[TRIGGER WARNING: HARASSMENT, DEATH/RAPE THREATS, TERRORISM, ATTEMPTED MURDER]
You know what's so weird? The second I read Republican pundits claiming that George Soros, and later others, sent pipe bombs to themselves, I was transported back to just a couple years ago when online harassment of women and other marginalized individuals was the hot button issue. Coming out of GamerGate, many of these women were in the tech/geek worlds and dealing with constant, massive, relentless harassment, getting death and rape threats, etc. And the right-wing line was the same.
"They're sending threats to themselves for attention/financial gain/to make us look bad."
Back then, concerns about threats and harassment were also dismissed as being "no big deal." "Everyone is harassed online, you just need to grow a thicker skin, deal with it." Of course, the emotional toll of constant harassment, the way it hinders online movement and professional development, and the fear that drove many women off of social media entirely was ignored. But what was also ignored was our warnings. Our pleas of "what happens when it gets worse?"
Because we knew it wouldn't end there. Harassers suffering no consequences for harassment and being successful in driving people they hate off of social media was only going to encourage them to escalate. Yet the mainstream media and many average Americans dismissed the issue as just some teen boys in their parents' basements. Harmless.
It's only been a couple years, and things have escalated to pipe bombs in the mail. The only reason none of them went off is because the FBI was somehow onto this shit before it happened. Someone could have easily died. The packages were filled with broken glass. These were meant to kill.
And now, the same words that came out of fucking GamerGaters are being used by popular right-wing pundits. "They're sending bombs to themselves to make us look bad." Were all the anonymous GamerGater fucks actually full-grown Republican pundits and politicians all along?
It's just fucking bizarre to me to see these parallels between something people dismissed as "trolling" and straight up domestic terrorism. Do I say "I told you so"? Or do I jump off a bridge because clearly this is a simulation meant to test human consciousness? (Don't worry, I am not actually at all tempted to hurt myself, just making a point.)
Part of me wanted to believe that the whole GamerGate thing was unimportant and didn't have implications for the future of humanity. I am disappointed.