Laura Ann Carleton who was murdered Sunday, August 20th is a grim reminder of the reality facing anyone left of the MAGA movement. The potent mixture of hate and conspiracy theories injected into their eyeballs on a daily basis from the watering holes of right wing pundits is hitting its peak effects. Further details are now coming to light about his specific flavor of right wing derangement. Here's how to spot a terrorist.
Travis Ikeguchi, the MAGA fanatic in question for killing Carleton, had a twitter account spouting both hatred and conspiracy theories for years before his opportunism led to Carleton's unfortunate end. Not only were they littered with rants about the LGBTQ community and political correctness but they were highlighted with religious zeal about the necessity of accepting Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these descriptors are far from rare. Finding an openly homophobic user on twitter is like finding a grain of sand on a beach. The relaxed censorship on right wing bigotry has propagated a userbase of many like Travis Ikeguchi.
Ikeguchi was killed by the San Bernadino County Sheriff's deputies. Like many right wing shooters, he embodied the lone wolf mindset of a character with the same namesake, Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Bickle, like Ikeguchi, was obsessed with the cleaning of perceived degeneracy off the streets and his hatred, vitriol, and rapidly deteriorating mental state led to an attempt at enacting violence. Of course, the movie Taxi Driver displays this conclusive act in a positive light whereas in real life the casualties are always the innocent.
Ikeguchi's act was viewed by an acquaintance of Carleton through a closed circuit camera. The acquaintance saw on video that Ikeguchi instigated a heated argument with Carleton, made several disparaging remarks about the rainbow flag outside of her store, and hurled homophobic slurs at her. Then he paused in the moment, considering what to do, before shooting Carleton and fleeing the scene. This was an act of spontaneity, he would have taken this opportunity on any individual he saw with a similar flag.
“He then almost flinched as if thinking twice but then went for it, grabbed the gun and then aimed it and shot Lauri,” Carleton's acquaintance said regarding the footage. “That caused her to fall back onto the floor, and then the door swung closed, and then he shot one shot through that door and then took off.”
Ikeguchi was a frequent user of the right wing platform Gab and made references to killing others as early as 2021. In one post he stated, “I know it’s controversial for me to mention the option to kill a police officer, but these police officers are not the servants for the people they are the servants for the laws."
Where did all of these ideas come from? They came from the right wing pundits who make money off spreading hate and fear. Ikeguchi was a large fan of three in particular: Matt Walsh, Jordan Peterson, and Alex Jones. All three of these pundits have open disdain for the LGBTQ community and make their money off of infecting people with their sickness. Travis Ikeguchi liked Matt Walsh's video titled The Pride Flag Deserves Disrespect and later murdered a woman over a pride flag. Walsh also has inspired bomb threats against a hospital from his followers by claiming the hospital provided gender reassignment surgery. Walsh in particular is an active promoter of terrorism and calls to action within his audience. Walsh and Jordan Peterson work for the Daily Wire news network and the blood on Ikeguchi's hands will be the same blood they believe coats the path to Republican victory.
Alex Jones, the pundit most famous for claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax and having his followers harass the surviving families, played a role in this ongoing climate of violence by famously calling it the LGBTQP movement, the added "P" implying pedophilia was an active part of it. The phrase can be found plastered on Ikeguchi's older tweets. The smearing of your opponents as pedophiles is an effective motivator of violence and the right has no problem making it up as it goes along.
For the Daily Wire, Alex Jones, and all right wing pundits, this isn't an atrocity but a desirable side effect of the fascism they promote. As long as they face no consequences, the killings will continue.