According to an extensive report from The Daily Beast, the 21-year-old man who killed two students at a New Mexico high school last Thursday posted violent and pro-Hitler comments in pro-Trump and white supremacy online forums in the run-up to his shooting spree.
FBI agents interviewed William Edward Atchison in 2016 regarding a post he made asking about where he could purchase a “cheap assault rifle” that would be effective in a mass shooting. Ultimately, the FBI determined Atchison did not commit a crime and dropped the matter.
“The agents specifically asked him if he had plans about conducting attacks and expressed the seriousness that we take these type of things,” Terry Wade, Albuquerque FBI Special Agent, said in a news conference. “He assured us that he had no such plans.”
And yet online, the 21-year-old New Mexico resident lived a prolific life as a white supremacist, pro-Trump meme peddler who was most known for his obsession with school shooters. For a half-decade, Atchison spent most of his days online, repeatedly posting threats of violence and cries for help.
When users saw posts from Atchison, who went by dozens of names like “Adam Lanza” and “Future Mass Shooter” on both larger platforms like YouTube and racist communities like The Daily Stormer, they would often ask how his manifesto was going.
Atchison often posted memes praising Donald Trump and school shootings. He was reported and banned from one of the forums after being labeled a “troll.”
In one post, Atchison wrote openly about his racist beliefs.
— Alastor Nite (@AyindeButler) December 15, 2017
“How am I supposed to function in this world?” Atchison wrote. “Wherever I go, I see degeneracy. Pointless materialism, hedonism, sexual decay, dirty n*ggers who do nothing but slowly break down this society etc. it’s fucking everywhere. No way to escape it, 99 percent of people are part of it and whatever I do I am confronted with the death of the West. Go to the store and buy groceries in peace? Nope, here’s a group of LGBT liberal filth in line with you. And there’s a ni–er family with 10 kids over there. And a Finn too, but he’s overweight as fuck and he’s buying alcohol and shit junk food. Fucking fantastic.”
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Ryan Lenz of the Southern Poverty Law Center said Atchison’s rhetoric was a typical pattern of white supremacists.
“What we’ve found with these ideologies is that they repeatedly lead to violence. There’s a dual line of radicalization happening,” Lenz said. “To steep yourself in Daily Stormer rhetoric and the sites like it is to put yourself in the headspace of where the violence is when not if.”
On December 7, Atchison walked into his former high school and began shooting, killing two two students before turning his gun on himself. At the scene, police found a thumb drive with a note that read: “If things go according to plan, today would be when I die. I go somewhere and gear up, then hold a class hostage and go apeshit, then blow my brains out.”
You can read The Daily Beast’s report here.
Featured image via The Daily Beast