Well, We Found the Bizarre and Dangerous Intersection of White Supremacy and ‘My Little Pony’
On April 15, 2021, a gunman opened fire on a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, killing nine people, including himself. We now know that this FedEx gunman was allegedly part of the Brony community, an online community of grown men who love My Little Pony.
Of the eight people the shooter killed in the attack, four were members of the Sikh community. This nonsensical act of domestic terrorism marks at least 50 mass shootings in the United States since March, when eight people were killed in Atlanta-area spas.
The FedEx gunman, whose name we won’t be re-printing, already had a concerning history at least one year before the shooting, and authorities were well aware of it. Not only had he been frequenting white supremacist websites, but he’d also had a shotgun seized from him by the police. Yet he was still able to purchase the two assault rifles he used to kill eight people and injure four others.
The Brony community started on 4Chan (which, if you know anything about the internet in the early 2000s, you know is a cesspool of hate and extremism) and later moved to its own various platforms, and is notorious for its Nazi problem. In fact, over 900 pieces of My Little Pony fanart have been filed under the “racist” tag on Derpibooru, one of the most popular websites the Brony community uses to upload content for its fandom. While perhaps not every Brony is a white supremacist, this sort of behavior and content is clearly not frowned upon, censored or punished in the community.
The Atlantic reports:
For years, this has been the status quo in the world of My Little Pony. In supposed deference to principles of free speech and openness on the internet, the presence of self-described Nazis within a fandom that idolizes compassion-oriented cartoon characters has become a coolly accepted fact. The community has sorted itself largely into two camps: those who think anything goes as long as someone finds it funny, and those who would rather ignore toxic elements than admit that not everything is perfect.
The Brony community prides itself on what it considers “pushing boundaries” — on being ironic, being edgy and making others uncomfortable. But there is nothing ironic or edgy about racism, white nationalism or fascist thought. And there is nothing ironic or edgy about the real world consequences of “isolated nerd spaces” like 4chan forums where anything goes, and where “political incorrectness” is encouraged — where the boundary between so-called jokes created for shock value and actual fascist thought is very quickly blurred.
These types of online communities are petri dishes in which already repressed, resentful and lonely individuals, predominantly young white men, have those feelings of repression, resentment and loneliness compounded and validated. They are dangerous. And they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
The FedEx gunman wrote about My Little Pony in his suicide note, which was posted on Facebook only an hour before the shooting began. “I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,” the post said.
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), the United States has seen 150 mass shootings in 2021 alone.
Were you previously familiar with the Brony community the FedEx gunman was a part of?