March 23, 2023

The Poway synagogue shooter’s manifesto just surfaced

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A manifesto written by the 19-year-old man who committed the latest heinous hate crime in a synagogue in Poway, California has surfaced on the internet. The vile missive confirms suspicions that the perpetrator was inspired by the same white nationalist rhetoric espoused by neo-Nazis who chanted “Jews will not replace us” as they marched with their pathetic tiki torches in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017  — the “very fine people” that President Trump just reiterated his support for yesterday.

The writer of the open letter (below) — originally posted to — identifies himself as John Earnest and begins with a long description of his white European ancestry — including a claim of descent from one of the original British colonists of Roanoke, Virginia — before moving onto a declaration of being “blessed by God for such a magnificent bloodline.”

Earnest then goes on to explain to his family and friends his reasons for engaging in such a despicable endeavor — imagining how they would ask why he would destroy his life at such a young age.

His answer should send chills down the spine of anyone who has watched as America has spiraled downward into a nation where hatred — as reflected and exacerbated by President Trump — has found fertile ground among the impressionable and disaffected who blame their inadequacies on others.

“What value does my life have compared to the entirety of the European race?” the murderer asks before descending into a racist and anti-Semitic repetition of every negative stereotype of Jews lifted from the fabricated texts of The Protociols of the Elders of Zion and given new life by right-wing white nationalists newly empowered by the presence of fascist leaders in the U.S. and overseas.

Amidst the racist rantings are a few hints at his plan and motives.

For instance, “Earnest” credits antisemitic YouTube star Pewdiepie with being “kind enough to plan and fund this whole operation.”

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The killer also conducts a self-indulgent and epithet and slur-laden mock interview with himself, answering questions like “Are you a Trump supporter?” (he claims not to be as even Trump is not overtly racist enough) “Are you a conservative?” (more of the same), and “Are you a terrorist?” (no, he insists, due exclusively to the color of his skin).

Citing Jesus Christ, Adolph Hitler, Beethoven, and the New Zealand mosque terrorist as among his heroes, the writer claims to have begun planning the attack four weeks ago, shortly after the Christchurch massacre.

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While none of the information in the open letter can yet be definitively attributed to the man arrested by police as the shooter today, The Daily Beast has reported that police have identified the shooter as John T. Earnest of San Diego.

There will be a temptation to blame Trump and his nationalistic rhetoric for this tragedy, but restraint is necessary. While the shooter and president share an embrace of white supremacist bigotry, the correlation (much less causation) between words and deeds is far from definitive. We do know this for sure though: this is the type of ideology that the president has given a pass to since before he took office, and his embrace of gun culture has made it far too easy for hateful cowards like this one to inflict pain, suffering, and death on innocents.

You can read the entire vitriolic and hateful screed in the tweet below, but be forewarned, the text is vile enough to generate nausea in even the strongest of stomachs with its slurs and heinous ideology.

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Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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