Previously in Web Citations:
The digital revolution comes to a supermarket near you.
Not Your Father's Antiwar Movement
Are these the new peaceniks? Opposition to Clinton's war has made for some very strange bedfellows.
Someone Who Cares Wants You to Know
As Emily Post might have said, sometimes anonymity is the best policy.
Wheeling and Dealing
It all comes down to this: Would you buy a used (or new) car from these Web sites?
Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) was a filmmaker who kept his distance from Hollywood. His vision appears ever more original -- and lonely.
Wedding planning made so easy even your mother can handle it.
Be Fruitful and Multiply
When it comes to modern reproductive technology, many are turning to the Web for a helping hand.
"I sing the body electric," Walt Whitman wrote. Little did he know what he was prophesying.
See the complete Web Citations Index.
All Crime, All the Time|
May 6, 1999
TEEN GETS LIFE FOR HAMMER SLAYINGS! SEPTUAGENARIAN DOCTOR CHARGED WITH SEX ABUSE! FRATERNITY MAY FACE BROTHEL CHARGES! MAN CHARGED WITH EXECUTING WIFE'S PETS! Such is the daily fare on APB Online, the CNN of crime news on the Web, offering readers up-to-the-minute reports around the clock on offenses of the most sensational kind. The site describes itself as the "source for police and crime news, information and entertainment" -- and entertainment does seem to be a large part of what APB Online is all about. Its articles focus mainly on the salacious, disturbing, or disgusting, and APB tries to disseminate its bad tidings as widely as possible. One doesn't even have to visit the site to get a crime-news fix: APB offers e-mail alerts of "911 Breaking News" and a news ticker that can be displayed at the bottom of any Web site.
The crime-as-entertainment theme is most pronounced in the "Unsolved" section, where readers are invited to try their hand at identifying the suspects in actual cases that investigators have been unable to crack. The current search is for the Green River Killer, who is thought to have murdered forty-nine women in the Seattle area during the 1980s. Readers sift through real (though scanty) evidence in their search for the murderer. They then construct a "profile," with help from John Douglas, an ex-FBI special agent who was the model for the character who profiled Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. Any good leads, the site's editors say, are sent on to investigators in Washington state. The feature has spurred a lively discussion on APB's message boards, where people are trading theories on the Green River Killer's characteristics. Judging by the level of the discussion -- one person suggests that the serial killer has "serious problems with anger control" -- investigators shouldn't plan on closing the case any time soon.
Join the conversation in Post & Riposte.
More on Technology and Digital Culture in Atlantic Unbound and The Atlantic Monthly.
Katie Bacon is a senior editor of Atlantic Unbound.
Copyright © 1999 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.