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The Internet Is Now Part of the Crime Scene 145

theodp (442580) writes "Over at Forbes, Kashmir Hill examines the disturbing Internet footprint of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger. 'A decade ago,' observes TechCrunch's John Biggs in The Internet Is Now Part Of The Crime Scene, 'a crime scene was a photo and a report. Now it is a sea of interconnected tracings, the murderer bobbing loosely in social media and the forums. We can watch him make his way through these straits, we can watch the madness growing, and we can watch his terrible end, all through murk of media. We are quick to judge and we are quick to look at his wake and say, definitively, that he was this or he was that. He was frustrated. The frustration grew. He went to a place he thought would help. It didn't.'"
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The Internet Is Now Part of the Crime Scene

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  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:55AM (#47092377) Homepage Journal

    ..the places where he made the shootings and possibly where he prepared.

    the internet is not a "crime scene"(for this) any more than the postal system and newspaper opinion pieces were 30 years ago..

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:08AM (#47092447)
    Exactly. I don't see how this is any different than interviewing a person's neighbors, family, coworkers like they did 15 years ago (and still do now). Or reading the person's journal, or notes or manifesto they left behind. The only difference is that these were private, whereas now anyone can post whatever they like on the internet for people to see. But youtube or blogs are essentially nothing more than the 21st century version of the manifesto or suicide note.
  • Double-Edged Sword (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:12AM (#47092475) Homepage

    Like pretty much any invention mankind has ever come up with, the Internet can help or hurt. If someone is feeling upset over something, they can turn to friends online for help and can get assistance, support, and guidance through their troubled times. Or, if they aren't as lucky or don't look in the right places, they can find abuse hurled at them, idiots saying "Why don't you just kill yourself" and the like, or an echo chamber where particular prejudices are amplified and focused against Group X being the cause of all of the person's problems.

    This isn't really that different from a distraught person seeking help from others via face-to-face social interaction except that the "kill yourself" jerks are probably somewhat less likely to say that to a person's face. Then again, some people I've met in person don't seem to care at all if what they say/do hurts another person. In fact, they consider hurting another person as "harmless fun." These people would be jerks even if the Internet had never existed.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:16AM (#47092491)
    No wonder people keep committing mass killings: they see the people that killed before them and see someone who was invisible, that no one paid attention to, become a household name. How many people here know the name of the person that shot up Sandy Hook, or the Colorado movie theater, this guy, or Columbine? Now, name me some of their vicitms? You can't. People that feel unstable, or feel marginalized and that no one ever notices them or cares about them, they already need mental help. If they turn to the internet, post videos on youtube or write blogs, they get pushed over the edge even more when no one watches their video, or people write negative comments. They get to the point where the only way to get noticed is to start killing people. If they do that they become famous, everyone starts talking about them. When you see yourself as only something they might see killing as the only way to become someone. Stop publishing the names of these killers, stop implicitly glorifying these people, and killings will drop. We also need to improve mental health treatment in the country, but that's a whole other topic.
  • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:28AM (#47092561) Journal
    The NSA isnt WATCHING, they are RECORDING and STORING for later use. Its a very different game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:33AM (#47092591)

    Not talking about it will not prevent it from happening again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:39AM (#47092619)

    If someone is feeling upset over something, they can turn to friends online for help and can get assistance, support, and guidance through their troubled times.

    Internet "friends" are no such thing - they are just electronic ghosts of people. The relationship is superficial and shallow - no matter how nice it is.

    Nothing beats face to face interaction with someone. Nothing.

    We have mirror neurons [] that allow us to connect and help with emotional regulation.

    That kid didn't have adequate real personal connections. From what I've read, his family sounds pretty fucked up and mix in any mental illness this kid had (reported Aspie), you get the actions he committed.

    If there was someone who was able to be a real friend to this guy (a VERY tall order considering his previous assaults, abusive actions and emotional issues), maybe - maybe the shooting wouldn't have happened.

    Kids like this usually find "healthier" outlets for their rage like boxing, for example - see Mike Tyson.

    It's pretty sad when folks spend all their time online and consider their online contacts as friends.

    Now for the thick headed, I am NOT talking about communication with your real friends with email or posting to your friends about meeting up at Joe's Bar for happy hour. I am talking about the phony "friends" that are only online with no physical contact.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:42AM (#47092637) Homepage
    really? because I would wager that a number of us here have been shit on for a large portion of our lives, being the geeks and nerds and all. Ive never killed anyone
  • by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:48AM (#47092687)
    This is what narcissistic psychopaths do; they blame other people for their own problems. Girls don't want to go out with me. It's clearly their problem, nothing to do with me, so I will kill them all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:49AM (#47092695)

    Posting AC here, but this is something I wholeheartedly agree on.

    CNN covered the whole biography of the shooter, read his manifesto out loud, and retraced his steps in very slow detail. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a monument with the guy's name on it. Of course, came the whining from the parents about how evil the gun sellers and the NRA were for not realizing their poor son was sick... but the kid was so rich, any doctor that stood in his way would likely have had a malpractice suit slammed on them or just fired.

    Want to know why school shootings are popular now? Columbine basically put the two shooters on the map with a monument forever naming their names. 20 years from now, they will be remembered. 40 years? possibly. In the past school shootings were handled locally just like the Chicago suburban gangbanger crime [1] that never gets national attention. Now, the shooters are treated with war heroes and given almost the same type of burial.

    Fsck that. These are criminals... why do they deserve so much time in front of the news media?

    Now add to the mix schools and the pressure cooker for anyone in a public school more intelligent than normal. They get bullied 24/7 by the dipshits, the school district doesn't care unless they are on the football team, then combine that with the powerful psychoactive meds that docs throw at kids, and they start to get in their heads that in 20 years, news will say their names every year and there will be a monument in their name.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the press knows this. The push for gun control laws only makes it easier because it means more soft targets. In Texas, after the guy shot up the Luby's, which got concealed carry passed, there have been multiple attempted shootings at malls. All stopped by CHL permit holders who either stopped the gunman in their tracks by just the presence of a weapon, or just took care of business before it made the news.

    The press knows this. That's why the mass shooters head to "gun free zones", and when their rampage hits the news, it only gets the lawmakers wanting to enact more gun control measures. A nice feedback loop, instilling fear, and getting eyeballs. These are dream stories for the press since after the massacre, there is no danger for reporters, unlike reporting gang shootings.

    For people outside the US, there is a demand for firearms. A kid that did this shooting could have easily gotten his guns from an underground metal shop in Mexico (1911 .45 pistols are 1800s tech, including the magazines.) All the lawmakers with their gun control schemes will do is cause -more- of these events to happen. The guns won't go off the street. The Mexican gangs will see that the registered weapons with serial numbers that get seized will be replaced by unregistered ones just as good but coming from factories south of the border.

    So, tl;tr, the press is doing a disservice to everyone by encouraging kids whose minds are already destablized by the meds tossed at them to perform these atrocities.

    [1]: The city cleaned up the garbage, so the gangs moved to the suburbs.

  • by mpe ( 36238 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @12:55PM (#47093125)
    From what I have gathered, he didn't even speak to them. He simply expected them to come up to him and lust after his cock or something. It is really bizarre. He had no social skills *at all*,

    Possibly because that's how things looked to him. Any skil set (including "social skills") can look like magic to someone who does not posess it. Quite a bit of social interaction, including sexual, is "non-verbal". (Sexual encounters which involve little even no verbal communication certainly do happen.) People with good non-verbal communication skills are often less conciously aware of non-verbal communication than those who are poor at non-verbal communication. With the former even assuming that all communication is verbal.

    which seems to have been the result of him being awkward around the time high school started and him retreating into video games, mainly WoW.

    More likely this was a reaction to his lack of social skills. Whilst the lack of a non verbal communication channel, in text based chat, is often considered a handicap this dosn't tend to be the case people who have difficulty with non verbal communication. Especially if their non verbal illiteracy means they are effectivly sending out "noise".
    Being verbally literate but non verbally illiterate appears to be especially confusing to the verbally and non verbally literate majority.
    In Western cultures, possibly others, whilst verbal communication is typically taught to both children and adults non verbal communication typically isn't.
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @01:51PM (#47093439) Homepage

    One of them (Adam Lanza) I remember only because the media started going crazy with "He had Asperger's which made him shoot everyone up." As someone with Asperger's Syndrome and as the father of a boy with Asperger's this struck a nerve. People with Asperger's aren't more likely to commit violent acts than neurotypical (non-Autistic) people. In fact, they are more likely to be the recipients of violence. If they do become violent, they are more likely to hurt themselves than others and even if they hurt others it will be in an unplanned out lashing out (e.g. swinging arms because they are upset and happening to hit someone), not a carefully planned out event like these mass killings were. But, unfortunately, the media loves a simple "reason" and seized on Asperger's as "the cause." The whole affair burned Lanza's name into my memory. So it wasn't his actions that cause me to remember him but the media missteps in reporting his actions.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @02:27PM (#47093697)
    Talking about it will not prevent it from happening again.
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday May 26, 2014 @03:56PM (#47094403)

    At their core these are suicides. Suicide is contagious.

    Right now there are people on the edge of nutting up that are watching the attention this fuckwit is getting and thinking about it...

    It's the same the world over, in Germany 'Ghost Drivers' (murderous suicides that go the wrong way on the autobahn) happen in streaks.

    Reporters feed this problem. They have suggested advice (don't repeat the jackass' name constantly, report other things; don't focus on the killer.) but don't follow it.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay