According to reports on Twitter and in the media, the man shot and killed by police after killing nine and injuring 27 in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, was not just a Democrat but an open socialist. He also supported gun control, would vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and encouraged violence against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He may have been a “copycat” shooter, because it also appears he was following news of the mass shooting at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
According to the Greene County Board of Elections, the shooter was a registered Democrat who voted Democrat in both the 2016 and 2018 primary elections (PJM had removed the name and address of the shooter. You can see the full entry at the BOE website):
Heavy reported the shooter’s Twitter handle and claimed to have confirmed that the account was his. The outlet used “multiple verification factors, including a matching tattoo on both a page selfie and prominent news outlets’ pictures of [the shooter]; several family linkages to the page; similar photos, including of him and the family dog, on the page and family members’ verified accounts, including its name; and references to college and growing up in Ohio and Dayton.”
Others also treated the account as if it were verified. J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, suggested the Dayton shooter may have been a copycat following the man who killed 20 people and injured 26 others at an El Paso Walmart.
“Based on the tweets he ‘liked,’ the Dayton shooter seemed to be following the coverage of the El Paso shooter closely,” MacNab tweeted. She also warned that there was no evidence the Dayton shooter was driven by white supremacy — as some falsely claimed.
Contrary to what being said on Twitter and, unfortunately, by pundits on the news, there's no indication at this time that the Dayton shooter was acting on white supremacist beliefs.
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) August 5, 2019
Heavy and The Washington Examiner shared tweets from the shooter’s account. While it seems authorities have not confirmed that the account was his, Twitter suspended the account, suggesting it is genuine.
“I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding,” the shooter tweeted.
Perhaps ironically, the man who would go on to carry out a mass shooting in Dayton lamented the availability of guns in America. “This is America: Guns on every corner, guns in every house, no freedom but that to kill,” he tweeted.
After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in February 2018, the man who would go on to carry out another mass shooting tweeted at Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), encouraging him to support gun control legislation. “hey rob. How much did they pay you to look the other way 17 kids are dead. If not now, when?” he tweeted, suggesting he was a mercenary for hire, rather than a committed supporter of the Second Amendment.
Ironically, the increased calls for gun control after the Dayton shooting appears to be exactly what the Dayton shooter would have wanted.
If there were any doubt as to the shooter’s political leanings, he tweeted his support for Warren.
He also echoed Democratic talking points against ICE, a few weeks after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) compared ICE detention centers to “concentration camps.” That comparison may have inspired an actual terrorist attack against an ICE facility.
The Dayton shooter did not just have political leanings. He was reportedly suspended from school for writing a “hit list” on a bathroom wall. Some said he had a “plan to shoot up the school.”
The shooter’s support for Warren does not implicate her in the shooting, and his support for gun control does not implicate gun control activists in the shooting. Yet when Democrats blame President Donald Trump for the El Paso shooting, they are applying a standard that would implicate Warren and gun control activists in Dayton.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.