May 5, 2019
Swastika Leaflets Dropped From Drones In California, Calling Press 'The Enemy'

Drones dropped leaflets emblazoned with swastikas and messages calling the press the enemy on multiple California events near Sacramento, The Sacramento Bee reports. On Friday one drone flew over "Bites on the Bridge," a Sacramento State University event. The drone dropped leaflets calling the press "the enemy" and calling to "stop the TV whore takeover!"

Providing some insight into the origin of the troubling leaflets falling from the sky was a name appearing with a copyright symbol on one corner of some of the materials. The name is Tracy Mapes, who has been identified as a Sacramento resident ho has been arrested before for dropping similar leaflets at sporting events.

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen released a statement condemning the leaflets.

"Sacramento State condemns in the strongest terms the dissemination of hate speech and propaganda Friday evening at our annual fundraising dinner on the Guy West Bridge," Nelsen wrote in the statement, which was posted on Facebook.

"The anonymous act of spreading such vile material is offensive and runs counter to the principles of inclusion and diversity practiced at Sac State. It did not stop the event, nor will it slow our march toward greater understanding and commitment to the rights and safety of our campus community," Nelsen continued.

Leaflets were also dropped later that day at the venue for an Ariana Grande concert as well as near the state capital itself.

In 2017, Mapes was arrested after flying a drone over a San Francisco 49ers game in Santa Clara. Police at the time reported that the leaflets included messages about free speech and that they condemned local television news.

The most recently dropped leaflets include terminology that is clearly evocative of statements made repeatedly by President Donald Trump, including the characterization of the press as the enemy and the use of the words "fake news."

"The press is the enemy! Fourth Estate, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Column," one leaflet says in all capital letters, followed by "1st Amendment S.O.S."

In addition, the leaflets indiscriminately decry (or at least mention) organized crime, drugs, prostitution, and fascism. They also included reference to "The Red X Society" and included links to an associated Twitter profile and Facebook page, including the stylized logos for each social media platform.

Despite the publicity garnered from news coverage and social media commentary generated by the leaflet drops, at the time of the writing, "The Red X Society" Twitter page has just two followers.