The power and perversion of social media in news crew killing


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – One of the many troubling aspects of Wednesday’s killing of two journalists in Virginia was how the killer used social media to show the world what he had done.

“It seems like when we look at these cases in general that the people are looking for notoriety, they want to be seen, they want to be heard,” says Doctor Timothy Allen, a forensic psychiatrist in Lexington. “We have this society now where everybody projects everything they think on Twitter and Facebook.”

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After the shooting, the killer took to social media after the shooting and specifically called out the two people he just killed, Reporter Alison Parker and Photographer Adam Ward. Then, he posted a video of the shooting from his perspective.

Allen says although all of the recent public shootings are different, there are some similarities. In this case, he believes the killer had been depressed for years and had claimed he had been discriminated against. Dr. Allen says that makes someone feel powerless and he believes the suspect was looking for power.

“In this case he took all of the power,” Allen says.

Allen says he can’t clinically diagnose the killer because he’s never met him, or studied his case, but he believes the killer not only had a well thought out plan, but was also suicidal.

“I think people have fantasies sometimes that if they’re so miserable and they feel suicidal, they’re going to take out the people that hurt them the most,” Allen says. “He felt that these two individuals were indicators or symbols of people that had hurt him.”

Although this situation is different from ones in the past or ones in the future, Allen thinks social media will continue to play a role.

“We open our society up to every little thing we do with social media, and we give up our privacy so much, it’s not surprising that somebody would show the ugly side of their personality,” Allen says.