The National Republican Congressional Committee shared a 4chan-style message board post on X (formerly Twitter) mocking Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) for triggering a fire alarm during a vote on a stopgap funding measure this past weekend.
The post, which is in the same style and format as a typical 4chan post, suggests that as a former middle school principal, Bowman should be familiar with fire alarms.
The 4chan message board website is a cesspool of extremism, bigotry, conspiracy theories, and antisemitism. The website, which is a safe haven for white nationalists, has become a favorite place for mass shooters to post their violent manifestos and celebrate violence.
The Buffalo, New York, mass shooter, who killed 10 people in a grocery store in 2022, was reportedly radicalized on the forum during the pandemic. Additionally, the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand, who killed 51 people in a mosque in 2019, cited 4chan as an inspiration for his deadly attack.
An investigation by The Wall Street Journal into 4chan characterized the forum as an asylum for mass shooters and violent extremists:
The online forums, known as /pol/ for “politically incorrect,” offer a platform for hate speech where posts are almost always anonymous, making it difficult for law enforcement to identify who is using the sites. Hateful ideologies, including white supremacy, are promoted across the sites and used to incite violence, forming a chain of influence that appears to have led from one mass shooting to the next. When one site is shut down, users swiftly migrate to another.
Mass shooters are revered on the forums, which brim with racist and antigay content. Posts encourage attacks against mosques, synagogues and immigrants. Large numbers of fatalities are celebrated as “high scores.”
Counterterrorism experts and others who study the forums say they provide inspiration for some participants to act, catalyzing a succession of lone-wolf shooters who try to one-up one another.
A statement from Bowman’s office says the congressman did not intend to delay the funding vote, but instead that he could not open a door in the Cannon House office building and triggered the fire alarm thinking it would open the door. There are currently two investigations into the situation.