It didn’t take long for Facebook users to organize a group calling for the death of the shooter in the massacre at a screening of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. The “Death Penalty for James Holmes (Colorado killer)” group had 477 members last I checked and it’s providing links to info about the attack.
Amid the stream, you’ll see an image from Chingchon Cheeks that alleges to show a post on the 9gag.com Web site that describes a plan to kill people at the movie premiere. UPDATE: This user has since vanished from Facebook, lending further support (I suppose) to the theory that it was someone callously using this tragedy as a means to continuing a conflict between two online communities.
I’m pretty sure the photo (here on imgur) is fake. For one, the case of the letters in the username in the image does not match the case of the 9gagftw username on the 9gag Web site. The URL in the address bar of the seemingly fake image also lacks a specific link for the post.
After reading the comments on this YouTube video of the shooting’s aftermath, I’m guessing that the motivation for creating such an image traces back to an ongoing conflict between the 9gag site and 4chan. I think Chingchon Cheeks has some kind of connection to the 4chan Web site and is trying to discredit the 9gag Web site. I bet the same goes for this image on imgur, too.
Hopefully rushed media outlets won’t do as this one did and state, even with hedge words like “apparently,” that the killer was discussing the attack on the social networks prior to launching it. There is of course a compelling need to share as much info as quickly as possible, but verification helps avoid creating more disasters down the road.
So, with that in mind, is this pic surfaced by TheDenverChannel really of James Holmes? Or did someone pretend to be from the University of Colorado? Why would the University of Colorado know who James Holmes was? Why would the school share the photo? TheDenverChannel doesn’t tell us how the photo was sent. Just that it arrived. What was the originating e-mail address? Did they talk to someone? Guess it was good enough for Reuters; it reposted the pic. Oh, and U.S. News tells us that James Holmes was a student at C.U.’s medical school. Well, that answers some questions. Forgive my suspicion; the Internet makes it easy to pretend to be someone else. Here is the headshot:
It looks like this guy’s apartment, at 1690 Paris Street (according to U.S. News), was only four miles from the movie theater where the shooting took place. Here’s a rough map (the apartment is location “B” and the theater is south of “A” along Alameda Ave.):