In Janury 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette entered a Quebec City mosque and open-fired, killing six men and women in the process. This attack is now being called the most heinous act in Canadian history, with prosecutors pushing for Bissonnette to receive 150 years in prison. The official sentencing happens in September, but the determination is clear: it will be a lifetime sentence without parole.

Throughout the hearings, a common thread was noted by prosecutors and journalists alike — the killer was a Ben Shapiro super-fan. In the days leading up to the mass shooting, Bissonnette intensively studied Shapiro’s content. “There are 680 million radical muslims worldwide,” Shapiro has claimed. “They (muslims) want to kill anyone that doesn’t think like president Obama. By the time we realize this it will be too late. There are already 500,000 radical muslims in the USA alone.”

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List of most visited Twitter profiles by the shooter

This is a serious issue that has implications far past this sentencing. An anti-hate activist who has secretly embedded herself in the online community of Ben Shapiro super-fandom spoke with Bernard Media anonymously to protect her identity. She told Bernard Media, “Bissonnette would likely never have walked into the mosque that day and murdered those people if he hadn’t been studying Shapiro’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. The shooter had mental illness and access to deadly weapons, but also the shooter was under the influence of Shapiro and other fear mongers who regularly traffic in what many consider hate speech.”

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Shapiro denied prosecutors allegations of incitement on Fox News. “I have 1.4 million Twitter followers, so I guess the idea from the left is that if somebody views enough of my tweets they’re inevitably going to become a terrorist.”

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Online extremism experts that spoke confidentially to Bernard Media begged to differ with Shapiro. “Ben may not be solely responsible, but he certainly played a vital role here. The shooter reviewed his content extensively in the days leading up to the shooting. It had some effect, the extent of that effect is what should be examined.” The expert continued, “Ben made the point that he has millions of followers and just one being mentally ill does not make him an accomplice to murder, but what if there are more like Bissonnette? What if Ben is inciting his followers to take action with his words? This is going to be a serious issue going forward. More cases will most likely arise.”

Shapiro’s incitement of the Quebec City shooter is an open, on-going Bernard Media investigation. More information will be provided as it is made available.

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