Alleged killers in Christchurch, New Zealand; Poway, California; and El Paso, Texas believed a theory that claims white people are being “replaced” by people of color through mass immigration. Conspiracy theorists often falsely claim this is a deliberate effort by any number of groups demonized on the far right: liberals, Democrats, Jews, Muslims. It’s the theory peddled by white-supremacist groups seeking recruits and the torch-bearing marchers in Charlottesville two years ago. It’s also a thinly disguised—and often not disguised—talking point from some conservative politicians and pundits, experts say.
By leaving these conspiratorial manifestos, white supremacists are trying to add to a long and growing library of terror, and get others to follow their examples.
“They’re also trying to inspire others about the urgency of the moment. In particular with the New Zealand shooter, the Poway shooter, and this guy in El Paso, you see these ideas building on each other,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told The Daily Beast.
“There’s no question these people are feeding off each other because they’re referencing prior manifestos. In the Poway case and the El Paso case, they both referenced Christchurch.”