On Sunday, Yahoo News said that the computer of Newtown, CT shooter Adam Lanza could be "crucial" in the investigation. Lanza had two bedrooms in his spacious suburban home, one for sleeping and one to stash all his computer equipment.
A law-enforcement source indicated what they would look for:
"If he visited certain websites, they are going to glean whatever information they can from that and see what it means," said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. "Does he have friends he communicates with online? Was there a fight with somebody?"
The source also indicated some working hypotheses of the police:
"You don't know if this kid was put up to this by somebody else," the source said. "You don't know if there was a conspiracy of sorts. You don't know if there wasn't somebody who wasn't goading this kid on."
So most importantly, this law enforcer was curious and kept an open mind -- and seems to indicate that he was aware that there's already a tidal wave of political correctness, where a concerted autism lobby and as well as the pro-gaming lobby and their Internet fanboyz and the very voluble and high-traffic tech press were already working overtime to make sure that no one ever wound up implicating them in any way, or restricting any of their freedoms over association with this tragedy. He said:
"Has he been seeing a child psychologist throughout his lifetime? Was he on medication?" the law enforcement source said. "These are a zillion logical who, what, whey, why, where questions that need to be answered. They need to be asked without any fear of any stigmatism … and you can't be politically correct in asking those questions."
No, you can't.
Fear of stigmatism is what the various lobbies hate experiencing, and understandably, if there is any kind of prejudicial profiling. But this cuts another way, too: there is fear of getting to the truth because doing so may stigmatize something and there will be a lot of resistance to that.
Today, of course, the investigation has advanced, and now we're being told briskly by the tech press (and probably with great relief) that we "may never know" what was ever on Lanza's hard drive and that it may be impossible to reconstruct forensically because Lanza, on the day he murdered his mother and 25 other people, even while ostensibly mentally ill or in a rage, he still had the foresight to smash his hard drive. It may be unrecoverable.
Of course, the forensics will call the Internet Service Provider, and try to get email, and social media and all the rest. So far, nobody has come up with any avatar names or handles of Adam Lanza. If his brother or anyone else knows, they aren't talking. At that raucous Internet forum where the kids talk obsessively about shooting and guns and popular culture, a particularly disliked mod had gone missing and some thought might be him. Now, he has shown up again. Or at least, somebody has shown up again using that account.The horrid comments continue, creating the climate of nihilism and hate...
And there might be forums all over in the geeky netherworld of IRC channels and pop-up PHP forums and Pastebins and all the rest. Somewhere, there are some people asking where D3dL& C@D^K has gone because he's been missing, and seemed to be just like the killer....
As Computer World reported, citing an expert:
"They're going to try to find a reason why...he went from fanaticizing about this to doing it," said Marc Rogers, chair of the Cyber Forensics Program in the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University. "Were there any early indications that he was getting ready to act these fantasies out? In some cases there are and in some there aren't."
Lanza's rampage was likely done for "maximum media impact," Rogers said, so investigators will also be looking for a manifesto or some other statement the 20-year-old may have left on his computer or communicated to someone electronically.
Of course, even if this killer organized a tinny Anonymous-style Youtube incoherently describing his thoughts about accelerating the Mayan Calendar and revenge on kids who picked on him in first grade by killing their counterparts today, there will be a sturdy bastion of those who claim, as they do for James Holmes, the Colorado killer, that he just played Guitar Hero on line -- no violent games here, m'am, we're just good kids.
Why is it that I feel as if I already know Adam Lanza, and you do, too? Because you feel as if it could be the story -- even if the outcome is very rare -- of so many nasty nerds online. Maybe Adam Lanza was an altruistic furry with a free sandbox in Second Life, or the most reliable team player in the World of Warcraft guild. But maybe he clicked on and shared and liked all the ugly and stupid memes and snickered like Beavis and Butthead.
Of course, there's a striking resemblance between Adam Lanza and Tizzers Foxchase, not only in RL but in the feel of "psychotic" that Tizzers emanates with all his obsessive griefing and harassment. But even I wouldn't figure Tizzers -- as bad as he and his noxious little friends are -- as school shooters even remotely. Griefers online and those steeped in the awful 4chan culture may talk sarcastically and cynically about massacres and other "something awful" sort of stuff, but that doesn't mean they are likely to take it off line.
Even so, let me put it this way: if ever Tizzers biggest friends and companions like Alyx Stoklitsky or Joanna Falmer (who may be him, too) or Yeehaw Ragu or Korpov Korpov or whoever would hear suddenly that Tizzers was arrested in connection with a mall or school shooting, they would say they were not surprised. Everyone knows they would say that. The readiness with which the members of that forum jumped nervously to the conclusion that their nasty mod was the shooter lets us know that.
The person incessantly harassing and griefing me in Second Life for more than four years, including with grisly and very creepy RL effigies showing me dead and so on, may not be the kind of person who would shoot schoolkids.
But he is the kind of person who helps create the substrate of culture some other lowlife would swim in who *would* be capable. That's just it. They do indeed egg each other on as a ritual and a rite of passage, and perhaps even this is the result.
I suppose the police are looking at any connections between the student planning a shooting the exact same day who was arrested in Oklahoma, or perhaps they are scouring everything from gun forums where people chat about their "man card" renewed -- the Bushmaster. Or just those Redditt and 4chan type fora where people may have obsessively talked about the Colorado shooting, and then among them was Adam who turns out to be a copycatter.
Why should police bother with all this when the shooter has already killed himself and his mother and the school officials who might know something? Because there might be more than one of them...There's the story of the arrest of someone in the woods which has dropped out of the news and has become great fodder for conspiracists, who have worked themselves now into a frenzy where even the Rothschilds and the Trilateral Commission if not the Zionists have cooked up these school shootings to...take over banks...or something. I think the reason it dropped out is likely that the person in the woods was just one of the people escaping or a parent looking for their kid, and it's nothing.
But we still don't know what Ryan Lanza has told police -- no leaks there -- and the reason why he didn't see his brother for two years, yet he had stolen his ID. And "progressive" publications like Salon are making sure that no one ever asks any awkward questions -- and gets told they are politically-incorrect and harming someone's privacy if they do. Matt Bors at Salon joins other pious types like Poynter acting as if some horrible privacy-outing crime was commited because for a day, people thought Ryan Lanza was the shooter -- because, duh, his ID was found on his brother. You would think there was no relationship at all to the case, so indignant do some social media pearl-clutchers get. Most media or blogs (including mine) were in fact careful to say that they hadn't confirmed the identity, but here's what *police said* (it was POLICE who made this ID covered by AP and other wire services that sent the "social media hunters" to hunting).
Yet for all the intense scrutiny, and all the amateur sleuths out there combing Google and social media. we don't know anything much more than the fact that Adam Lanza was a member of his school's technology club -- apparently because adults basically pushed him into it to give him some kind of activity -- and that one friend of his mother's described him as a practicing vegan because he had a philosophy that he didn't want to hurt animals. That's going to surprise many people and be fodder for many a comment, but it doesn't surprise me, because the PETA mania, in putting people second after animals, already reveals their "end justifies the means" concept and their contempt for humanity that is common to totalitarian belief systems like communism and fascism.
And if Lanza developed a set of beliefs like that, he got them from the Internet. What else did he get from the Internet? What groups was he in or pages did he like -- although he wasn't on Facebook and was probably a CryptoParty kid hiding himself online even as he moved in there.
Interesting, I re-confirmed recently with a Norwegian that the killer Breivik was not found to actually have any organization, and that it is believed that he made it up. It was called the European Defense League or something similar, and had the Knights Templar as a symbol -- there's a 1,000 page manifesto to go with the loony hatred and conspiracy theories. Remember when some "progressives" thought that because Pamela Heller, the Atlas Shrugs blogger obsessed with Islam, and other American right-wing bloggers were mentioned in this manifesto a few times, that meant that they were somehow implicated in the shooting? That was nuts, as there was no connection and the Norwegian authorities never claimed one -- and everyone from Putin to Jesus Christ is mentioned in the manifesto, which has a lot of cut-and-paste and brainy incoherence like all conspiratorial stuff.
For the computer genius Lanza, there might be a manifesto still to appear, like the Unabomber or Breivik, or maybe only a Youtube channel showing some conspiracy beliefs as for Jared Loughner who shot Congresswoman Giffords, but there might be nothing at all. Or nothing that is coherent.
But we're told to focus on gun control and mental health only as a function of free medical care, and not ask any other questions -- by the autism lobby and gaming lobby, of course.
Even so, one expert wants us to keep an open mind:
Nor should the public be shy about discussing whatever is learned about Lanza's life and what prompted him to act, forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie told CNN.
"The opportunity is nearly always there to discover and disrupt," he said.
Dr. Mohandie said warning signs can include self destructiveness, hopelessness, desperation, interest in other mass shooters and a dysfunctional interest in weaponry.
Adam Lanza attended LAN parties via his technology club notes the Internet Post, yet none of the people interviewed have mentioned any particilar game or MMORPG. In fact, you wonder, if one surfaces in connection to this case, like "Mass Effect" appeared on Ryan Lanza's Facebook page, that there will be a wall of deniers to discount any possible influence of this or any MMORPG or video game on the killer's consciousness.
Blogger ajfloyd writes:
Many articles, including witnesses’ accounts, have described Adam Lanza’s advanced skills with computers, a skill-level common with Asperger’s sufferers. Indeed, many computer hackers have Asperger’s syndrone — Adrian Lamo, Ryan Cleary, and Gary McKinnon, for example. And yet, Adam Lanza ‘left no online footprint?’
In fact, Gary McKinnon structured his legal defense on hacking charges on his condition as anAsperger's patient; Ryan Clear is also described in this fashion.
The lack of an online footprint for Adam Lanza -- although it has only been less than a week since this atrocity -- has already proven fodder for conspiracy news sites which have reprinted the TIP story on numerous other sites -- either authorities scrubbed it after bagging it, or he himself knew how not to leave a trace -- a skill, by the way, that groups like the CryptoParty are increasingly spreading and demanding in their counterculture.
It's easy to say in retrospect that "all the signs were there" -- a neighbour recalling that Lanza tantrumed when he babysat him, and the tech club member saying they were the nerdiest in town. Yet lots of people have those signs and not only don't commit mass murder, but don't even kick their dogs. Even so, there is nothing wrong with looking for how patterns might fit together to try to figure out how this tragedy could be prevented in the future. The same geeks who insist on "science" and "impartiality" for everything else, and get into a rage fit about Mike Huckabee don't want to apply impartial science to this if it implicates any of them.