One of these featured an unidentified protester holding up a transgender rights placard with a threatening message which was later revealed to have had no connection to the tragedy at all.
The attack has exposed differing views on gun control, healthcare, and civil rights with the White House pressing for an “assault weapons ban.”
At the same time, some conservative pundits called into question the role of gender-affirming medication – although such theories remain unsubstantiated.
In moments like these, it is crucial that we are mindful about what information is shared, trusted, and believed, as this can potentially lead to further misconceptions and misrepresentations.
The post by the account Chicago Patriots erroneously claiming a woman holding a sign that read “TRANS RIGHTS…OR ELSE,” complete with images of five different guns, was the Nashville shooter caused quite a stir.
Talk of controversial comedian Sam Hyde being the unnamed shooter further complicated matters, though those claims were later discredited.
This prompted Chicago Patriots to issue a correction and call for to “wholesome trans people” to speak out against “the radical trans,” i.e., the sign-holder in that original photo.
It’s yet another example of too much information being disseminated without proper verification and highlights the need for accurate reporting when tragedies such as this occur.
In 2015, users on 4chan began posting photographs of Mark Hyde on social media and incorrectly attributing him to several mass shootings, leading the perception that he had been a gunman.
The meme went viral in October of that year when CNN mistakenly put his picture up in a display about an Oregon college shooter.
Since then, Hyde’s image has been utilized wrongly in connection to other shootings like those in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs.
The latest incident involving Hyde occurred in 2022 when Payton Gendron, an accused white nationalist, included a picture of Hyde in his manifesto before carrying out an attack where 10 Black people were fatally shot.
It’s unclear why Gendron chose to include Hyde’s photo; however, what can be gleaned is that this false meme runs deep through society and still pervades even today.
Reacting to the horrific Nashville school attack, Ron Filipkowski, a Twitter user with over 700,000 followers, posted about the Hyde meme that has spread like wildfire across right-wing social media.
His tweet reads: “They just flood the zone with b*. This has been all over right-wing social media this afternoon.”
His message serves as an urgent reminder of how dangerous and destructive memes can be if they go unchecked.
In light of this tragedy, it is now more important than ever that we recognize and reject toxic messages shared by those on the right who might want to foment hatred or further radical views.