December 13, 2022 | NBC News

Scepticism around the Colorado shooting suspect’s pronoun choice

ISD’s Senior Research Manager Jared Holt spoke with NBC News about why sufficient context exists to doubt the sincerity of the suspected mass shooter who opened fire in an LGBT+ club and later identified as nonbinary. Holt explains how the suspect’s internet footprint and apparent intrigue of white supremacist shooters opens the likelihood that the shooter was ‘trolling’, invoking nonbinary pronouns “as a means to get one last insult in on the LGBT community.”

Since the court filings, the FBI has found evidence connecting the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, to two websites. One of the websites was likely started by the suspect himself, consisting in ‘racist and antisemitic memes, language and videos’, leading many to think Aldrich is ‘trolling’ the queer community.

NBC News reported that a video on one of the homepages “advocates for killing civilians as a way to ‘cleanse society'” celebrating Brenton Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist behind the killing of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Jared compared the site to the forum-style of 4chan, a site that allows for anonymous posts and inadvertently become the home for violent extremists.

“Chan culture is notorious for trolling — for provoking people and making them mad for no reason — and finding joy in being offensive or making a mockery of people,” Jared said. “If the suspect was plugged into chan culture enough to try to start a spin off of it, that tells me that they were pretty deep in what I would describe as bad internet.”

Aldrich’s involvement on those kinds of forums “points more toward the possibility that the suspect invoked nonbinary pronouns as a means to get one last insult in on the LGBT community,” Jared said.