The World’s Most Popular 3D-Printed Gun Was Designed by an Aspiring Terrorist

4chan is ephemeral (posts are routinely culled) and supposedly nameless (the default title setting for anybody posting is just “Anonymous”). However, the web site inserts a novel string of letters and numbers that follow every individual in anybody thread—as a means of protecting observe of who’s who in a dialog, whereas sustaining the veneer of anonymity.

This meant that, utilizing the 4chan archiving web site, I used to be in a position to observe @thereal_JacobOk’s different feedback within the thread, revealing hitherto unknown particulars about his life, together with his frustration with residing in Germany, his want to maneuver to the US, and his love for the Second Amendment. But maybe most strikingly, he described himself as an incel—the time period utilized by the misogynistic on-line neighborhood who outline themselves as “involuntary celibates.”

Revealing the Personality Behind the Gun

The means Jacob D wrote, anonymously, in that 4chan thread was additionally revealing. He solely capitalized the phrase “I” in the beginning of a sentence—by no means after that. And he all the time inserted an area earlier than an exclamation or query mark, which isn’t typical for Germans.

Analyzing these writing habits is the area of forensic linguistics, made well-known for its use within the arrest of the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. These stylistic options meant I might observe extra of his feedback in different dialog threads—together with his repeat use of the identical pictures generally giving an additional clue to threads he had been in.

Eventually, I found threads during which Jacob D had uploaded pictures of himself, together with one the place he confirmed his face. In half through the use of a facial recognition platform, I used to be then in a position to uncover his previous SoundCloud and Couchsurfing profiles—within the latter, he mentioned he deliberate to journey to the US, “the nation which fascinated me since my teenagers,” earlier than he joined the German navy.

And in each of those profiles, he revealed his actual title: Jakob Duygu.

Ultimately, I’ve been in a position to observe lots of of supposedly nameless posts that Duygu posted on 4chan and different message boards through the years. The FGC-9’s designer wrote about his life in Germany, his time within the Bundeswehr (German armed forces), and his loneliness and despair at being an incel. They present him as a posh, risky, obsessive, and tragic individual. And in addition they reveal some extremist concepts.

The distinction between these feedback and people he made publicly in interviews (utilizing his JStark1809 pseudonym) was placing. In interviews, he spoke about the necessity to defend free speech and human rights. He invoked the instance of the genocide of European Jews within the Holocaust or the Uyghur folks in China as arguments for why folks have to have firearms, and why he created the FGC-9.

But whenever you have a look at his nameless feedback, a distinct image emerges. Far from being an individual involved about human rights, his phrases had been typically xenophobic, racist, and antisemitic. And this wasn’t unique to 4chan, which has a very offensive, obnoxious tradition the place maybe not all the things needs to be taken at face worth.

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