Baton Rouge Shooter Gavin Eugene Long Was Nation Of Islam Member, Railed Against ‘Crackers’ On YouTube ChannelBut he got there by a circuitous route. He spent a long time obsessed with self-help and self-improvement, and wanted -- in an almost Trump-like way -- to sell his alleged greatness to other seekers of human perfection:
... Videos on Long’s account show that he was a former Nation of Islam member. He also ranted against “crackers” and made references to Alton Sterling, the black man killed by police in Baton Rouge on July 5.
... Long, who was reportedly carrying a rifle and wearing all-black attire when he confronted police, posted several videos within recent weeks discussing various police-involved shootings.
“If I would have been there with Alton -- clap,” Long says in a video posted on July 14.
The suspect in the fatal shooting of three Baton Rouge cops maintained a robust social media presence and a website called Convos With Cosmo in which he describes himself as a "freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor."Long called himself Cosmo Ausar Setepenra. Under the name Cosmo Setepenra, he self-published The Cosmo Way: A W(H)olistic Guide for the Total Transformation of Melanated People (volumes 1 and 2) and The Laws of the Cosmos: Wisely Follow or Blindly Suffer -- The Definitive Law Guide To Spiritual Success. On the Amazon page for The Laws of the Cosmos, he wrote this:
... The website also references to a second portal promoting his life-coach business and includes Amazon links to three self-published books under the brand "The Cosmo Way."
You are about to embark on an amazing journey toward self-awareness, self-actualization and self-empowerment. The knowledge within these pages can transform your life. I know, because it transformed mine.The rules are, well, a bit wacky:
As a young man I had a spiritual revelation and traveled to Africa—my ancestral homeland. My spiritual journey took me across the continent where I was taught by native spiritual practitioners and elder holistic healers. In Africa I was spiritually directed to gather the laws of the universe. They are the principles that govern every aspect of life. The universe exists in perfect harmony by virtue of these laws. They control and dictate what science calls energy, and what religions call God. If you understand the laws that govern Y.O.U. (Your Own Universe), you can manipulate, shape, and mold them to your liking. I have compiled these 124 Universal Laws and their use in The Laws of The Cosmos.
These laws are the rules to The Game of Life. Mastering them will help you succeed in all aspects of life. The Laws of The Cosmos is a credible, and authentic source of wisdom and guidance that anyone can use to create whatever it is they desire to have or become.
He claimed to have traveled in Africa and to have learned from a number of African and Afrocentric teachers:
He said his adopted first name, Cosmo, meant "relating to the world or the universe." Ausar is an alternate form of the name of the Egyptian god Osiris. Setepenra (or Setepenre) was a daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti.
But that's not the only source of Long's worldview. He was obsessed with being an "alpha" -- a term common in the "men's rights" and pickup artist cultures, and familiar to those (now rampant in Trump world) who use "cuck" as a slur against those who are allegedly too "beta" to stick up for themselves. Being an "alpha" was very important to him:
Several of his posts on his website include misogynistic themes about being an “alpha male.” ...The righrt wants to link Long to Black Lives Matter, but Long specifically rejected protest -- BLM's main tactic -- as inappropriate for an alpha male:
Uniting the Entrepreneur and the Alpha Male as One= “The ALPHA PRENEUR”. Convos With Cosmo is the worlds foremost authority on “Alpha Preneurism”. It is an Open Conversation on what it means to be an Alpha Preneur (an ALPHA male/female ENTREPRENEUR). I examine Alphahood in an Educational and Entertaining way….EDUTAINMENT. However, I do so in a NO nonsense approach; Were waging war against Bitchassness, Beta-Males, Complainers and Blamers, Purposeless and Pussy Whipped Men. And anything else that would keep a Man from walking in his complete and full masculinity. Mission Statement: For the absolute annihilation and reformation away from Bitchassness behavior; And for the complete and total reclamation of Alphahood.
He called protesting “emotional” and “for the women.”Long seemed susceptible to pretty much anything that seemed to offer the Secret Key to the Universe:
Long officially filed paperwork in Jackson County, Missouri, last year declaring himself Cosmo Ausar Setepenra, a "sovereign citizen" of the United Washitaw De Dugdahmoundyah Mu'ur nation, a loosely affiliated network of mostly African Americans who claim to be Native American and don't believe the U.S. government has jurisdiction over them.The Southern Poverty Law Center reported on this group in 1999:
It was the night of the "high waters" on the Louisiana bayou when the "empress of the Washitaw" was born. A levee on the Mississippi had broken, and a swirling, stinking flood was raging outside as she burst from her mother's womb onto the cold, cement floor of a public courthouse. Within seconds, the empress says, there was a sign.The story gets wilder from there, and it seems to be a story of someone who concocted a scam out of dubious cosmology -- and, years later, sold the notion to, among other people, another person who claimed to have uncovered hidden esoteric secrets, Gavin Long.
"I was born in my placenta," Her Highness explains. "I kicked out of it on my own, and then [the placenta] rolled up on my head like a crown."
And so, on that stormy night 72 years ago, Verdiacee Turner -- the woman who would one day call herself Empress Verdiacee "Tiari" Washitaw-Turner Goston El-Bey -- came into this world.
She didn't know it then, but after stints as a civil rights activist, a small-town mayor, an accused embezzler and an amateur historian, she would, she says, finally find her rightful place as supreme ruler of the ancient, 30 million-acre empire known as Washitaw De Dugdahmoundyah -- the Washitaw Moorish Nation....
Using something called the Sanctuary Christian Resource Center as an agent, Washitaw Nation has sold a cornucopia of dubious common-law products -- including "driver's licenses" and "registrations" that have turned up in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania.
The specifics are quite different, but Long, to me, seems similar to Charles Manson, who also turned to self-help:
In his book, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson, author Jeff Guinn credits [Dale] Carnegie training with transforming Manson from “a low-level pimp” to the “frighteningly effective sociopath” who created a cult of killers in the late 1960s. Manson took classes in “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” based on Carnegie’s iconic book, while doing time for car theft in a California federal prison in 1957. ”It was critical in shaping how he manipulated people,” says Guinn, noting that the young convict told people he’d enrolled to get strangers to open up to him.Manson, like Long, pretended to understand truths known only to a few. Both men fell for the homegrown Nietzscheanism of self-help, which encouraged them to believe that they could be superior human beings who could have followers at their feet. Both of them eventually turned to mass murder not so much out of deeply rooted political anger than because it reinforced their sense of their own superiority to other people.
Manson became especially obsessed with Chapter Seven, on how to get cooperation, and often practiced key lines in his cell, a former prison mate told Guinn. Carnegie’s advice -- ”Let the other fellow feel that the idea is his” -- became vital in helping him recruit and control a band composed mostly of young women. Former “Family” members Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten (who was denied her 20th bid for parole last month) both say Manson mastered the technique: Not only did he often solicit and praise his followers’ advice, he was careful to frame every killing as a Family decision.
The right-wing view of Long isn't wrong exactly. But it's not the whole story.