Monday, May 11, 2015

This Is Your Life

We have a new "thing" in the media now.  Whenever a regular person that we don't know anything about is involved in something heinous or tragic, we go to their social media sites to try and "learn more about why they would have done this".

When the Trestle Trail Bridge shooter was identified, I was sent links to his Facebook page and told to check out the videos that he had posted of shooting demonstrations.  Then there was a post placed on the wall by his ex-fiancée (or not ex-fiancée depending on whose story you believe).  I'm actually surprised that more wasn't made of his listing of the Koran as one of his favorite books--because who doesn't love a good "possible ties to terrorist groups?" angle to this kind of story?

The same thing happened Friday after we received the alert about a missing and endangered man in Utica.  I received texts and emails of pictures on his Facebook account of assault rifles--which of course raises the concern that there is a armed man roaming the countryside looking for people to shoot.  Social media may provide us a look into a person's life--but it is certainly not an accurate portrayal of who we are.

That made me consider what would be reported if I was ever involved in something heinous.  You could expect the media stories to include a line like: "Krause may have been driven to act by the Boston Bruins losing to the Montreal Canadiens--or perhaps by having a driver gun it in front of him in a roundabout along Witzel Avenue for the one-thousandth time."  If I ever go missing expect to hear: "based on Mr Krause's Facebook postings, police believe he may be either on a golf course somewhere in Northeast Wisconsin--or in Hawaii."  And if my wife ever kills me in my sleep: "Police believe the victim's wife may have killed him due to her bizarre infatuation with baby elephants."

It would probably be best if we all passed on using social media to play Amateur Criminal Psychologist because you know how the old saying goes--you can't judge a Twitterer by his profile picture.

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