In America, terrible acts of violence are often met with handmade signs, bunches of flowers, and teddy bears. Makeshift memorials to shooting victims are flooded with these sorts of objects, and they spring up reliably wherever a horrifying event has occurred.
After the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, town officials had to rent a warehouse to house all of the gifts and donations that people sent.
But in the era of social media, there’s another place where people gather to react to acts of violence: on the Facebook page of the suspected perpetrator.*
Within minutes of news reports identifying the man who shot at members of Congress while they played baseball this morning, people had found what appeared to be the suspect’s Facebook profile. And then they flooded it with comments. In the span of about an hour, there were hundreds of messages. And then thousands. Things like:
“Rot in Hell buddy!!!”
“Have fun ‘fighting the man’ in prison loser!”
“Another Bernie demorat. You suck and deserve to die in prison”
“I hope you survive bro. I hope you get waterboarded for weeks, then tossed in solitary for life.”
“Dang he's getting his page blown up lmao good”
“You will not win this war”