Before his attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the alleged gunman posted a manifesto online saying he was inspired by white extremist terrorism in the United States, Italy, Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom. His references to other extremist attacks put him in an unofficial network of white terrorists around the world whose violence is becoming increasingly frequent in the Western world.
On Wednesday,The New York Times released an analysis of recent terrorism attacks and concluded that at least 33 percent of white extremist murderers over the past eight years received inspiration from others who had performed similar attacks. The killers expressed either reverence for one another or an interest in each other's tactics. Their connections span across continents and oceans, highlighting the extent to which social media and the Internet have served as breeding grounds for spreading racist, extremist ideology.
In one occasion, a school shooter from New Mexico contacted a gunman who shot civilians in Munich. Between the two of them, they killed 11 people.
According to J.M. Berger, a research fellow with academic program to research online extremism VOX-Pol and author of the book "Extremism," a Norway attack in 2011 served as inspiration for many recent acts of extremist violence. Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 in a bombing and shooting, but before he committed the heinous acts, he wrote a long manifesto outlining what he perceived as the "threat" of immigration and Islam.
“I think that Breivik was a turning point, because he was sort of a proof of concept as to how much an individual actor could accomplish,” Berger said. “He killed so many people at one time operating by himself, it really set a new bar for what one person can do.”