(TMU) — Typically when a major blockbuster film is released in the United States, warnings about the film are about its content—strong language, violence, perhaps a bit of sexual content or nudity.
But as audiences eagerly await the new Joker film, authorities in the U.S. have sounded the ominous alarm about what they fear may be in store for moviegoers flocking to theaters to catch the premiere on October 4—a possible mass shooting committed by “incels” or “involuntary celibates.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Army confirmed that it had widely distributed an advisory to service members about a potential mass shooting during the theatrical release of Joker.
According to Stripes, a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command was issued Monday, warning commanders at U.S. Army Fort Sill in Oklahoma that a law enforcement agency in Texas working with the FBI had uncovered “disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web … regarding the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the release” date on October 4.
Speaking to KXAN, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command Chief of Public Affairs Chris Grey said that the source of the original information was the Texas Department of Public Safety Joint Crime Information Center.
In the email marked “For Official Use Only” that was distributed on September 18, service members were told to be aware of their surroundings and to “identify two escape routes” when entering theaters. If a shooting is to take place, soldiers must then “run, hide, fight.”
The memo explained:
“Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also known as ‘sheltering in place’), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
Grey noted that the Ft. Sill field office sent the original memo to a “select internal group” on Monday “out of an abundance of caution to help keep our Soldiers and their families safe.”
The email also warned about the online subculture of “incels” (a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates”), reports Gizmodo. Incels are known to harbor extreme and violent misogynistic and misanthropic outlooks—including sympathies toward the “alt-right” fascist movement—and have been tied to past mass shootings, including the 2014 Isla Vista killings. Incels have also been arrested after threatening to carry out massacres.
As the military’s email explains:
“Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theater shooter.”
The email added that incels “also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against bullies.”
The email is a clear reflection of the anxiety felt in some quarters about a potential repeat of the tragic 2012 mass shooting at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, which took place at a screening of another Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Twelve people were killed and seventy were injured in the incident. As the email noted, Aurora mass shooter James Holmes—along with other mass murderers—has become a subject of praise from some members of the incel fringe group.
During the Aurora shooting, Holmes was sporting bright dyed-orange hair and, according to since-debunked reports, called himself “the Joker” at the time of his arrest. However, the chief of Aurora’s police at the time maintains that “there is no evidence” Holmes ever said that.
The film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as the DC comics villain named Joker, has been praised for its realistic depiction of the titular character rather than retreading the typical cartoonish super-villain archetype depicted in other Batman films, comics, and television series. In the film, the Joker is depicted as a sort “angry virgin,” whose turn to villainy is a result of the mockery and bullying he encounters from his peers as well as his frustration over lacking attention or affection.
However, Joker has also been defended by critics from social media personalities who have characterized the film as supporting incel culture. As the Guardian film critic Christina Newland explained:
“The hand-wringing of cultural commentators is concerned that Joker might spark copycat violence or make the character a sort of folk hero for incels. It’s a possibility … Does The Wolf of Wall Street encourage people to go out and sell bad penny stocks? Does Scarface glamorize cocaine? How different is this from blaming gun violence on video games?”
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.