July 6, 2022 | NPR

‘Gore-posting’ and the online footprint of the Highland Park shooter

Melanie Smith, Head of ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, spoke to NPR about the online footprint and radicalisation trajectory of the Highland Park shooter and those like him. Robert Crimo, the person suspected of killing seven in the attack on the 4th July parade in Highland Park, appears to have been active in at least one forum in which extremely violent ‘gore’ content is regularly posted.

Melanie told NPR, “there’s this kind of tendency to ‘gore-post,’ which is essentially to post shocking, graphic, violent imagery in an attempt to draw some kind of camaraderie between the users in these spaces.”

Exposure to this kind of material carries a risk – and in some cases an aim – of desensitisation to extreme violence, as well as potential trauma responses from long-term exposure.