Online misogynists have hailed as their ‘new hero’ the woman-hating Toronto van driver who ranted about being a virgin before allegedly mowing down pedestrians with a rented van.
Alek Minassian was praised by so-called ‘incels’ – hatemongers who self-identify as ‘involuntary celibate’ – with sickening posts on sites such as Reddit and 4chan calling him a ‘saint’ and praising his ‘sacrifice’.
The 25-year-old is accused of killing ten people and injuring a further 14 on Monday in an attack police believe was specifically aimed at women.
He had posted about an ‘incel rebellion’ and lauded anti-woman UC Santa Barbara murderer Elliot Rodger shortly before the atrocity.
Alek Minassian (pictured left, on LinkedIn; and right, appearing in court on Tuesday) was praised by online misogynists following his alleged attack on Monday
So-called incels took to blogging sites to post sickening messages about Minassian. ‘I hope this guy wrote a manifesto because he could be our next new saint,’ one poster wrote on incel.me.
Another man praised the attack and called for further atrocities against women, before listing various ways these could be carried out.
‘Spread that name, speak of his sacrifice for our cause, worship him for he gave his life for our future,’ one other commenter wrote in a post seen by NBC.
Minassian’s now-deleted post saluted Elliot Rodger, a community college student who killed six people and wounded 13 in shooting and stabbing attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014.
Calling Rodger ‘the Supreme Gentleman’, the Facebook post declared: ‘The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!’
Chads and Stacys are names used in internet forums to denote people with more active sexual lives.
Minassian had posted about an ‘incel rebellion’ and lauded anti-woman UC Santa Barbara murderer Elliot Rodger shortly before the atrocity
A crowd gathered in Toronto’s North York community on Wednesday to pay their respects to the van victims at a makeshift memorial of roses, candles and messages of condolence.
‘I needed to come here to show that I’m not afraid of this city,’ said Meena Chowdry, wiping away tears. ‘That one man’s actions cannot taint an otherwise beautiful, welcoming city.’
Minassian, 25, was charged with first degree murder over the deaths of the 10 pedestrians. Fourteen others were injured.
The first of his ten victims has been named as Anne Marie D’Amico (pictured) an employee at Invesco investment management firm
Toronto Police Services Detective Sergeant Graham Gibson said at a news conference that those killed and injured were ‘predominantly’ women, though he declined to discuss a possible motive.
Authorities had yet to release a list of victims.
Those known to have been killed include a 30-year-old woman from Toronto, Anne Marie D’Amico, who was active in volunteer work, as well as a female student at Seneca College, which Minassian attended.
A Jordanian citizen and two South Koreans were also among those killed.
The reference to the term ‘incel’, meaning involuntarily celibate, was a term used by Rodger in online posts raging at women for rejecting him romantically.
The anti-women sentiment also recalled Canada’s 1989 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique, an engineering college in Montreal, when 25-year-old Marc Lepine entered a classroom.
He then separated the men from the women, told the men to leave and opened fire, killing 14 women before killing himself. In a suicide note, he blamed feminists for ruining his life.
Social media posts by an account linked to Minassian mentioned US mass shooter Elliot Rodger and a community called ‘incel’ which is made up of mostly men who are rejected by women, and are therefore ‘involuntarily celibate’
‘INCELS’ AND HOW SANTA BARBARA SHOOTER ELLIOT RODGER BECAME THEIR POSTER BOY
‘Incel’ stands for ‘involuntary celibate’ and is a term used by a certain group of men who blame their inability to form relationships and have sex on women.
The movement was actually started by a Canadian woman named Alana, who created the Alana’s Involuntary Celibacy Project, as she wanted to ‘create a movement that was open to anybody and everybody’ and said she believed that typical gender norms ‘burdened everyone’.
But it was soon taken over by men who felt entitled to sex and angry that women weren’t providing it. Alana told Elle magazine in 2016 she felt: ‘Like a scientist who invented something that ended up being a weapon of war, I can’t uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it.’
Incel groups have been accused of inciting violence and misogyny online and numerous communities and subreddits have been banned over their content.
Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old virgin who massacred six people at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014, has become something of a poster boy for incels after he blamed his murder spree on the fact that he couldn’t persuade women to have sex with him.
Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old virgin who massacred six people at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014, has become something of a poster boy for incels after he blamed his murder spree on the fact that he couldn’t persuade women to have sex with him
‘I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl,’ he said in a video that he released shortly before the rampage.
‘College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it.’
He repeatedly promised to ‘punish’ women and lays out his plan for ‘retribution’ in the video.
‘I’m going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB and I will slaughter every single spoilt, stuck-up, blonde s**t that I see inside there. ‘All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them,’ he said.
‘I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one.’
Many online community boards for incels have sympathy for Rodger’s attack, which ended in him killing himself, and some even praise the killing spree.
Last November, Reddit banned a 40,000-strong community dedicated to the ‘involuntarily celibate’ over worrying posts which revealed many members appeared to hate women and even advocated rape.
Popular posts, according to the Guardian, included ‘all women are sluts’; ‘proof that girls are nothing but trash that use men’ and ‘reasons why women are the embodiment of evil’. Another Reddit group, IncelTears – set up to monitor the group – found many examples where the group condoned rape or even argued it should be legal.
Another member was caught posing as a woman on a legal advice group to ask questions about how someone could get away with rape.
Rodger killed six people and then himself at the University of Santa Barbara in 2014 after recording a manifesto in which he ranted against ‘entitled s**ts’ who rejected his advances
The group were banned after Reddit updated its site-wide policy to prohibit content that ‘encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or group of people’.
But there are plenty of other groups dedicated to incels which also reveal a violent streak.
Shortly after Rodger’s massacre, blog That Incel Blogger, said that the attack was ‘punishment for evil and violence of feminists and liberals.’
A post on Love-shy.com, another forum for men who are unable to find someone to have sex with, wrote that they were thinking about doing the same as Rodger.
‘I am seriously thinking about just getting a gun and shooting everything up,’ he said, according to Salon. ‘I fantasize about it everyday … that’s how f**ked up my mind is.’
‘I think if I do end up going on a mass shooting spree it will be due to the mental damage/stress from being isolated from meaningful human contact for too long. If/when that ever happens, can I really be blamed for murder if I’ve lost my mental faculties to judge right from wrong?’
Some of the more pathetic posters write about yearning for a ‘simpler’ time when women had less rights than men/
In one discussion, one man wrote that for most of human history, ‘there was no such thing as dating. For 99% of human history, females did not choose their sexual partners.
‘If they were LUCKY, they would be given to worthy men in arranged marriages. If they were UNLUCKY, they would be seized as spoils of war and end up as sex slaves.’
Another responded: ‘Maybe feminism will destroy itself after all. Either by its folly or men destroying s**t & raping the hell out of women to fight back in denying men’s sexual rights.’
Since then, there have been sporadic mass shootings in Canada, but none with a higher death toll.
That reinforces the view among many Canadians that their country is less violent than the United States.
Wendy Cukier, a professor in the business school at Toronto’s Ryerson University and president of Canada’s Coalition for Gun Control, said Canada may avoid some types of violence because its social programmes are stronger than those in many US states and there is less income inequality.
But the main difference, she contends, is tighter gun regulations in Canada.
‘If you take guns out of the mix, Canada and the US are identical,’ she said, citing statistics indicating the two countries have similar rates of non-firearm homicides.
Although police said Monday’s rampage did not appear linked to international terrorism, the use of a vehicle to kill mirrored tactics used by terrorists in France, Germany, Spain, New York City and elsewhere.
Since 2014, there have been at least two terror-related cases in Canada of vehicles being used as weapons, they caused several injuries and one death.
But overall, Canada has been spared high-casualty terror attacks.
Its most striking incidents of violence over the past 50 years have varied widely in nature.
In 2014 a Canadian Muslim fatally shot a member of the honour guard at Ottawa’s national war memorial, then stormed Parliament, where he was shot to death by a sergeant-at arms.
Vahe Minassian, father of Alek Minassian, is surrounded by members of the media as he leaves court with a police escort in Toronto on Tuesday
Minassian’s father sat weeping in the front row during the court appearance. As he left the courthouse, he told reporters he hadn’t spoken to his son, but told the assembled press he was ‘sorry’ (pictured)
Last year, a French-Canadian man fatally shot six Muslim men during evening prayers at a mosque in Quebec City.
Back in 1972, 37 people died in a Montreal cafe deliberately set on fire by three men who had been refused entry.
Canadian rapper Maestro Fresh Wes returned to the scene of the van rampage on Tuesday, pausing by a newly-erected memorial.
Wes, who lives nearby, was strolling down Yonge Street to get a haircut when he saw a body bag on the ground.
‘Yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year and then look what happened,’ he said.
‘Toronto is a safe city but things could happen anywhere. When these things happen, you have to reflect.’
Minassian has been taken into police custody and is due to appear in court on Tuesday. Police have not disclosed his motive, but sources suggested mental illness was a factor
Ten people were killed and 14 injured after a van mounted the pavement at a busy intersection on Monday before driving into pedestrians
Also revisiting the site was Saman Tabasinejad, a New Democrat Party politician who was canvassing in the area when the attack occurred.
‘I saw shattered glass everywhere, a fire hydrant knocked over and then five body bags,’ she said.
‘People were holding others and I saw solidarity all over, people trying to help others.’
‘When something like this happens, you think people are going to run away from the tragedy, but people didn’t — they ran toward it to try to help others,’ she added.
‘It shows that something like this could happen at the hands of one person, but so many more stand against it and show their humanity.’
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau downplayed the terrorism angle this morning, saying that authorities see no national security threat in the case
He added that ‘All Canadians stand united with Toronto today’ while speaking in front of the House of Commons Tuesday morning (pictured)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau downplayed the terrorism angle on Tuesday, saying that authorities see no national security threat in the case.
He told a news conference that the incident ‘hasn’t changed the overall threat level in Canada,’ even though it occurred as Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations gathered in Toronto.
Trudeau says Canada will do whatever it can to keep its citizens safe, while staying true to its values.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, he said, ‘We cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business.’
‘The events that took place yesterday in Toronto were a senseless attack and horrific tragedy. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of all those who were killed and we wish a full recovery to those injured and stand with the families and friends of the victims,’ he added, while speaking in front of the House of Commons Tuesday morning.
‘All Canadians stand united with Toronto today.’
Several law enforcement sources told NBC that mental illness may be the cause.
Police say they are now working to identify all his victims, and contact their families and next of kin.
Family, friends and coworkers of D’Amico have began paying tribute to the victim.
Witnesses break down in tears at the scene of the Toronto van attack that left ten dead on Monday
People sign a memorial after a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing at least 10 people