American citizens are still reeling from the two mass shootings that occurred in the span of less than 13 hours, one in El Paso, Texas, the other in Dayton, Ohio. While the motivations behind the Dayton massacre, whose death toll currently stands at nine, are as-yet-unknown, authorities seem to have found the motivation behind the one in El Paso, which claimed 21 known casualties: Suspected shooter Patrick Cruisis is believed to have dropped a manifesto, steeped in anti-immigrant rhetoric, on 8chan.
The website, filled with bulletin boards that are not moderated by the company’s admin, has become infamous for attracting conspiracy theorists and people waiting to be radicalized by dangerous ideologies. Even its founder, Fredrick Brennan, has turned on his creation: Speaking to The Washington Post in the wake of the El Paso shooting (as caught by Deadline), Brennan said the site’s current owners should “do the world a favor and shut it off.”
8chan was founded in 2015 by Brennan, a computer programmer, hoping to stand up for what he saw as increasingly policed free speech on the internet. Brennan resigned in 2016, partially due to disillusionment with what it had become. Since its inception five years ago, 8chan — like its close cousin, 4chan — has been involved in the GamerGate harassment controversy, child pornography, the anti-Semitic Hillary Clinton meme shared by the current American president, the Christchurch mosque shootings, and many others. It also helped birth the notorious conspiracy theorist QAnon.