"Life is a video game, you've got to die sometime"

Nope, nothing to worry about here

The conservative in me (yeah, I've got one, and you do too) wonders if we should contact the authorities whenever we run across the web postings of malcontents with online handles like "MassMurderer," "SociopathNextDoor," or "ColumbineFan." Maybe it's not such a bad idea.

The Montreal Gazette and the French-language Journal de Montreal said Gill, from the Montreal suburb of Laval, had published an online gallery of more than 50 photos depicting himself in various poses, holding a Berretta CX4 Storm semi-automatic rifle and wearing a long black trench coat and combat boots. [...]

Gill's online identifier was Fatality666, according to the Star.

No warning signs here, eh?

In a detailed user profile, asked how he wants to die, he wrote in prescient foreshadowing of yesterday's bloody events in Montreal: "Like Romeo and Juliet — or in a hail of gunfire." [...]

Writing in the third person, Gill described himself to fellow Goths as someone "you will come to know as Trench," a chilling reference that was cited again and again by witnesses who described the man that shot at them yesterday.

"He is male. He is 25 years of age. He lives in Quebec. He finds that it is an okay place to live. He is not a people person. He has met a handful of people in his life who are decent.

But he finds the vast majority to be worthless, no good, conniving, betraying, lieing (sic), deceptive, mother-------.

"Work sucks ... school sucks ... life sucks ... what else can I say?

"Metal and Goth kick ass. Life is a video game, you've got to die sometime.''

There are almost too many signifiers to count here, surely enough to raise red flags at any police station or social services agency...assuming that anyone there actually knew of Gill's existence. The likelihood of that is, of course, extremely slim. Gill was just one of many nihilistic time bombs in an expanding crowd of online personae. Nobody who frequents VampireFreaks.com seemed suficiently alarmed by his postings to send up a flare to authorities - and given the attraction of Goth culture to the alienated and disaffected, would we expect someone there to do so? Perhaps we should: this essay at ReligiousTolerance.org states that Goths "tend to be non-violent, pacifistic, passive, and tolerant," certainly not the kind of people who would advocate the kind of murderous intent admitted by Gill. Perhaps it's the same with Goths as with any other community: it's easy to overlook or to downplay a threat to others, easy to believe that someone wouldn't actually act out that intent.

And for those who point to the Jeremy Steinke murder case (also connected to VampireFreaks.com) as a brief against Goth culture in particular, you need only look at crimes connected with other social networking sites such as MySpace to see that this negative potential isn't confined to just one community.

Sociopathy and psychopathy predate the Web by a considerable timespan. However, the phenomenon of online culture provides a window to potential threats that didn't exist before, and one that should be explored. You do have to ask if it's either feasible or desirable to have law enforcement devote significant resources to trawling the Web, prowling social networking sites, looking for the next mass murderer. This would be the liberal in me, no doubt, the same personality that opposes excesses of authority by, say, the National Security Agency. It's one thing to oppose excess and intrusion, however, and another to balance privacy against potential threats. There's a place for intelligence gathering when it comes to national security, and the victims of Kimveer Gill - those who are still alive - would likely tell you that there's a lawful and proper place for oversight when it comes to sociopaths closer to home.

It's somethiing to consider, anyway.


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