffy): Our fandom is for hugs and fun, so that person wasn’t a true member.
- (Puritans): Who needs reasons, they’re brainwashed by their sick fandom. They need Jesus!
- (Gun nuts): Shooter threats are all around… Shoot them first, no problem.
3: Then context gets lost.
Fandom makes context:
- Close connections make incidents hit harder than usual inside.
- Anti-social individuals may seek escapism communities.
- People close to them might be able to see clues and stop them.
- If a community is blamed, try standing on the victim’s side to fix that.
- Guns aren’t just used on others, and fans raise attention to help with suicide.
The Equestria Daily story shows what readers think about context. A comment says Applejack stands for conservative “core values of family and tradition”, and worries the character will be cut out for “SJW” values. (That’s a weird way of sympathizing with victim families.) Nobody mentions many victims were Sikhs. (Their tradition is doing community service, but racists mistake them for Muslims because they don’t care to try knowing more.) And Dungeons and Dragons comes up as a scapegoat of 1980’s Satanic Panic. That’s actually a good point.
4: Silence can make judgement look true.
- In the 1980’s, Satanism was blamed for teen sex, drugs and suicide.
- Teen problems weren’t new, the new thing was social shifts. Pre Civil Rights generation parents had more worldly kids.
- Or both parents now had two parents working, so kids were left home to get into things.
- Then Dungeons and Dragons or heavy metal (or furries) were convenient scapegoats.
- It made careers of conservative preaching, which led to closing comic and record stores, attacking artist careers, and arrests for obscenity.
- Without evidence, people made shit up anyways and it worked.
The supposed Satan worshipping artists didn’t stay silent, they fought or leaned in. They weren’t literally summoning demons, they were doing stories with shades of light and dark, like visions that religion is supposed to awaken. Furries raised online don’t know what this culture war was like before the net made everything easy to get. It was a big stage in fandom growth.
The fandom had low notice until the 1990’s, when self-awareness made internal conflict with puritans. Soon the media latched on to exploit it. But around 2010 (when Comic Con went mainstream,) exploitation lightened and there started to be CNN “flat-out advocacy pieces“. And maybe the media has caught up with the fandom, but the fandom hasn’t lost fear of the media, when silence can hurt itself.
5: Fearmongering isn’t as bad as you think.
How bad is it if you lean in? Someone tried the same old panic in 2020 with email/telegram raids, calling it “Operation Expose Degeneracy.” They claimed to have thousands of murrsuit porn pics to publish and show that kids are in danger. They said many news outlets wanted to talk and there would be a whole book!
After spamming, he resorted to begging for help. Have you heard of this? Look how far that went.
6: Worry also means caring.
Mass shootings might not have one cause, but this one has something we know about radicalizing in online subcultures. With nazis being where they don’t belong, their presence isn’t just opinions or sides. They do nothing good for anyone, except maybe gun sellers and their invested friends. Worrying about how to stop that is caring about everyone. It’s not just negativity to bring it up and put fandom in the headline.
I knew that furry communities had successfully combated far right assholes trying to infiltrate their circles, so I am a little disappointed that the same cannot be said for bronies.
… no, I'm not joking here, wait why are you looking at me like that?
— Dennis (@Dennisthatsit) April 18, 2021
Kaitlyn Tiffany’s Atlantic article from last year confirms the Facebook memo’s point about extremism in the community existing generally. https://t.co/nJI9ESRGK3
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) April 18, 2021
Since the Brony community is still grappling with it's veins of right wing violent extremists like the Indianapolis FedEx shooter it's worth revisiting the sucesses and efforts of other similar niche internet subcultures that have had success fending off neo-nazi infiltration: https://t.co/pkj07RnST7
— Deo ❤🖤 (@DeoTasDevil) April 19, 2021
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