A white man from Florida (you already know what kind of story this is about to be) has earned himself nearly three and a half years in prison for cyberstalking and threatening a Black Lives Matter activist who planned on running for public office.
The Associated Press reports that 32-year-old Daniel McMahon of Brandon, Fla., pleaded guilty in April to threatening Black activist Don Gathers to keep him from running for a seat on the city council in Charlottesville, Va. McMahon—who reportedly called himself “the Antifa hunter” and made a habit out of using social media to harass people who oppose white supremacy—was sentenced Monday to three years and five months in federal prison for cyberstalking and bias-motivated intimidation and interference with a candidate for elected office.
Let’s take a second and talk about McMahon’s self-gifted moniker, “the Antifa hunter.”
Antifa isn’t a real organization; it’s more of an ideal. But lately, the non-organization has become conservative’s favorite boogeyman group and “Antifa” has become an umbrella term they use for literally any non-conservative person caught doing something violent or otherwise menacing in the eyes of crazy-ass right-wingers. That’s why, despite there being no real evidence of an organized Antifa movement, y’all’s president still talks about it like it’s a multi-cell terrorist organization coming to loot your stores, burn your homes, reverse-gentrify your suburbs, steal your elections and replace literally everything with “illegal” brown people.
I’m not saying that Trump and other far-right influencers are at least partially responsible for the Daniel McMahons of the world...I’m just saying.
It’s also worth mentioning that “Antifa” is short for “anti-fascist.” Imagine calling yourself “the anti-fascist hunter” and believing that you’re the hero in any scenario.
According to the Washington Post, Gathers—who eventually decided to end his run for a city council seat due to concerns for his and his family’s safety—told McMahon during the virtual sentencing hearing Monday that he hopes one day he might be able to forgive him but “today is not that day.”
“I despise all that you and others like you represent,” Gathers said.
From the Post:
McMahon began targeting Gathers, 61, in January 2019 after the co-founder of Charlottesville’s Black Lives Matter chapter announced his intent to run for public office. Gathers had also served on a committee dedicated to relocating Confederate statues in the wake of the deadly white supremacist Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.
McMahon, using the pseudonym Jack Corbin, began posting threats on Gab, a social media website popular with far-right users. He used racist slurs, called Gathers a “terrorist” and warned him not to run for office. McMahon also said he’d use “a diversity of tactics” to stop his candidacy, a phrase known by white supremacists as a euphemism for violence, according to court documents.
Before his campaign kickoff event on Jan. 8, 2019, the FBI notified Gathers of McMahon’s threats, the AP reported. The FBI had been tracking McMahon’s activities online under several pseudonyms, since an investigation into white supremacist activity at the Unite the Right rally.
Besides the fact that “diversity tactics” are clearly the only kind of diversity McMahon is interested in, he also appears to be the kind of monster parents everywhere would do well to keep their children far away from. According to AP, McMahon admitted to threatening to sexually assault the autistic daughter of a North Carolina woman who protested white nationalism and was present during the virtual hearing and allowed to tell her story along with other victims of McMahon’s online harassment.
After McMahon’s arrest, the North Carolina woman called federal prosecutors to report that he had threatened her and her daughter, a severely autistic minor, over Facebook and tried to extort personal information from her about another counterprotester.
The woman said McMahon sent her hundreds of threatening messages, including some detailing how he would sexually assault her daughter. He posted the girl’s photo on a racist social media platform, she added. He also did a Google search for the term “sex with autistic girls” a day before his arrest, according to a court filing.
“Only a deeply disturbed individual would do this, a monster,” the woman wrote. “I will never feel completely safe about my child again.”
Prosecutors said that investigators found a multitude of files on McMahon’s computer that reveal his love for white supremacy and his hatred for all things non-white supremacy. According to AP, those files include 278 folders with the word “owned” in the title (each file represents a different target for online harassment), personal information about those targets, including images of their children and graphic photos of dead Black men, including lynching victims and Trayvon Martin. He also had images of white supremacist James Fields plowing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., during which a woman was killed.
So here’s to throwing away the trash. The world will be a better place for three years and five months without McMahon walking around free in it.