Marine Arrested for Mass Shooting Plot Picked 'Gun-Free Zone' as Target

AP Photo/Martha Irvine

A 23-year-old Marine from Trenton, New Jersey is facing federal charges after repeatedly discussing his plans for a mass shooting targeting white people, and one of those statements indicates he had picked out a "gun free zone" where the attack would take place. 


According to federal prosecutors, Joshua Cobb first started talking about his plans on social media in November, 2022, several months before he enlisted in the Marines. It's unclear why Cobb wasn't arrested until last week, but prosecutors say he made several posts over the past 18 months where he discussed his plans to "cause mayhem on the White community."

"The reason I specifically want to target White people is because, as a black male, they will NEVER understand my struggles," he wrote in one, per the USAO. "Same way I will never understand their struggles, but I don’t care to. I want to erase them. All of them really, but in this case as many as I possibly can."

Cobb also debated over a date — saying, "I am going to be sure it is close to an important holiday to their race."

"As of today I have officially began planning my attack. It is going to take place in 2023 in the state of New Jersey, I have not chosen a exact date but I am going to be sure it is close to an important holiday to their race. I have a location in mind already which I have frequented for the past year and I am certain nobody there is armed to be able to stop me from spraying them to the ground. I have already acquired 2 of the 4 firearms I plan to use for my attack, and I also know my entry and exit points already after the mayhem," the post continued.

"I am certain nobody there is armed to be able to stop me from spraying them to the ground." Like most mass murderers, Cobb wasn't looking for a fair fight. He wasn't interested in waging war. He wanted a slaughter, and he certainly didn't want to run the risk of an armed citizen stopping him before he could carry out his plans. 


Prosecutors say Cobb continued to post about his plans on social media throughout the first few months of 2023; at one point stating that he'd postponed his planned attack so he could get more ammunition. 

"Tbh I hope I do progress into a serial killer because I f—- hate life man... But one day everyone will suffer. I promise I will make everyone feel my f—- pain. My deep, sincere, raw, & sharp pain," he wrote in another message.

"There is no way out for me," he wrote in another. "The only way out is bloodshed."

"Just wait man. Remember [my username]. [I] will leave clues when im done," he said in two posts. "I’m just leaving evidence for whoever investigates my case."

It's unclear how far along Cobb was with his plan, but it's obvious that he had given a lot of thought to the details, and one of the most important factors in his obsession was ensuring that his victims would be utterly defenseless when he opened fire. 

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the vast majority of active shooting attacks take place in locations where lawful concealed carry is banned, but anti-gunners insist that these "sensitive places" should be omnipresent in our society. When California adopted a multitude of "gun free zones", for instance, the U.S. District Judge who granted an injunction against enforcing many of the locations concluded the law, "turns nearly every public place in California into a 'sensitive place,' effectively abolishing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and exceptionally qualified citizens to be armed and to defend themselves in public." 


Someone intent on slaughtering complete strangers isn't going to be stopped by a sign that says "no guns allowed". As Cobb's social media posts indicate, if anything, they're actively looking for those signs because it represents a target-rich environment where they can carry out their attack without fear of facing returning fire. 

Cobb's arrest should be a wake-up call for New Jersey politicians who are doing everything in their power to prevent citizens from bearing arms in self-defense. I suspect, however, that they'll continue to bury their heads in the sand, proclaim that more gun control is the answer, and continue to infringe on our right to armed self-defense by pretending our disarmament is necessary for public safety.

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