As investigators search for a motive for why such a massacre might have occurred, reports out on Tuesday morning demonstrated that the 19-year-old man who has been identified as the shooter at the Gilroy garlic festival over the weekend promoted an extremist book that is often touted by far-right extremists online.
Minutes before he carried out his mass shooting, Santino William Legan urged followers on his now-deleted Instagram account to read the book “Might is Right” by Ragnar Redbeard, a manifesto promoting violence in order to preserve racial purity, New York Magazine reported. The book was published in 1890, and suggests that violence is necessary to curtail what it deems to be societal harms, including interracial marriages and other ideals that might advocate a melting pot-ideal of society.
The book also promotes misogyny as a means of achieving its ends, suggesting that women “must be held in thorough subjection” in order to push for the purity of the Aryan race, Talking Points Memo reported.
The book is noted as a favorite by the far-right, Media Matters pointed out. It’s often touted on message boards, including 4chan and 8chan, where extremists frequently lurk and exchange ideas with one another.
Another 4chan/8chan inspired terrorist: these guys are about the only folks who post about this obscure fascist, racist text…Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman referred to 'Might is Right' manifesto before shooting https://t.co/5r5UnJj0zU
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) July 29, 2019
One user posted just hours before the shooting in Gilroy, asking if anyone had information about the book. Another user, following the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting, which resulted in more than 50 Muslims being targeted and killed earlier this year, justified the actions of that shooter by citing the book.
The shooting perpetrated by Legan over the weekend resulted in the deaths of three individuals, including a 6-year-old boy and a teenage girl. At least 12 others were injured by the shooter. An exact motive has not been identified by investigators at this time.