Monday, March 18, 2019

St. Louis Store Asks Whether New Zealand Mosque Shooting Was Tragic or 'Fucking Great'

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 12:51 PM

click to enlarge Tactical Shit owner T.J. Kirgin models one of his shop's t-shirts. - SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE

Determinedly edgy local gun-supply store Tactical Shit took a break this weekend from promoting its St. Patrick's Day sale to ask its Facebook followers their opinion of Friday's massacre of Muslims in New Zealand: Was the incident a tragedy, the poll asked, or was it "fucking great?"

The Facebook poll, which appears to have been deleted between Saturday evening and Sunday, drew thousands of votes and hundreds of comments. According to a screenshot, fifteen percent of respondents viewed the killing of 49 innocent people as a cause for celebration.

"How do you 'feel' about the NZ Shooting?" the query began. "This poll is because in our posts and news stories, our shitheads seem pretty divided."



The store, which is based in suburban St. Peters, seemed to be aware that it was basically inviting the bigots in its audience to step forward.

"We are in no way are indicating our opinion," the post added, "just want yours."

click to enlarge Tactical Shit, of course, doesn't have an opinion. - SCREENSHOTS VIA YOUTUBE/FACEBOOK
  • Screenshots via YouTube/Facebook
  • Tactical Shit, of course, doesn't have an opinion.

But it wasn't just the poll that disappeared from Tactical Shit's Facebook feed on Saturday. That same afternoon, the account liked and then reshared the above meme, a version of the "distracted boyfriend" meme. In this case, the boyfriend in the meme is labeled "literally the whole fucking world" while ignoring the woman behind him — identified as "daily acts of terror committed by a religion preaching violence."

The object of the boyfriend's distracted attention is a woman in the foreground. She is labeled "one guy shooting Muslims in revenge."

Tactical Shit devoted numerous posts Saturday to the mass shooting, and the page has continued to post stories and commentary, inviting those "shitheads" to fill its comment sections with crusader-themed memes and photoshopped images from the shooter's livestream that present the tragedy as a scene from a video game. Tactical Shit's massacre-related content also includes an entire episode of the store's podcast, "Shots Fired," which spends more than an hour examining the Australian shooter's reported justifications for murdering innocent people.

The episode, titled, "Radical Gamer Trolls World in Real Life First Person Shooter," features a lengthy conversation between Tactical Shit owner T.J. Kirgin and store employees Alex Milberg and Kris Dickson.

Around the three-minute mark, Kirgin describes his reaction to seeing the live-streamed footage of the massacre, which the killer made using a helmet camera. (The footage has drawn comparison to first-person video games, which inspired the podcast's title.)

At Tactical Shit, Kirgin says, "We don't like Muslim extremists at all. We're not fans of Islam in any shape or form. Still, killing of innocent civilians is probably not cool."

Kirgin now says the “probably not cool” was sarcasm. He notes that his first Facebook post about the shooting came so soon after the attack, it referenced four shooters, not just one. The initial post he shared was a clear condemnation.

"These four scumbags in New Zealand,” he wrote, “are no better than ISIS & the IRA, killing unarmed civilians. Not Warriors or Soldiers, just scum."

In his remarks on the podcast, however, Kirgin says he was shocked to find that the post caused the Tactical Shit Facebook page to lose hundreds of followers.

“I was like, ‘Whoa, what the fuck,’” Kirgin tells his cohosts.

Kirgin deleted his initial post, and then decided to post something on the other side of the spectrum of reactions, what he describes as a “’too-soon’ meme, like, going the other way with it” — possibly a reference to the distracted boyfriend meme. That post, too, apparently caused hundreds of Facebook followers to leave.

"That's how polarized this thing is already," Kirgin continues. "So then I'm like, 'Fuck it, fucktards, I gotta find out what you're thinking here,' because it's obviously a polarized thing within our fan base, which are hardcore motherfuckers. So I put out a poll."

Even Kirgin was surprised by the number of his fans who voted that the shooting was "fucking great."

"That's hardcore, man," Kirgin says. "But that speaks to the nature of what's happening in America, the nature of what's happening in the gun community, and globally with this event."

Throughout the episode, the hosts pick apart the shooter's manifesto and firearm skills. Often, though, their discussion appears to affirm many of the debunked theories espoused by the shooter. To the Tactical Shit team, Islam is a "religion of violence," and the show's hosts are quick to agree that atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists are given less media attention than those committed by Christians or whites.

To be clear, Kirgin and co-hosts make multiple interjections throughout the episode to declare that they themselves don't approve of the shooting. But at the same time, they find little to dispute in the shooter's manifesto. Kirgin even launches into a lengthy defense of the manifesto's contention that a high Muslim birthrate threatens to "dominate most of America and pretty much all of Europe."

At that point, Milberg jumps in to agree with the demographic prediction, but he suggests that the idea of future Muslim dominance is "amazing, because they spend most of the time porking each other in the ass, so you'd be confused, because they aren't really a big fan of women."

Again, this is one day after the shooting. But this is the Tactical Shit brand. The store's Facebook page boasts 890,000 followers. The same day it posted the poll, Tactical Shit ran a Facebook ad for a grey t-shirt that says "Nationalist" over an outline of a map of the U.S.

The ad ran with the text, "We don't sell white nationalist shirts. We do have grey ones."

click to enlarge SCREENSHOT VIA FACEBOOK
  • SCREENSHOT VIA FACEBOOK

Tactical Shit has long encouraged "libtard"-bashing, anti-PC humor, both on its social pages and in its store. It sells products like "Liberal Tears Gun Oil" and produces videos that cater to a particular brand of give-no-fucks conservative dudebro — videos such as this one, which advertises a St. Patrick's Day Sale by showing an employee applying a discount sticker to a bent-over woman's behind.

Last year, the store even posted a clip attempting to mock the concept of racial bias training by introducing a black employee, "Token Marcus," who walks into a scene chugging a grape soda. We also reported last year on the store's sale of an $8 Holocaust-style yellow Star of David patch, which was stitched with the words "Gun Owner." One day after our story broke, the store removed the patch.

But when it comes to the New Zealand mass shooting, the store seems have known it was straying into indefensible territory. At some point, it decided to delete the poll that asked people whether they "feel" fucking great about a mass murder of Muslims.

And perhaps that's why the poll's author added quotation marks around the word "feel" — because even trolls sometimes know when they've gone too far.

Update on March 19:

In a statement, Kirgin stresses that his statements were sarcasm — and condemns the attacks:
At Tactical Shit, we are a comedic media company first. We are like a Tactical South Park. Nothing is off limits, we make fun of everything and everyone. We (us and our fans) are mostly Military and Law Enforcement past and present. We use dark humor to deal with tragedy on a regular basis. .... [In putting up a poll], We are in NOW WAY indicating our opinion, just want yours.

The only thing we failed to do properly was to better explain the choice of poll answers as being direct quotes from the comment section.

Now as per usual we are being attacked publicly by the same writer whom has previously done TWO other witch hunt hit pieces on our store.

We are NOT anti Islam. We are not fans however we are "not fans" of most religions.

We strongly condemn the actions of the terrorist and our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the lost.

Editor's note: We updated this post after publication to include details about T.J. Kirgin's first post about the massacre, as well as his contention that his use of the phrase "probably not cool" was sarcasm.

We also included a statement from Kirgin at the end of our initial story.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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