Saturday, September 16, 2006

fatality666

Upon reviewing the news coverage of the Dawson's College killer yesterday (it took them approximately 18 hours to make a link to video games - yay predictable new media!), I realized that the vast majority of news outlets are using the images the killer posted himself, of himself, on his online journal. The constructed nature of these pictures disturbs me - he obviously spent a lot of time posing and dressing for these pics, creating a gallery within vampirefreaks.com that he thought his peers would respond to. But more than that, with the knowledge of what he was planning to do in mind, I'm sure that the picture gallery on his site represented a sort of press kit for him. The fact that the news media are now using those exact pictures - him holding a gun, looking all goth, being all serious and "menacing" - plays right into the premeditated infamy he was trying to achieve in the first place.

Related to this is the entire issue of his space on vampirefreaks.com, which was removed in the early hours of sept. 14, but remains available in cache form from a variety of sources. I've made copies of the journal, the gallery and the pages and pages of comments people posted after his online identity had been revealed. Fake sites have cropped up (of course) and the media are really running with aspects Gill's journal posts. Anything to do with video games is highly reported upon, even though the guy obviously spent much more time chatting online, drinking whiskey, and listening to metal...or so he says. A lot about his online persona rings false - like a last-ditch attempt at a personality that he was trying on in a desperate attempt to find the sense of belonging and community that he was obviously never able to attain. I posted a question out to the aoir list (association of internet researchers) as to how and by whom the journal was actually removed. It seems standard procedure in these cases now to remove any online website, journal, etc. that the killer(s) maintained before their murderous rampage, but I wonder how exactly this decision is made - and whether it's done in an official capacity (of a police investigation) or for corporate reasons (too much traffic, or the site not wanting to be associated with the event). I've received some helpful suggestions from my fellow internet researchers, but would appreciate further tips and comments.

3 comments:

Richard said...

Ghastly situation... and then all the blog/game researchers get dragged in to explain it, as if we had something to do with this.

Nice blog, Sara. I had no idea.

And we'll have to talk WoW after class. There's a WoW gang at my house...

Richard said...

PX360 has an article on this:

http://www.planetxbox360.com/index.php/articledetails/show/452

Sara M. Grimes said...

It's also interesting to me how video games are blamed for these events, but not historical precedent...the fact remains that people of various ages and backgrounds have been shooting up their workplaces and schools for decades. If anything, you'd think killers like Gill got their inspiration from OTHER people (grown-ups, even). Here's a list from wikipedia of non-political massacres:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres#Criminal_and_non-political_massacres