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A threat aimed at Edinburgh University

Threats of school killings flood 4chan after Oregon shooting

Universities in the UK and US ‘targeted’ by anonymous users mimicking the post that preceded last week's massacre

Last week, a killer embarked on a mass school shooting at Umpqua Community College, killing thirteen people and leaving dozens injured. It was discovered that a 4chan user – potentially shooter Chris Harper Mercer himself – ominously warned of this in a post just hours before. No-one knows whether it was grim coincidence or genuine.

Days after this horrific shooting, 4channers are using the incident to troll universities and colleges worldwide.

A quick scroll through message boards shows that the original post has sparked a whole chain of similar threats warning they will take action like Harper-Mercer’s. They’re also deliberately imitating the wording in the threat posted just before the killer struck in Oregon.

Universities in the Philadelphia area were on high alert after a threat directed at them was posted on the r9k board. The concern spread to Twitter where users were understandably distressed.

The FBI sent out a warning to students and thus far it’s not known whether this attack was anything but trolling.

A similar threat was directed at school in Edinburgh, Scotland. “Hark, my brothers, the Beta Uprising is finally here,” the post said. “Don’t go to University of Edinburgh tomorrow. To all the normies viewing this, keep checking the news, you’ll see a lot of us on the news over the next few days.”

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, classes were missed. The Edinburgh University threat was later made public on Reddit boards, to which one user said: “I hate to bow to paranoia, but I’m going to give my lectures a miss (I go to Edinburgh).” Another quite understandably agreed, adding: “Better safe than sorry to be honest.”

There were other similar threats to other schools filling the board:

To recap, a "beta uprising", as referred to in the threats, is the act of quiet, supposedly downtrodden “beta” males rising up against the society is deems to be supressing them. It’s linked to frustration that women are becoming increasingly autonomous and sexually free. The targets of the violence are females and “alpha” males.

Thankfully, the shooting deadlines for both came and went. But understandably, people are freaked out by the posts. By trolling these schools and their security, they’re wasting time and resources and causing students and staff unnecessary anxiety.

It’s not just schools that’ve been the subject of fictional menace. Users are posting threats aimed at places like Pearl Harbour and Whoville, a reference to a news reporter who mistook the board’s meme mascot, Pepe the Frog, for Seuss’s Grinch. 

These 4channers are capitalising on the fact that they know they have the attention of the FBI and the media. It may all be ridiculous hoaxing, but it’s still dangerous.