When I heard the description of yesterday’s gunman, I knew the guy was a walking cliche. I knew he would classify himself as goth (even though CBC insisted on calling him punk); I knew he would listen to Marilyn Manson, watch Quentin Tarantino and play Postal. I guessed the media would find his blog on MySpace or VampireFreaks. I guessed he was 18 or 19.
He turned out to be 25, acting like an angst-ridden goth teen. He did indeed have a blog on VampireFreaks, which was still up until about 6:30 this morning. On it he had pictures of himself in his black trench coat, wielding his gun and knife. His last blog post was yesterday at 10:30, when he told us he was drinking whiskey. His blog contained a dozen or more quizzes, polls and surveys all demonstrating how suicidal, depressed and generally fucked up he was. One survey question asked “How do you want to die?”; his answer was “In a hail of gunfire”.
Over the coming days and weeks I expect various factions to focus on gun control, censorship of violent games and movies, and the role of the internet in events like this. I expect VampireFreaks will suffer some serious backlash, with the usual calls to have it shut down. The site has generally stayed under the radar, thanks mostly to the overwhelming popularity of MySpace but now it will be in the spotlight. The goth sub-culture will suffer another blow to its already tarnished reputation.
Throughout all these knee-jerk reactions, soul-searching and public outcry it will be virtually forgotten that this was just one sick individual. Just another Michael Ryan, Thomas Hamilton, Eric Harris, Marc Lepine.