Yesterday we began learning some of the background of the twisted individual who murdered three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers and wounded several others. The initial reports were rather thin, indicating that Gavin Long was a former Marine who was angry about police shootings of black suspects and was a fan of the shooter who ambushed police in Dallas. But as the media took a deeper look into his profile, they found that Long had left what NBC News is calling a long, twisted digital footprint behind him. He fancied himself a purveyor of life advice and self-empowerment, though how that vision fit in with his apparent social justice views is a mystery.
The suspect in the fatal shooting of three Baton Rouge cops maintained a robust social media presence and a website called Convos With Cosmo in which he describes himself as a “freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor.”
The domain registry information for Convos with Cosmo lists Gavin Long at his known home address as the registrant, and a law enforcement source has confirmed to NBC News that a Twitter account linked to the website is the shooter’s account.
The website also links to a now disabled Instagram account and Twitter feed, in which he noted in a message posted mere hours before the shooting: “Just bc you wake up every morning doesn’t mean that you’re living. And Just bc you shed your physical body doesn’t mean that you’re dead.”
Those are interesting factoids in the life of someone who seems, at a minimum, to be a bit on the delusional side. I’m not sure who was signing up to have this guy as a life coach or nutritional advisor, but he was certainly prolific in his writing and video production work. And yet there’s much more to his story. The Daily Caller did some digging of their own and found that Long was a member of the Nation of Islam and was very clear in his attitude toward “peaceful protesting.” (NSFW language warning)
Videos on Long’s account show that he was a former Nation of Islam member. He also ranted against “crackers” and made references to Alton Sterling, the black man killed by police in Baton Rouge on July 5…
“I just got here I’m not really into the protesting. I do education because that’s our real freedom,” he is heard telling two men in the video.
He called protesting “emotional” and “for the women.”
In the video Long is heard lamented “working for the white people.” He encouraged one man riding in his vehicle as he filmed using a body camera to shop only at black-owned businesses. He brought up a hypothetical scenario in which a family member who wanted to buy carpet was forced to buy from non-black business owners.
“Who’s she going to fuck with? The cracker, the Arab, the Chinese,” Long says in the video.
“These Arabs, these Indians, they don’t give two fucks about us.”
Long didn’t simply prefer “action” and violence to peaceful protesting. He was also an absolute racist, pure and simple. I understand that this sort of observation inevitably brings the usual condemnation from social justice warriors who insist that only white people can be racists, but I’ll leave it to Long’s own recorded statements to make the case for me. Arabs, Indians, crackers, Chinese… this is the language you normally see ascribed to Klan members but it comes from a very angry, violent member of the Nation of Islam.
And now he’s dead, but he took several of our nation’s finest with him and shattered even more lives. So here’s the uncomfortable question which we should probably be asking today: how rare or unusual was Gavin Eugene Long? Obviously he’s not representative of the majority of Americans or the nation would have already collapsed into a bloody civil war. But given the protests in the streets and the hints coming from social media and cultural outlets, is he truly some one in a million aberration? For an example I’ll offer up this tweet from Ebony Magazine from over the weekend.
Happy Birthday, Ida B. Wells and Assata Shakur. The world still feels your impact. pic.twitter.com/7mda7Je3og
— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) July 17, 2016
Yes, that’s cop killer Assata Chesimard under her other name of Assata Shakur. This is the woman who murdered a New Jersey state trooper and has been in hiding in Cuba ever since. I’ll just leave it right there for your consideration. The lines between good and evil are not as nearly as clear as you might wish to imagine.