Earlier today an internet rumor started that Nikolas Cruz, the young man who murdered 17 students at a Florida high school, was affiliated with some white supremacist militia. Allegedly, he belonged to some group called the “Republic of Florida.” The source of this was the claim by the group’s “captain,” some mope named Jordan Jereb.
Outlets, like the Daily Beast, ran images like this trying to link the shooter to Trump:
Then the story started to unravel. Vox.com’s Zack Beauchamp, who is most famous for discovering a bridge linking Gaza to the West Bank that the Israelis regularly block to f*** with the Palestinians (I am not making this up, read the correction), started asking questions of people who research these groups:
The 430 miles thing should have been a major warning to anyone pushing this story.
The Republic of Florida Militia, a white nationalist hate group we have been monitoring, has claimed the suspect in the massacre in Parkland, Florida, is a member.
We cannot confirm the link between Nikolas Cruz and the ROF.https://t.co/c5gj5qmcL1
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) February 15, 2018
And when the SPLC can’t link any random white guy to a hate group or militia, you know you are on thin ice.
Then the police weighed in:
Local law enforcement sources have not found a connection between accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz and a Tallahassee-based paramilitary group.
Leon County law enforcement sources told the Tallahassee Democrat that they could not find information linking Cruz, 19, to the Republic of Florida Militia, as claimed by the group’s self-proclaimed leader Jordan Jereb.
In a profanity-laced post hours later on a social media site, an account bearing Jereb’s name said the whole thing was a “legit misunderstanding,” saying they have more than one member named Nikolas. He also said he not slept “for like 2 days.”
His Twitter account has been suspended but this was the tweet referenced in the above quote.
CNN is still hard at work polishing that plastic apple:
And for those of you seeing alt-right, white nationalist supremacist separatist in your sock drawer, behold your enemy