James Holmes, 24, is seen in this undated handout picture released by The University of Colorado July 20, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/The University of Colo)
A deadly shooting at a "The Dark Knight Rises" midnight screening on Friday in Aurora, Co., left 12 dead and has prompted a rash public reaction, a case of mistaken identity, and elicits a little of how the internet and social networking is desensitizing us as a society.
After the gunman was identified as 24-year-old medical school-dropout James Holmes, the internet was set on fire with searches which turned up a Facebook page of another 22-year old James Holmes in nearby Littleon, Co., who was bombarded with friend requests and messages. Turns out, 22 is not 24, and that the James Holmes was not the gunman who went on a killing spree.
Like Us on Facebook
Fed up with the unwarranted attention, the innocent James Holmes posted this status on his Facebook page:
"Dearest random Facebook people who keep confusing me for a mass murderer and yet still send me Facebook requests.;
I appreciate the fact that you trying to become better-informed about the occurrences last night in Aurora, but you have been somewhat mislead, in that I am not the man who did it. I am not a 24-year-old gun-slinging killer from Aurora, I am a 22-year-old book-slinging mass eater from Littleton. Somewhat distinct, I would assume. But I would appreciate if you read this particular post an not assume that it would be interesting to be friends with someone on Facebook who is very probably going to be in jail and not be able to confirm your friend requests anyway, or even be friends with his girlfriend, who had the rather interesting experience of having to tell someone she had a job interview with that she is not, in fact dating a serial killer. James Holmes happens to be a pretty common name, surprisingly, so try not to jump the gun."
The shooting was horrific, and 50 people were injured, including a 6-year-old and a 4-month-old baby, but the urgency of the public and media to jump on the criminal is also surprising. The Littleton James Holmes has a good point: Why are people friend requesting a mass murderer? Has Facebook removed us so far from real-life social interactions that we now feel safe from the comforts of our own homes to casually extend a hand to a killer? These questions may not be answered for some time, but we are already taught not to take candy or a ride from a stranger as a kid - and now it might soon be necessary to have to add "Don't friend the murderer."