(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Red Lake Shooting & Online Aftermath

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've no doubt heard that in the US there has been another tragedy along the lines of the Colombine shootings. As the Herald Sun reports:
A teenager firing his grandfather's police weapons killed nine people, including several high school students, before turning a gun on himself yesterday. Jeff Weise, 15, shot his grandfather before ramming a pick-up truck into the school at Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota, where he murdered a female teacher, a guard and five students.Traumatised witnesses said he was grinning and waving as he fired. As many as 15 people were wounded. Relatives said Weise was a loner who always wore black and was often teased by other children about his towering height. Relatives said his father committed suicide four years ago and his mother lives in a nursing home after sustaining brain injuries in a car accident.
The Herald Sun also notes that Weise posted to a National Socialist discussion board (if you choose to read these posts, you'll see a very direct link between Weise's words and actions). This is an extremely tragic event, and the fact that there even are people who identify as Native American National Socialists (or National Socialist at all) is really, really disturbing. For a moment I feared that news media would turn this into a "blame the internet for the shootings" event, but that doesn't appear to have happened (yet?). There have been plenty of articles pointing to the Nazi link, and this seems to override any question whether the internet should be scapegoated. There has been a lot of attention give to the fact that Weise wore a black trenchcoat year-round, probably because a similar statement was made about one of the Colombine shooters.

Weise also had a LiveJournal the last entry of which is currently being flooded with bizzare comments with a few thoughtful statements dispersed between many, many people essentially using the space as a digital billboard (there were over 1,500 comments when I last looked; if you're thinking of reading them, take note that some are quite pornographic; others very graphic and offensive). The LJ comments are a really quite sad footnote to a really tragic event. [Via Waxy]

Update (1am, 24 Mar 05):
All of the comments on Weise's LiveJournal have been removed. I presume this was done by a LiveJournal administrator due to the very offensive nature of many of the posts.

Update 2 (10am, 25 Mar 05): Apparently the comments are blocked, not deleted, and a count of the number of comments before commenting was disabled can be seen in the LJ's summary mode. Thanks to "Lisa" for pointing this out.

Update 3 (12pm, 26 Mar 05): The Smoking Gun reports that Weise also posted several Flash animations which strongly hint at the coming tragedy. One in particular called "Target Practice" is chilling in terms of what was to come (although very basic and crude in terms of actual animation). [More here.]


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