On June 18th, a post by an organization called “Left Behind USA” went viral on Facebook. It was an ad for a flag burning taking place on the 4th of July at the Gettysburg cemetery. Above the cartoon graphic of Old Glory going up in flames read the caption, “We’d like to thank some wonderful Antifa artists who will be on hand giving free face-painting and reading material to children who attend this event. We’ll also be giving away free small flags for children to safely throw into the fire.”

On Independence Day, hundreds of counter protesters carrying guns and confederate flags arrived at the cemetery. There were no protestors, just an empty cemetery. There was never going to be a protest. They had been fooled by a man named Adam Rahuba, an adamant Bernie Sanders supporter and social media troll. 

The event was funded by a GoFundMe where Rahuba claimed to be a man who could not work due to a failed suicide attempt. He raised $560 which we spent into buying images for his Gettysburg ad. 

Rahuba has a long history of trolling what he calls the ‘alt-right’. “I’ve found myself very annoyed with the rise of right-wing populism,” he said. “So I thought I’d do my own thing to push back against them.”

His way of “fighting back” may seem harmless in nature, but it’s not. The phone number included in the ad received hundreds of angry voicemails. One caller said he was “praying there is a mass shooting,” others directly threatened violence. 

The Gettysburg prank resulted in armed counter protestors swarming a pastor in a “Black Lives Matter” tee shirt, causing police to have to escort him away. Three years ago a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a revolver while responding to a similar Gettysburg flag-burning post by Rahuba. 

These dangerous hoaxes have caused some lawmakers to request intervention from law enforcement. 

The Washington Post reported:

This week, two members of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), wrote to the FBI and the CIA asking whether the agencies were investigating who was behind the Gettysburg hoax and similar false claims in nine other cities this summer.” “In an interview, Krishnamoorthi said he was concerned that responses to the hoaxes could “spiral out of control.”

Rahuba has a long history of trolling the far right. He has written under 13 aliases. 

In 2013 Rahuba created a website claiming to be a grassroots movement attempting to change the Constitution. He was promoting “Trayvon’s Amendment,” a gun control amendment which would severely limit gun ownership. Rahuba wrote under the pseudonym “George Cabeza,” and even made a YouTube video where he listed what the amendment would entail.

Under Trayvon’s Amendment the NRA (National Rifle Association) will be listed as a terrorist organization, the second amendment would be repealed, gun manufacturing would be slowed, and gun owners would be heavily taxed. 

The website gained enough traction to allow Rahuba to sell ads, making $3000 in a week. 

“Controversy creates cash,” Rahuba told the Washington Post

Perhaps Rahuba’s most famous hoax was the now deleted Twitter account @joinantifa he created with another troll. “Know any MAGA parents? Child Services will investigate any anonymous claim even without proof,” Rahuba wrote, “Child Service agents tend to be liberal.”

Twitter quickly disabled the account, but not before it was tweeted and retweeted by conservatives up-in-arms over being arrested for their political beliefs. 

We live in complicated times. America does not need any more division. 

Before you share something that seems too nutty to be true, really try to check it out with extreme diligence. Many of these hoaxes are devised by evil people who are driving us farther apart precisely at a time when our nation needs to come together.


Image Credit and Hat Tip: Washington Post

 

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.