“Out of an abundance of caution” after the mass shooting that killed nine last week at an Oregon community college, the FBI’s Philadelphia field office has warned Philly-area universities about a threatening post made over the weekend on that crucible and/or cesspit of internet culture, 4chan.
“No specific college or university was identified in the posting. We encourage students, faculty, and employees at area colleges and universities to follow the guidance of their campus security officials,” the FBI said in a statement.
The post in question claims the Oregon shooting was the first phase of a “Beta rebellion,” and threatens “On October 5, 2015 at 1:00 PM CT, a fellow robot will take up arms against a university near Philadelphia. His cries will be heard, his victims will cower in feat, and the strength of the Union will decay a little more.”
“I plead to thee, brothers! We only have but one chance, one spark, for our revolution. The United States will soon condemn us to the status quo forever, and soon after, the United Nations. Don’t let our one chance at writing history slip away. Martyr yourself for the cause or support those who have the courage to do so. We have the chance to make the world a better place for betas everywhere.”
The “Beta Uprising” is a popular trope on 4chan’s /r9k/ board, where “beta” men lament that American society (read: women) is inherently biased against them, and only favors boring, well-adjusted “normies.” Guys on the board—“robots”—like to fantasize about a violent rebellion that would finally teach the world to respect betas.
No official source has tied that anonymous message to the alleged shooter, Chris Harper-Mercer, or linked Harper-Mercer to /r9k/, but it was heavily circulated in the hours after the incident, and some posters in the thread joked about the “Beta Uprising.”
The timing is suspicious, but it could just be a coincidence. Toby “Eggman” Reynolds, a beloved /r9k/ poster who other robots jokingly framed for the Umpqua Community College attack, posted a video Wednesday announcing he was in Seattle. “The northwest” is a large area to vaguely threaten, and it wouldn’t take any foreknowledge of an actual shooting to troll Eggman as a potential school shooter .
Philadelphia-area universities have little choice but to take the potential danger seriously, though. The Daily Dot reports that Temple, Penn, Drexel and La Salle, as well as Rowan University in New Jersey, have issued warnings to their students.
None have canceled classes, though, as much as some students would like them to: