El Paso was a vile act of eco-terrorism

The killer’s manifesto was riddled with environmentalist anti-humanism.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics USA World

Is Extinction Rebellion to blame for the El Paso massacre? Maybe Greta Thunberg is? Or any one of the commentators who spends their every waking hour bemoaning mankind’s ‘carbon footprint’ and insisting we need to rein in people’s rapacious consumerist behaviour.

After all, these misanthropic ideas, this green miserabilism, this anti-modern guff about humanity being a plague on poor Mother Earth, is a central feature of the El Paso killer’s manifesto. And if Trump can be held responsible for the shootings on the basis that the manifesto echoes his Mexican-bashing, why shouldn’t greens, who pollute public debate with the kind of anti-humanist ideology that clearly moved and enraged the El Paso murderer, shoulder some responsibility, too?

Of course, to those of us who believe in free will and holding individuals morally responsible for what they choose to do, only one person is to blame for the barbaric attack in a Walmart in El Paso – the man who did it. But it is striking that the people cynically rushing to blame this mass murder on Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric have next to nothing to say about the killer’s green thinking. This attack is being branded ‘white-nationalist terror’ – why isn’t it being called environmentalist terror? It was motored in part by a loathing for humanity based on the tragically mainstream, pseudo-leftish idea that we are a planet-polluting force.

In his alleged manifesto, the killer, alongside his racist rants about Hispanic people and the ‘replacement’ of whites, attacks modern society for being eco-unfriendly. Westerners’ lifestyles are ‘destroying the environment’ and ‘creating a massive burden for future generations’, he says. He seems obsessed with the core element of green thinking – the idea that mankind is overusing limited natural resources. We are ‘shamelessly overharvesting resources’, apparently.

As with green ideology in general, there is a strong streak of anti-humanism in his eco-obsessions. He attacks ‘urban sprawl’ – also known as human habitation – and the way it ‘destroys millions of acres of land’. As for ‘consumer culture’ with its production of ‘thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic waste and electronic waste’ – he slams that as another part of humankind’s ‘decimation of our environment’. The solution? Surprise, surprise: population control. Echoing the numerous eco-Malthusians who have spent decades calling for a restrictions on human natality in order to save the planet, he says we need to ‘decrease the number of people in America using resources’.

His targeting of a Walmart makes more sense in the context of his eco-Malthusianism. Alongside clearly setting out to kill Latinos, whom he claims are ‘invading’ the US, perhaps he also wanted to attack supermarket-users, Walmart automatons, slaves to cheap consumer products – the kind of people who are so often criticised by elitist greens for their immoral shopping and eating habits.

And if his ideas sound familiar, that’s because the same kind of thing was published in the manifesto of the anti-Muslim bigot who attacked two mosques in Christchurch last year. That mass murderer also raged against ‘a society based on ever-increasing industrialisation, urbanisation, industrial output and population increase’. He criticised people’s ‘ignorance of environmental health’ and called for the creation of ‘an environmentally conscious and moral society’. The Christchurch killer explicitly said he is not a Nazi but an ‘eco-fascist’.

These vile anti-human manifestos, and the racist murders that sprung from them, are a chilling reminder that eco-extremism has historically been closely associated with far-right causes. And yet somehow in recent years, this backward, anti-modern obsession with cleansing nature of foul mankind’s uncaring, destructive behaviour has morphed into a supposedly progressive, leftish outlook. And it is now utterly mainstream, being promoted by virtually every public and political institution. That it is an outlook – an ideology, in fact – that can grab the attention of extremist misanthropes like the El Paso and Christchurch killers should surely give green ideologues pause for thought.

No green-leaning writer or activist bears even the remotest responsibility for the horrific acts of eco-fascism in Christchurch and El Paso. However, what is clear is that, in their search for ideological justifications for their loathing of their fellow human beings, both of these killers landed very firmly upon the environmentalist ideology. They clearly spied in it a moral-sounding, pretend-scientific justification for their belief that human beings are scum, a plague, who deserve to be punished. When your belief system so readily lends itself to violent misanthropy, it is time, surely, to rethink that belief system. The fashionable misanthropy of green thinking is in dire need of public questioning and public challenge.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Peter Jenkins

9th August 2019 at 7:08 pm

Let’s see how we can turn this massacre to support our favourite arguments. Ah, he mentions the environment amongst dozens of other grievances. Let’s highlight that bit (even though his concern for environment seems to stem from a children’s book published in 1971 and made into popular film when Crusius was 14). Usual story and you complain about the bias of BBC. This is not offensive writing just immature ranting.

William Brown

7th August 2019 at 12:45 pm

Eco-fascism, anti-semitism, no-platforming – is there anything else the cuddly left want to adopt in the name of righteousness?

Jonnie Henly

7th August 2019 at 12:30 pm

Wow, Brendan’s really going overboard in his attempts to pin the blame for this shooting on anyone who disagrees with him.

2 articles in a few days telling us all why everyone he dislikes is precisely to blame.

Make your mind up at the very least Brendan, is it eco terrorism or the armed wing of identity politics to blame here?

William Brown

7th August 2019 at 12:48 pm


A Venn diagram of both of those societal elements would have a very large intersection.

Jerry Owen

7th August 2019 at 2:23 pm

..’urban sprawl , also known as human habitation’ .. neat!
We mustn’t forget that we are talking tiny numbers of people on both sides ( different sides of the same coin !) and need to get this into perspective. Rabid ER / environmentalists / greens are tiny in numbers. Right wing Nazis exist in even smaller numbers ( Brexit voters aside of course ).
This ‘crisis’ is being manufactured promoted expanded and propagated by the left media and political elites, they want an escalation of all this, they are never more happy when these things happen so they can politicize them for their gain.. more control more laws, less freedom . They want the left to become more violent , in short they are trying to invoke a revolution, they are trying to mobilize street mobs to attack and intimidate conservatism in all it’s forms, replace ‘conservatives’ with ‘Jews’ and you should see what’s happening. We have seen Democrat politicians goading crowds to literally attack republicans, serious stuff indeed when a politician encourages not political action but personal intimidation. Over here we call it incitement which is rightly illegal.
The Democrats have been treating Trump the way they have not because they believe themselves but because without goading a revolution by demonizing Trump they are not likely to be re elected any time soon. The political elites are being thwarted all across Europe and America, they are desperate to regain control by any means possible.

Amelia Cantor

7th August 2019 at 10:18 am

Is Extinction Rebellion to blame for the El Paso massacre? Maybe Greta Thunberg is? Or any one of the commentators who spends their every waking hour bemoaning mankind’s ‘carbon footprint’ and insisting we need to rein in people’s rapacious consumerist behaviour.

Even by O’Neill’s high standards this is an exceptionally stupid article. If concern about the Planet caused gun-massacres, we would expect many wombyn and people of colour to be perpetrating them in the name of saving the Planet.

It isn’t happening.

The problem is a) cisgender white male toxicity, racism and hate; b) the availability of guns; c) the ability of toxic cisgender white males to spew hate 24/7 on multiple platforms (as fully supported by B. O’Neill). Eco-awareness is overwhelmingly positive, but even good ideas can be co-opted by evil people.

So, yeah, if O’Neill seriously believes that the anti-racist, pro-Gaia Greta Thunberg had any role in the horrific homicidal racism of El Paso, he is even more mentally disturbed than I already thought.

Hana Jinks

7th August 2019 at 1:30 pm

Everything of the levt is utterly diabolical.

You speak nothing but self-righteous and ill-informed hate.

Frank Sutton

7th August 2019 at 4:14 pm

A poor attempt at channeling Titania McGrath. And, by the way, what are wombyn?

Sean McGrath

7th August 2019 at 8:54 am

John Millson

7th August 2019 at 8:23 am

‘No green-leaning writer or activist bears even the remotest responsibility for the horrific acts of eco-fascism in Christchurch and El Paso.’ Precisely.
Highlighting and even condemning other humans’ behaviour doesn’t make one anti-humanist. There is a good deal of self-righteous, hypocritical piety on the part of the eco-‘warriors’ (for that reason they don’t help the cause) but to try and suggest some sort of continuum from condemnation of others’ behaviours to a propensity for mass murder is fanciful and unhelpfully provocative.
Doesn’t everyone know the issues? US citizens have the right to bear firearms, that means there are lots of them about. Guns were invented for one thing only: ultimately, to kill in the most efficient way with no injury to oneself. They deter and ‘protect’ because they can kill so efficiently. It’s not going to happen but remove all those guns and it’s obvious…Screwed-up Jonny or Jane will have to use a machete – not so efficient; not so much notoriety…

Steve Gray

6th August 2019 at 7:55 pm

Such people don’t go from mild-mannered janitor to crazed gun-man overnight. They tend to start small – on an almost imperceptible, comical level.

For example, by not referring to people they don’t like, or disagree with, by their actual names. So they don’t respect common courtesy, so what?

Well, over a period of years, they can begin to feel that their intentions aren’t being taken seriously – that they’re being written off- almost pitied ?

And that gets right up their nose. They Will Be Taken Seriously ! Little-by-little, they rationalise ever-more-unhinged and anti-social behaviour as, for example, ‘testing boundaries’ . Eventually, they commit a ‘Noble Crime’.

Remember, such twisted oaks from putrid little acorns grow…

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 8:18 pm

Someone obviously needs to call the FBI on you. Or whomever it is that investigates psychos.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 8:33 pm

You’re my favorite one now that Queefer Moreswill was finally green-vanned.

Steve Gray

6th August 2019 at 8:42 pm

‘Hana’ , not that Hana is actually your name,

Again, you assume I am writing all about you. I wonder why..? Oh, yes.. You tend to refer to me as ‘Sleeve Gay’ (ho, ho) and not by my actual name. So what?

Well, you do that with a number of people. And you wonder if you’re pissing them all off ‘in that office’ – like you would consider that an achievement.

Mate – and I use that term in a very loose sense indeed – you might be on a slippery slope, there, mightn’t you ?

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 9:19 pm

Sleeve Gay.

You are the biggest sniveller the site has seen, and that includes anyone from the office that you’d like to put up.

Idle threats from FBI-topics like you keep me in material.

Steve Gray

6th August 2019 at 11:46 pm

So.. ‘Hana’ ..

We finally have those cards of yours on the table. And it isn’t much of a hand, is it ?

You’re not simply a dead-beat troll – which is, admittedly, a bit of a crap thing to be – but a dead-beat troll who is bankrupt of ideas…

…Not finished yet…It gets worse…

But not only are you a dead-beat troll who is bankrupt of ideas … You rely on someone you clearly dislike, for inspiration..

Game Over. Seek another arcade.

Hana Jinks

7th August 2019 at 12:13 am

“Snivellin” Sleeve.

Better being a dead-beat troll than someone who has been made a metaphorical-Sleeve for nigh on twelve months now, Sleeve Gay.

When you said game over, l was sure that you’d be conceding, and perhaps even apologising for having referred to me as a reprehensible, racist, bigoted nazi, even tho I’m a Christian-Zionist with a mixed-race daughter.

(You can always tell who the biggest perverts are by which one’s the biggest masochists are.)

What’s scouse for pathetic weirdo, Sleeve Gay?

Steve Gray

7th August 2019 at 8:36 am

‘Hana Jinks’.

Hana Jinks

7th August 2019 at 1:14 pm

Hahaha…that is actually the correct answer, and your prize will be that I’ll stop calling you that name.

Steve Roberts

6th August 2019 at 7:51 pm

O’Neill rightly points out that the responsibility for these appalling murders is the shooter himself, that’s self evident. And yet it is important – if we are to attempt to reduce the likelihood of further atrocities like this – that we draw the correct conclusions and understanding of what is occurring in contemporary society.
Banning guns is not just simplistic it is becoming a catch all virtue signalling parody that is useless.
Recently O’Neill has written about the problem of identitarianism, here he expands into the deep misanthropy involved in contemporary discourse.
I think it is also worth noting the social and cultural setting that is deeply embedded in particular – or more accurately in a more mature form than elsewhere – in the USA. For generations now there has been an increasingly regressive social and educational norm of non judgementalism, where all is relative, everything goes, it has resulted in generalised sense of self importance, of nihilism defined in one publication as ” …often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy ” and a narcissism described as “..in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others”
Does this mean that all the population of the USA are potential mass murderers, clearly not, these occurrences are thankfully very rare, there are many powerful human acts and thoughts of decency, our humanity of living together, among most of us to overide the narcissism and nihilism . But at the extreme, unstable edges of society among a small amount of people society it is creating the conditions, the heady cocktail that are a severely explosive mix for such extremism to flourish we would do well to consider all these factors.

Michelle Canada

7th August 2019 at 9:27 pm

Excellent analysis.

John Millson

8th August 2019 at 8:37 am

Yes instances of nihilism and narcicissm must explain alot, as does the apparent deep-seated paranoia.

(Why do you need a gun to be ‘free’? Why do you think all your neighbours are only out to steal from you etc? Why do you think your government/the police might want to ‘take away your rights’? Why are you so scared?)

But the virtual ‘festishisation’ the object itself cannot be ignored.

Obvious to say, to a sick mind, the gun, what it can do, how it can destroy, adds more delusion, with its potential for actual mass destruction.

Hana Jinks

8th August 2019 at 2:30 pm

If the citizens of France had guns, then the eussr would be confined to germany.

James Knight

6th August 2019 at 5:48 pm

Suddenly libtards want to talk about the ideological motivation of a terrorist.

Just the opposite of cases of Islamist terrorism when they say “move along, nothing to see here”.

Jonnie Henly

7th August 2019 at 12:33 pm

Nope, we know what causes Islamic terrorism.

It’s Wahhabist Islam, the same ideology that the conservatives best friends Saudi Arabia love to export.

Of course, conservatives love to gush over this fact.

gershwin gentile

7th August 2019 at 1:06 pm

You forget Iran. Backed by the Russians. Just thought I’d mention that.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 5:11 pm

Not much cricket chat yet, either.

Winston Stanley

6th August 2019 at 4:01 pm

“in their search for ideological justifications for their loathing of their fellow human beings”

B, do you have any evidence that they had murderous dispositions prior to their immersion in green narratives? It is one thing to say that they had free will and that no one else is responsible for their acts, which is fair enough, but it would be quite another to suggest that they formed dispositions and acted without any motives.

In a sense it is surprising that we do not see more eco-terrorism. Green narratives tell people that the planet faces a catastrophe, that humans are to blame, and that humans are incapable of finding a solution. It implicitly suggests that some other way urgently has to be found to deal with humans than the democratic process.

Perhaps green narratives have to combine with something else more given to move people to violence, like religion or forms of politics, it needs some hyphen catalyst, before it takes a more virulent form. Who knows?

Winston Stanley

6th August 2019 at 4:14 pm

Eco-terrorism tends to be violent but aimed at property rather than people. The Unabomber is perhaps the outstanding exception. From wiki:

> The FBI credited eco-terrorists with US$200 million in property damage between 2003 and 2008. A majority of states in the US have introduced laws aimed at penalizing eco-terrorism.[4]

There are a wide variety of tactics used by eco-terrorists and groups associated with eco-terrorism. Examples include:
Tree spiking is a common tactic that was first used by members of Earth First! in 1984. Tree spiking involves hammering a small spike into the trunk of a tree that may be logged with the intention of damaging the chainsaw or mill blades and may seriously injure the logger. Only one case of serious injury has been widely reported.[5]
Arson is a tactic most associated with recent activity in the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF has been attributed with arsons of sites such as housing developments, SUV dealerships, and chain stores.[5]
Bombing, while this tactic is rare, on some occasions explosives have been used by eco-terrorists. For example, the Superphénix construction site was attacked with anti-tank rockets (RPG-7).[13]
Monkeywrenching is a tactic popularized by Edward Abbey in his book The Monkey Wrench Gang[14] that involves sabotaging equipment that is environmentally damaging.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 6:03 pm

Very interesting post.

Jim Lawrie

7th August 2019 at 10:26 am

Extinction rebellion made clear the Greens contempt for the rule of law and for the rest of us. The extreme extension of that is to shoot us for not complying. That’s what fanatics do.

Their unilateral declaration of a climate “emergency” is melodrama in place of evidence. They hope by this device to deflect from the rest of their miserable lives, and lack of achievement and personal discipline. They think not going to school, work, college etc .. corroborates their claims but instead it is evidence only of them agreeing with themselves, of their own indolence and their low calibre.
Many of them are in fact protesting at the harsh reality of finding out that the six figure salaries they thought were coming their way are in fact few and far between, even in quangoland, and that there aren’t nearly enough to go around.

During the Stop the City protests I was living in a squat in Vauxhall and working in IT in The City. Every one of the protestors I knew were mad keen to be in my shoes. They lacked the necessary combination of ability and discipline.

William Stuttard

7th August 2019 at 2:11 pm

Jim, is your point about an ’emergency’ purely semantic? As im sure you know, there is plenty of evidence of an ongoing global environmental ’emergency’ or crisis or dangerous situation.

Jerry Owen

6th August 2019 at 3:51 pm

I have also been led to believe by three different sources that he said in his ‘manifesto’ ( there must be a more fitting term surely ! ) that it wasn’t Trump who made him do this, these were his views before Trump was elected, he also predicted that Trump would be blamed ( no surprise there !). I think one source was Sebastian Gorka’s podcast ‘ Good Morning America ( or similar title).
We hold politicians with some contempt especially over Brexit, however I believe now that the media are beneath contempt, it is the media that are stoking violence in their quite openly biased and disgusting reporting, clearly reporting lies / distortions at will.
We know that Trump is taking a hit for this and by default republican politicians and by default again MAGA hat wearers on the streets who will be attacked by the left with even more unhinged hate.
I hold the media with such contempt it makes politicians seem almost civilized in comparison… well ..!
It’s interesting to note that it is young white men that commit many of these atrocities now , and their mixed up leftist / eco ramblings are a common theme, immigration stance is of course the only common denominator for the press. These are the same weak woke white middle class wally’s I see at events like ER and other feminist /leftist / hope not hate events. These are men that are taught they are quite frankly worthless and redundant by feminism that runs rife in the media.
Do we really wonder why these deranged people do it ?

Michelle Canada

7th August 2019 at 9:31 pm

I think you have also hit the mark. The compartmentalization of society and identity politics has clearly led to this. I’ve heard of black men and women wearing maga hats being attacked so bad they ended up in the hospital (ditto for white men and women).

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 3:36 pm

Seems as if the common thread is progressive-leftists, yet again, which is why you…anyway.

Random loons have had it with diversity-communism. Islam is not race. Mr Tarrant is not anti-muslim, any more than you or l are. He’s anti-islam, and where you are pig-ignorant and a leftist-appeaser.

El paso boy was pretty young, but he’d seen first-hand the damage that white-replacement is doing to the world.

You have it in your own city and are too ideologically-stunted to see it.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 3:40 pm

I’m fine with multi-culturalism, but there has to be limits, both in numbers, which have been exceeded decades ago, and with the importation of the eastern ideology so hostile to the west. London even has an eastern mayor.

Jonnie Henly

7th August 2019 at 12:31 pm

You’re clearly the one ideologically stunted here.

gershwin gentile

6th August 2019 at 2:58 pm

Remember the Unabomber? He didn’t get caught for decades. Consider that.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 3:28 pm

I doubt that there’s ever been anyone able to combine both facile and incoherent burblings with such alacrity.

gershwin gentile

6th August 2019 at 3:55 pm

Just because you are too thick to understand the point doesn’t make what I posted incorrect. But I’ll let you get back to your online thesaurus.

Hana Jinks

6th August 2019 at 4:24 pm

Peeved Gobbett’s.

I’m hoping that l might be able to hire you as a translator. As you’re the other major proponent of facile and incoherent burblings around here, then I’d be prepared to pay competetive rates.

gershwin gentile

7th August 2019 at 12:46 pm

Intellectually stunted, as well, but with access to an online thesaurus.

Hana Jinks

7th August 2019 at 1:15 pm

Whatevs, gg. We’ll see.

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