Marine’s Plot to “Cause Mayhem on the White Community” Uncovered 

Gordon Donovan /
Gordon Donovan /

Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Cobb, 23, of Trenton, New Jersey, has been charged with posting statements about his “interest” in becoming a serial killer and causing “mayhem” in the “white community.” 

He expressed his intention to target white individuals because, as a Black man, he believed they would never understand his struggles. He stated that although he would never understand their challenges, he had no interest in doing so. His goal was to erase as many white Americans as he could, particularly on dates significant to their race. 

While he never explicitly named what dates these would be, he admitted online to planning an incident in 2023 in New Jersey. The disturbing post explained that he had already acquired firearms and scouted a location where the victims would be unarmed and unable to stop his attack. These locations included an Aldi grocery store and a local gym.  

He later canceled his plans, he explained in a later post, because he needed more ammo. “100% someday. Just not yet, though. I want to continue training and buying more ammunition,” Cobb wrote. He lamented the fact that he had been unable to acquire more firearms ahead of his planned attack, promising that “one day” he would have the financial resources to do so. 

He continued his posts throughout 2023, each more disturbing than the last. He promised future attacks and discussed the rush he would feel shooting his victims. He also said he hoped to be a serial killer because he hated his life and wanted others to “feel his pain.” The posts also suggested that he would leave clues for those investigating the incidents and declared that the only way out for him was “bloodshed.” 

Cobb joined the Marines and started basic training in the summer of 2023. He had been stationed in California before his arrest. On Friday, May 10, 2024, he was arrested and accused of transmitting a threatening message across state and international borders. He faces a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. 

Media coverage and online platforms, especially social media, contribute to spreading extremist ideas. On platforms like Twitter, groups can quickly spread their messages to many people, reinforcing their beliefs. Online anonymity can make it easier for people to become radicalized, as they can express extreme views without consequences. Social media also helps people find validation and belonging in extremist communities.  

When the media covers extremist events, they can unintentionally make things worse by sensationalizing stories or framing them in a biased way, which can divide people further. Echo chambers online, where people only hear opinions like their own, make it hard to see other perspectives and can lead to more extreme views. Social media algorithms can also push people toward extremist content, and closed online groups can reinforce these ideas.  

As pro-Palestinian campus protestors become more emboldened by a lack of accountability for their actions, it’s not a stretch to wonder when radical antisemitism will turn violent in America. In Los Angeles, a group displaying Palestinian flags targeted Jewish diners at a restaurant, while in New York City, home to a sizable Jewish population, Orthodox Jews faced similar acts of violence.  

Social media platforms played a notable role in exacerbating tensions, with references to pro-Nazi hashtags seeing a recent surge. Online spaces, acting as echo chambers, amplify extremist views and contribute to the radicalization process. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported a staggering 75% increase in anti-Semitism incidents during this period. Consequently, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York City have heightened police patrols to address the heightened visibility and vulnerability of their communities. 

And through it all, some of our elected leaders encourage actions that will undoubtedly empower these radicals to act without fear of reprisal. Whether it’s encouraging racial divide through Critical Race Theory, telling the Black community that they are oppressed by white Americans, or ignoring a simmering protest movement that is about to boil over, the Biden administration seems to welcome and encourage violence and radical extremism.