On Day 10 of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial, the prosecution continued to highlight the accused shooter’s social media posts on the far-right social network Gab.
The defendant went by the username “One Dingo” and posted antisemitic messages frequently in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting. The word “jew” appeared on his Gab.com feed 152 times, through both his own posts and reposts, according to FBI tactical analyst Evan Browne, who testified Tuesday.
Gab, a social media app frequented by white supremacists and white nationalists, provided a platform for the shooter to convene with like-minded individuals. He liked a post saying that Gab was a “fantastic resource” for “networking with white nationalists.”
His posts, reposts and liked posts, which Browne read to the jury, made reference to the Holocaust, Nazis and common white nationalist tropes. He most often highlighted the Jews as being responsible for what he perceived as society’s ills, especially the “invaders” at the southern border.
The posts were a mix of vulgar antisemitic comments and white nationalist social commentary. The shooter lamented then-President Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy movement, saying that Trump is a “globalist.” He liked a post that featured a long list of social problems that Jews were supposedly responsible for, from immigration to the flat Earth conspiracy theory.
The prosecution is hoping to prove federal hate crime charges, and the defendant’s relentless antisemitic posting fits with that motive. While he expressed racist attitudes toward other groups, including Muslims and Black people, he referred back to Jews as the cause of social problems.
“Every time a white country is invaded by people of color, you will find evidence of a Jew behind it,” he posted, displaying his belief in the “great replacement theory,” which posits that white people are gradually disappearing.
The posts are graphic in their language and sometimes threatening. He reposted images of a cat doing the Nazi salute, as well as an image with the flag of Israel pasted onto U.S. government officials with the caption “wonder why the US is always getting into wars.”
In the afternoon, the prosecution called William Braniff, a terrorism expert, to testify about the white supremacist movement in the United States. He provided basic background on some of the terms and slurs the shooter used in his Gab posts.
In particular, he explained the meaning of the “hand-rubbing” trope, which indicates a belief in conspiracies that Jewish people secretly control powerful elements of society. The shooter had posted a mock flag resembling that of Israel that included symbols of hands rubbing together.
Braniff also described some of the white supremacist literature that had been referenced on the shooter’s Gab page. Bowers wrote that George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, was “woke before his time.” Braniff also examined an image of numerous book covers, which included Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and a book by Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany.
The defendant had called Hitler “a brilliant Austrian painter” who was “correct about many things.”
The day’s testimony concluded with FBI firearms expert Erich Smith, who testified about the trajectory of bullets from the shooting. PJC
This story is part of ongoing coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial by the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and the Pittsburgh Union Progress in a collaboration supported by funding from the Pittsburgh Media Partnership.