It has been a little over a week since the horrible tragedy in Toronto's Danforth area occurred that resulted in the murder of a young woman and a child with more than a dozen injured. Right now this is what is known:
1. Because I love you, I spent the morning reading everything known so far about the #TorontoShooting. Canadian reporters are doing a great job, but the pieces are in different news outlets. I tried to bring it all together: pic.twitter.com/Su2h54itMh— Amarnath Amarasingam (@AmarAmarasingam) July 26, 2018
It was also stated that the shooter was born in Canada by people familiar with the family.
Other than that precious little is known about the motives of the shooter and, much like the shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, it may take months of investigative work and even then a definitive motive might not be discovered to anyone's satisfaction.
Then again, the police could always just rely on the beliefs of a 25 year old, unemployed, drifter:
I'm not going to include the screen shots of comments for these particular posts, but I'm sure the readers can guess their content easily enough based previous examples.
Suffice it to say though that very little of what Myatt wrote is actually true and what is true is wildly mischaracterized. For example, ISIS did take credit for the attack. Perhaps after an investigation it will be determined that the shooter was motivated in whole or in part by an extremist ideology, but considering that ISIS also took credit for the Las Vegas massacre it seems that Myatt is far too willing to believe a violent terrorist group that has been known to lie in recent years because it fits a narrative he had already believed and had been promoting. There's also absolutely no evidence to suggest that the shooter spent any time in Afghanistan or that he was a "trained killer" or that he was a refugee, but since they are so eager to place blame on the government for it's immigration and refugee policies, the shooter will be labeled as a refugee regardless of the truth.
In fact, truth be damned.
Steven Myatt is exhibiting a classic case of confirmation bias which certain fringe websites and partisan "news" have been keen to push for fun and profit:
Myatt isn't alone in his desire to jump to conclusions and to rely on erroneous information because it fits a narrative:
A recent Global News article noted the proliferation of false information (ie. lies) in the wake of the shooting that is being disseminated online. The article mentioned three instances where images were being spread that purport to prove the shooter was a Jihadist refugee who trained with ISIS and was allowed into the country by Trudeau (apparently via personal invitation). The problem is that none of it is true:
- A photo claiming to be the shooter is of a 17 year old named Talha Asmal who joined ISIS in 2015 and who killed himself in a suicide bombing.
- A man from the UK with the same name as the shooter who was sentenced to four years in 2016 for stalking a woman and engaging in a campaign of terror against her.
- A series of photos that purport to be the shooter but are in fact of people who look nothing like him.
All three of these examples were found in the social media sites I monitor.
The Canadian Combat Coalition:
III% Alberta and III% support pages:
And many others.
The only group that I could find displaying even a modicum of skepticism was the English-language chapter of La Meute, and even then there were issues:
First, when one of your members or supporters writes that, "they all look the same to [him]" it is difficult to claim that your group isn't racist or at the very least attracts racists.
Second, they are promoting another conspiracy regarding the man who helped the shooter's family draft the letter that was distributed to the media:
Toronto Sun opinion columnist Anthony Furey also veered into InfoWars territory after doxxing a “friend of the family” who acted as a “point of contact” between the media and the family of the shooter.
Journalists from across the country noted Furey’s attempt to draw a “connection” between a friend of the shooter’s family and the NDP and the Muslim community was marked by wild, conspiratorial undertones.
Steven Myatt also promotes this non-issue as some sort of smoking gun, as well as continuing to claim to have information that the shooter was an internationally known extremist:
I know given the content of this article that the following video might be in bad taste, but it still seems especially apropos:
But also of concern is the effort by Bryan Trottier to get ahead of any potential retaliation against Muslim-Canadians by suggesting acts of vandalism (or I presume assaults) is simply a false flag, thus discrediting any act of retaliation before it even occurs:
I think that this is especially dangerous. First, there have been at least three instances where Muslim-Canadians or people of colour have been target since July 22 and while I don't know if they are in response to the shooting I can't entirely rule the possibility out:
- Toronto police charge man who went on tirade against Muslim family
- 'I would kill your children': Cops look at Walmart confrontation as possible hate crime
- 'This is not okay': Mississauga woman charged after allegedly trying to tear off hijab
Second, we know that individuals have been radicalized through social media and that encouraging and advocating acts of violence online have resulted in angry and disturbed individuals acting on what they have read. The speculation and outright falsehood certainly have resulted in advocating violence as indicated in some previous screen shots. Here are a few more instances:
By suggesting that attacks against Muslims, people of color, or "liberals" are the result of efforts to frame "patriots" despite posts on their own social media sites encouraging violence against these targets is especially convenient when one of the narratives you're pushing is that only Muslims, people of color, and "liberals" are violent. Even minor examples of violence in the left, for example a counter-protester pushing a PEGIDA protester, are decried as proof how dangerous the left is while the murder of six Muslim men in a Quebec mosque by someone who appears to have been radicalized by right-wing extremism can be dismissed.
Evidence of this can be found in another one of Myatt's posts:
Eventually, one individual asked why Myatt focused only on crimes committed by non-white people and specifically asked about the Quebec mosque murders as well as the Coulten Boushie case:
The responses indicate just how powerful the echo chamber these people exist in truly is:
They are also prone to adding more information to create an even wider conspiracy:
What Myatt is referring to is an incident that occurred on Parliament Hill the day after the Danforth shooting. It turned out that the man initially charged, Jesse Mooney, had been involved in an assault the previous day and would be charged for that, but charges related to the disturbance on Parliament Hill were being dropped and that there was no attempted stabbing; a small pocket knife was found close to Mooney when he was taken down on the Hill. Based on his court appearance it also seems clear that Mooney was also mentally ill:
Mooney, who appeared via video link, berated the lawyer who appeared on his behalf and demanded he be fired. When the lawyer brought up a psychiatric evaluation, Mooney went on a tirade – yelling that he needs medication, not psychiatric help, and he wants to see a doctor.
Justice Matthew Webber repeatedly told Mooney to stop talking in order to deal with the matter. When that didn’t work, the two began talking over one another.
Mooney is scheduled to meet with a court psychiatrist Wednesday morning at the Ottawa courthouse, which will help “identify issues” related to his criminal responsibility and whether he is fit to stand trial, his defence lawyer said.
The claim that Mooney was a "convert" was made up by Myatt. No legitimate news source has suggested this as being true. Myatt of course isn't the only one suggesting the Parliament Hill disturbance was a Jihadist plot however:
And it isn't the only wild conspiracy theory that the Danforth shooting has resulted in either:
Quckly, Myatt's followers grew annoyed that Bruce attempted to inject at least a bit of logic into their hatefest:
By this point though, Bruce wasn't around to hear it:
Seems that "snowflake" Bruce triggered the patriots.