Vishal P. Singh
It's only been two weeks since the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Leave Our Kids Alone marched on Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters with Proud Boys, anti-gay slurs, and Nazi salutes. The same activists and extremists have spent months working to strip LGBTQ+ youth in local schools of basic civil rights. Days before their big march, far-right religious zealot Travis Ikeguchi, who supported the Leave Our Kids Alone movement on social media, shot and killed local business owner Laura Ann Carleton for displaying a Pride flag at her storefront.
Now: far-right provocateur and January 6th Capitol rioter Chaya Raichik, also known as Libs of TikTok, is aiding this violent escalation of anti-LGBTQ+ terror. Raichik, armed with her 2.5 million devoted followers, regularly targets educators and medical providers who support LGBTQ+ youth or merely display Pride flags— not unlike Southern California's recent anti-LGBTQ+ murderer Travis Ikeguchi, who would post on Twitter/X about getting blocked by various schools he trolled for supporting LGBTQ+ rights. There is an online pipeline here that leads to real world violence. And not just in Ikeguchi's case.
Raichik's defamatory and bigoted harassment campaigns have been linked to multiple bomb threats against Boston Children's Hospital, an Oregon Health & Science University clinic, Northwest Junior High in Iowa, Chabot Elementary in California, Ellen Ochoa Elementary in Oklahoma, and more. It's a significant amount of bomb threats to follow up Raichik's campaigns. In one instance, Union Public Schools near Tulsa reported dealing with bomb threats for six school days consecutively after Oklahoma superintendent of public schools Ryan Walters reposted a Libs of TikTok video targeting an elementary school librarian in the state. The latest school district in her crosshairs is none other than Los Angeles Unified School District. Raichik shared a flyer and a Zoom meeting ID code for a virtual after school LGBTQ+ educational club within the district for students and their loved ones. Even though the club is completely optional, Raichik warns her riled up believers that Los Angeles educators are "coming for your kids."
Her post has amassed hundreds of comments and the vast majority of them are brimming with anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech. And naturally: a few of her most fringe commenters called for Los Angeles Unified School District staff members to be executed. One user responded to Raichik saying, "quick trial and death penalty." Another user, describing themselves as a right-wing extremist, told Raichik that this was "civilian death penalty worthy." A third user was a lot more blunt, simply telling Raichik: "lynch them all!"
There's a phrase for what Raichik is doing here, according to experts at the Scientific American. This incitement of death threats and bomb threats against educators and medical providers by weaponizing hate and disgust of hundreds of thousands of people— knowing that a handful of them could be radicalized enough to commit so-called lone wolf acts of violence: this is stochastic terrorism. A label Raichik has not only specifically mocked, but even jokingly described herself with. But this is no joking matter. Stochastic terrorism is real and we are seeing its consequences metastasize. It's what incited Ikeguchi's Pride flag murder. It's what incited Raichik herself to join thousands of Trump supporters to lay siege to the United States Capitol in an attempt to overturn an election. And it's what will undoubtedly incite the next act of violent terror against the LGBTQ+ community.