Last month, my family came under direct and immediate threat from white supremacists. After I wrote to condemn the term “cuckservative” as grounded in a particularly vile form of white-nationalist racism, my Twitter feed was flooded with thousands of tweets from hundreds of other users hurling vicious slurs at me, my family, and especially my youngest (adopted) daughter. They called her a “niglet.” They called me a “cuck.” They accused my wife of sleeping with black men while I was deployed in Iraq.
Twitter is easy enough to manage, however, and I viewed the racist response as essentially confirming my point. When both my wife and I refused to back down, publicizing some of the worst tweets, things took a much darker turn. Beginning late on the evening of September 18, my wife’s Patheos blog was bombarded with images of executions, suicides, and gunshot wounds. For page after page, gifs of the most gruesome images scrolled through the comment section — images used in some of the darker corners of the web, the same corners the Roseburg, Ore., shooter allegedly patrolled before his horrific killing spree.