Here is the written threat that led to an arrest. The FBI concluded that it was real. What does the language tell us?
That the FBI arrested him is not in question: they must take extra caution with the "better safe than sorry" view in mind. We are looking not about justifying the arrest, but understanding the one making the threat. It was left at "worldstarhiphop.com" which is known for publishing fights, especially between black women where men watch, video, and do not intervene, instead yell, "world star! world star!", indicating that it will receive publication.
Question for analysis: Is it a real threat?
“This is my only warning. At 10AM Monday morning, I’m going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago. I will be armed with an M-4 carbine and two desert eagles, all fully loaded. I will execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time McDonald was killed. I will then die killing any number of white policeman in the process. This is not a joke. I am to do my part and rid the world of white devils. I expect you do the same.”
Here is the same statement broken down for analysis. We seek to learn if the threat is real regardless of detail. For us, if the threat to kill is real, for example, and the writer does not posses a specific weapon, he could still commit violence in another way. Therefore, intent to harm is important to the analysis. We will use (+) to signal 'strength while (-) to signal weakness.
It is 93 words. 32 words are used before the violence.
“This is my only warning.
1 It does not begin with the pronoun "I"
Where one begins is very important and often establishing a priority. The first statement tells us that there is a doubt in the subject's mind of being taken seriously so he wants his audience to know that this will be his only threat. This presupposes doubt, in his mind, by his audience.
We note that he did not being the statement with the pronoun "I"
Statements that begin with the pronoun "I" show a marked increase in reliability.
The word "this" indicates closeness, with the topic being his "warning."
The first thing we note is that the subject believes his audience will doubt him, (-) and that it does not being with the pronoun "I" (-)
At 10AM Monday morning, I’m going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago.
This next sentence using the pronoun "I", and has no additional language. He gives a specific location (+) and it is very likely that at the time of his writing, this is his intention. It is his intention which can change. It could change shortly after writing, or it could be a last minute change, but we do not see any weakness in his intention. It is very likely that this was his intention; whether armed or not, whether as killer or spectator.
I will be armed with an M-4 carbine and two desert eagles, all fully loaded.
Here we have him showing specific intention of having an M-4 carbine (note the use of the article "an"), which is strong, yet we then have the unnecessary "fully loaded" added. If this is going to be a "world star" violence, the weapon would have to be loaded.
He has used 32 words of 93 to get to "execution", which is a lengthy introduction.
I will execute approximately 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time McDonald was killed.
Note that he does not say he will "shoot" them, since he is "fully loaded" but will "execute" them.
It will be 16 while males students and, or staff and gives the reason for the number: "McDonald."
Please note that the shooter of McDonald is in jail, facing murder charges and not free. He is facing justice.
Does the subject know this?
Note that he only uses the last name, "McDonald" and not the first name.
The victim's first name is distinctly black or African-Amerian as it is, " Laquan."
Since he introduced race with "white" male students, would you have expected to hear "Laquan" in his language?
Also, since this is about "race", would you expect only "males" to be "executed?"
Question for analyst: Is the subject showing genuine racial anger?
I will then die killing any number of white policeman in the process.
In a fire fight, with him being "fully loaded" and only shooting white "males", he will now die while killing the discriminated victims:
This is to claim the ability to control the firefight. Given the use of the proper article above, we may conclude that this is not someone who suffers from low intelligence.
This is not a joke.
This is in the negative and it is in the free editing process making it very important. It should be understood with the initial statement where he would not be giving any more warnings. (-)
I am to do my part and rid the world of white devils. I expect you do the same.”
He posted this on a website that highlights black violence for entertainment but he does not show strong, angry racism that could translate into a threat as he describes.
Although it may hurt the feelings of the racially sensitive, this subject does not show harsh venomous emotion towards whites. He claims that this is his part of ridding the world of "white devils" while limiting his role, in spite of impressive weaponry, to just 16 of them, and, perhaps, a few white police males.
It is best to arrest him for making this threat, but I do not believe that, even if a gun owner, he was going to go through with this, nor does he show the rage associated with either a loss of control, or a strong commitment. That he would "execute" rather than "kill" or "shoot", is the language of control. One can "execute" while having control, but in a shoot out with victims running and police responding, it is a spraying of bullets intending to kill.
Conclusion: This is not a genuine racially motivated killing spree about to happen.
I wonder if the subject actually has racial hatred.
The FBI did the right thing, however, in arresting him.
What did the FBI tell the school?
We do not know, but for some readers, this statement by the school president, Robert Zimmer will be in agreement with the analysis:
"Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday."
Had the threat been stronger the closing might have been based upon it, without need of "recent tragic events..."