When police in Washington DC burst into a fifth-floor apartment building on 22 April in search of a man who allegedly had shot four people at random, they found Raymond Spencer dead by his own hand, a cache of guns and ammunition, and a poster with an ironic white supremacist meme.
The poster invoking the meme, popular on the extremist online forum 4chan, was a stark reminder that this attack blamed on Spencer, 23, was only the most recent mass casualty attack to spawn out of the ugly extremist culture of unregulated internet message boards such as 4chan.
That particular forum gave birth to QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is combating a cabal of leftist pedophiles, before it moved on to its even-more-extreme cousin 8chan. QAnon has been particularly effective in crafting the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump, inspiring the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021. A bipartisan Senate committee connected seven deaths to the attack.