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Meme Factories Are Fighting Over Who Gets Credit For A School Shooting In Mexico

An anonymous Facebook group called "Holk Legion" is in the spotlight in Mexico after a teen may have used it to announce his intent to kill.

Posted on January 19, 2017, at 5:36 p.m. ET

The news that broke in Mexico on Wednesday morning seemed downright foreign to most people reading it: A shooting had taken place at the Colegio Americano del Noreste in Monterrey.

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

A 15-year-old student at the school, which caters to children from preschool to middle school, wounded four people before turning his gun on himself in an attack that authorities called "unprecedented" for Mexico.

“This event makes us all worried and anxious about what is happening in a society where a young person dares to hurt his classmates,” Nuevo León governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón said during a press conference, adding that the shooter’s motive was still under investigation.

Soon after, the hashtag #MásMasacresEnMéxico began trending as people shared grief — and began looking for answers.


Some Twitter users eventually came to the conclusion that some kind of weird sect or cult called "Legion Holk" was behind the shooting.


But the Holk Legion isn't a cult. It's not a terrorist organization. It's a Facebook community, filled with memes that eventually make their way onto the mainstream Mexican internet.

Legión Holk

It's one of several closed groups that BuzzFeed Mexico has been following for a while now — like this one, this one, this one, this one and this one — where young people get together to share and create memes.

All you have to do join is create a fake account — it's a requirement to make sure that communication in these groups is totally anonymous, which leads to some truly awful "jokes."

Secta Mantequilla

"We are joining the dumb train," this poster wrote after the shooting. "Stop criticizing, this page contains dark humor and THAT’S IT. Maybe it’s not an excuse, and it was a tragedy, but… don’t take it the wrong way, it’s done and your tears won’t solve anything."

Think of the horror show that is 4chan with all its terrible people — some of whom take advantage of anonymity to carry out illegal activities — but in Spanish.

Clan Mantequilla

"Can someone send me the baby video? I have cp [child porn] to exchange."

On Tuesday night at 11:14, a user with the same name as the shooter revealed his plan in the Holk Legion group.

Legion Holk

Another anonymous thread on Hispachan, another board filled with memes, says that the idea for the massacre was first born there.


The claim appeared to be backed by a screenshot posted on Twitter, showing a supposed post from the shooter that was posted before the attack took place.

And because the internet is terrible, the boards began arguing about just who can claim credit for the tragedy.


Back on Holk Legion, posters began to pay homage to the shooter. (But grain of salt: This is all posted on a secret forum with no way to check most of the claims that are posted.)

Legion Holk

That said, this post is pretty horrific: "The morning of January 18 of today, our colleague started the shooting, just as we had planned, with a .22 caliber rifle that we helped him buy with the help of other members of our beloved legion holk. We didn’t make a mistake choosing him, even though a lot of people thought he would chicken out. But as you see, he didn’t disappoint us and accomplished his task. REST IN PEACE [redacted]. You will live in our memories and you died as a legend."

It isn't just random people posting commemorative words: A Holk Legion account on Twitter also praised the shooter.

Twitter: @holk_legion4

"We are willing to continue with this, it’s time you feel fear," the account tweeted, claiming to be the group's official account. "We are Legión Holk. RT. #MoreMassacresInMexico,"

Addressing the press after the shooting, a state security spokesperson blamed the internet for the tragic act.

Twitter/ @mileniotv

But the internet doesn't exist in a vacuum. Behind these forums there are people who make up part of a society.

This post was translated from Spanish.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.