I'm commenting on this because I knew some of these people (as co-users on this site), and I think that matters. And I think the basic theme here is "we're all reacting real time to something terrible and previously unimaginable."
This was "shadowdale". I respected and considered a good person (still do). I wouldn't read much at all into "waiting to see which country will be turned into the worlds largest parking lot." I'd consider that a very off-handed remark, not to be taken literally ... just a reference to the likelihood that the U.S. would be doing some
thing about this later. And it doesn't even point to any specific country or group.
Also, Civ 2 was the big game here at the time, and as a player in-game, if you voted to go to war with another civilization, the game itself said you were voting to "blast them back into the stone age." Shadowdale almost used in-game lingo there.
Also late-game included nukes and using them had consequences. This is in the mindset of the intended audience.
This was "GeneralHotRod". Didn't really know this one; rarely posted in Off-Topic and didn't stick around for very long, if I recall. Perhaps a "GeneralHotHead"? (see also below...)
And a post
a bit later referencing this rumor:
(To be fair, this guy repents later on in the thread, apologizing for this comment).
This was "Simon Darkshade". Definitely one of the "good guys." I respected and exchanged with him often.
You have to remember that EVERYTHING we were sharing that morning, anything we didn't see with our own eyes on video, were rumors. All of it. That's the nature of that thread. We can only label certain things as "rumors" now, and other things as "fact," in the hindsight of knowing all that we can know now.
And for both of the above, taking the possibility that ANYONE would celebrate such massive, horrible death, I totally get the visceral response in the neighborhood of "anyone who celebrates this -- any.one. -- themselves does not deserve to live." ... as a visceral response (without intent to act on it).
Many of us would like to think of ourselves as people who, if a Muslim country had a nuclear accident that killed thousands, we Americans (at least a decent % of us) would at least express some solidarity and sympathy for the losses, even after 9-11.
But back to the topic at hand, up to this point, I would not deem any of the above as overtly racist or otherwise inconsistent.
And a bit later
, after the ethnic slurs started being thrown around:
And this was "H Tower". Yeah, here is when we get into some racism. Not cool.
I didn't know this user very well. As best I can tell, "H.T" had just joined days earlier.
But to balance, in the same thread H.T. is rebutting true trolls putting out that the U.S. engineered this on purpose in order to start WW3. There are definitely some bad, bad apples in that thread, but I wouldn't but H.T. in that group.
I get his basic point that it sucks to be the "good guys" caring about innocent collateral damage / human shields (that only Ironman could deal with effectively ... years later in 2008 ... and I would bet that scene derived from this sentiment), and so maybe we
should be as bad as the bad guys, to level their advantage on us and deter further attacks (taking the position that we're too soft on such threats). But it definitely would have been much better to say that without the racism.
I don't agree with H.T.'s point, BTW. I'm not "an eye for an eye" kind of guy.
This is the same premise used in pop culture super hero movies as far back as at least Superman II -- "he actually cares about these [humans]" -- that the good guys try to avoid any collateral loss of life at all, and it puts them in a bad situation when innocents are used by the "bad guys." But if we are going to be the good guys, we also have to care.
As it turns out, we became "bad guys" using waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay, until whistle-blowers supposedly put a stop to that ... and made us "better guys?"
All in all, it thought you were going to call out the true crazies in that thread ... users we already knew were crazies, because they were ALWAYS trolls on every topic ... even back before we ever used that term.