When it comes to the game of terrorism, there are no winners—only losers. On a faithful Friday the 13th, people in Paris were enjoying themselves until out of nowhere everything was taken away in an instant. Almost as if the superstition about the date were true, at least 129 people took their last breath that night. Future families gone in the blink of an eye—grief stricken family asking why. The world was in solidarity with France after the terrorist attack to show their support.
Reminiscence of the terrorist attacks that hit the U.S. back in September 11th of 2011, the support of allies was moving. During these attacks, the first reaction many people naturally have is why this happened followed by capturing who was responsible. You can’t bring the dead back, but you can try to prevent more innocent loss of life. Reports of identified gunmen are already coming out while others are insisting the wave of refugees is connected. Information is still sketchy, but everyone is doing what they can to ensure justice is served to the victims of this tragedy.
What doesn’t help anyone is getting random people involved as some sort of witch hunt—or worse, a sick joke. Enter Veerender Jubbal, a Sikh man. Veerender is many things to many people, but terrorist isn’t one of them. More known for the hashtag “#StopGamerGate2014” than wearing suicide vests, he found himself in the cross-hairs of shoddy journalism.
Charlie Nash of Breitbart lists off a bunch of tweets on the matter, ranging from those of Veerender himself to others calling out the hoax. Of course, the media’s favorite boogeyman had to be beaten to death for the umpteenth time for good measure. What better way to follow a tragedy in Paris than to blame GamerGate for something?
What happens when you point fingers randomly? You make a fool of yourself. The above is from a tweet made by Ben Smith, which appears to have been deleted. He’s the Editor-in-Chief at Buzzfeed—the person who makes the final call if a story goes up or not. People in Paris lived through a nightmare and this Editor-in-Chief sees nothing wrong with sensationalizing drama on Twitter so thoughtlessly if it means lots of retweets; this is why people have little faith in modern journalism. You can edit the story, but the URL gives your bias away. Buzzfeed isn’t the only media outlet responsible for posting sensationalist reports on Veerender going viral.
A recent story from Vice is starting to circulate claiming to offer concrete evidence that GGers are responsible for the photoshop. Unfortunately, the red lines drawn all over the place all points to people who aren’t even part of the movement nor care for it. People fail to realize that trolls are not a social construct; trolls play both sides of an issue to get a chuckle at the aftermath.
The facts are that photoshoped pictures of Veerender existed well before the Paris attacks took place. To further compound the issue, it was also created by someone who doesn’t care about GamerGate, but by members of the defunct trolling group who went by the name “AyyTeam.” The culprit being blamed was an anon known by the handle “Blacktric” on Twitter, though digging suggests it was another anon responsible. What was AyyTeam exactly? Imagine if Channers from 4chan’s /b/ board decided to take that culture and condense it to 140 characters or less. Unless you’re new to the Internet, people with this type of background have been inserting themselves into various environments for the sole intent of causing mischief well before Adam Baldwin tweeted the first #GamerGate tweet.
Vice lists off their pro GamerGate connection by linking to a low voted thread on Reddit, an archive of a tweet with Blacktric responding to a tweet from Mike Cernovich which had absolutely nothing to do with GamerGate, an exchange with Oliver Campbell in which Blacktric uses the word “us”—anyone seasoned on the Internet could spot the trolly essence of his response—and this, Blacktrik’s Disqus history from over a year ago. Not very conclusive of any pro affiliations. The only thing proven is that a person can be burnt out on over a year of GamerGate and can stop caring what happens and who their actions affect.
Anything to get clicks, even at the expense of others, right? Meanwhile, those who consider themselves supporters of the movement have expressed outrage to this situation. Especially so aimed at the media who is putting a man’s life in danger by posting an obviously Photoshopped image to pass off as news. A badly written article on a high-traffic site is one thing, live broadcasting by a news source considered credible is another entirely.
— Whenindoubtdo (@whenindoubtdo) November 15, 2015
Casting the shadow of doubt onto others is just as damaging as the accusation of a Sikh man being accused of being a Muslim terrorist. Be you a gamer or Sikh, no body likes being accused of being something they aren’t. After the first wave of reports got out, GamerGate supporters were expressing their disappointment in the media for falling for a Photoshopped image to pass off as someone involved in the terrorist attacks on Paris.
Other GamerGate supporters were claiming that even though they don’t care for Veerender Jubbal, they were still appalled at what happened. That it’s unethical no matter who the subject is for unfair coverage.
— Cati (@RebelCari) November 15, 2015
Not everyone were as level-headed and quickly jumped to the conclusion that everyone who supported the movement GamerGate were thrilled at these turn of events. Being passive-aggressive with “what they” to implicate all of GamerGate is just as bad as implying Sikh men are terrorists for ISIS because they wear turbans. We need to stop being reactionary to those who don’t care for or else we lose touch of our own compassion.
No one outside of a select group of people are happy this happened. Pro GamerGate, anti and people who couldn’t care less all feel the same disgust when the falsely accused is being put in the spotlight for crimes they didn’t commit. When an event such as this happens, the first reaction shouldn’t be “I bet X group done this,” it should be “Who did this.”
— Supperdude9 (@Supperdude9) November 15, 2015
For well over a year people who support GamerGate have been accused from minor infractions of misogyny all the way up to being called worse than ISIS. Some may call it karma, but karma exists for good reason. Nothing about taking a man’s edited picture to implicate he was part of the Paris attacks that shocked the world was karma. If anything, this should serve as a life lesson in how not to treat each other and just how gullible the media can be.
Even when we remove GamerGate from the equation, faith in journalism was already dropping. While people’s lives are affected, someone is out there laughing at how easy it was to get a story trending with little effort. No, the edited photo wasn’t fueled by racism by skinheads too uncultured to tell a Sikh man from a Muslim, nor was it from a bunch of angry gamers online—it was an anon getting a chuckle out of the gullible.
Whether you laughed at the absurdity or were upset, it’s up to every day people to fill in the gaps left by omitting facts to push a compelling story. In the end, a major tragedy just happened and people are still in the mourning process. Instead of blowing steam like some mad man on Twitter desperately trying to label those you loathe as being “subhuman pieces of shit,” channel that anger into something actually productive. Victims need support and answers, not a bunch of incoherent yelling on social media. Veerender is not a terrorist and GamerGate isn’t a terrorist organization. It shouldn’t be this absurd to accept both those claims. Especially now with the recent attacks from ISIS, it’s thoughtless to belittle the severity of terrorism.
That’s my take on the issue. I wish people would stop pointing fingers at each other like children and realize this isn’t right from the action itself to the blame game. No one is helped in these situations and only end up more negative with anger. Instead, we should come together as human beings. What’s your take, readers?