Text Messaging Blamed For Fatal Shooting?

from the oh-come-on-now dept

Last month we noted that the press was trying to keep a story going by pulling in a text messaging angle where it didn't belong. It appears that other reporters are trying to build up this angle as well. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous submitted a story from the San Francisco Chronicle about the tragic fatal shooting of a man in Berkeley, California. The man was part of a group of parents who tried to put together "safe" house parties for teens. They tried to keep the parties reasonably-sized, and searched teens entering the house to keep out weapons. One teen with a gun, however, got thrown out, only to return to shoot the guy. A tragic story indeed... but the subhead to the story announces: "Text messaging seen as a culprit in event that took deadly turn." Text messaging? Culprit? It's a stretch at best. The reporter tries to blame the technology by noting that these types of parties sometimes get out of hand when kids start alerting each other via text message as to where such parties are taking place. What that has to do with the rest of the events of the evening is never really explained -- but far be it from the reporter to avoid the ever-popular "blame the technology" hook on a story where it has no place.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Agonizing Fury, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 4:16am

    Maybe if it was a hit

    The only way I could see text messaging being the culprit is if someone inside the party messaged a friend to come shoot the asshole at the door who won't let bring in guns. As I highly doubt this what happened, I'm going to assume that the culprit was a dumbass kid who thought he was cool cause he had a gun. Hey kids, join the army, they'll give you a cool gun and let you shoot people with it!!

     

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  2.  
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    TriZz, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 4:38am

    Re: Maybe if it was a hit

    No, not even if it was a hit. The blame is strictly on the shooter. No technology made him do it. No other person MADE him do it.

    It has nothing to do with the music he listens to either.

    Fuck reports, if they always got their way - the kids wouldn't be held accountable for any of their actions.

     

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  3.  
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    commander, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 4:53am

    i see the reporters point

    I didnt get the impression that the reporter was really blaming Text Messaging. I see the article trying to make the point that with this new technology comes new problems, and the problem as it relates to this story is that word of mouth that a party is happening can spread faster now and the size of a party can become overwhelming to whoever is hosting the party very quickly. I think the point the reporter and the police are trying to make is that if youre hosting a party you have to be on the lookout for your guest texting 'outsiders' and inviting them.

    With all of that said though i do feel that there is too much emphasis on the text messaging angle of the story. It is just one thing to consider when hosting a party (guest not having firearms is another!) but it is the angle that will get people to read the article so of course the paper/reporter is going to go with that...thats what headlines are suppose to do, get you to read the article.
    phil

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:06am

    The papers are trying to blame the TXTers for a rapid growth in the party due to an inadvertant flash-mob effect as revelers TXTed their friends.

    Really it's just saying parties got too big, and that it's all TXTing's fault. Like it had nothing to do with the dumbass whose massive ego got affronted and felt he needed to shoot people to assuage his fragile feelings.

    I'd peg this one as more of a "won't someone think of the children" gun-crontol pieces, based on the facts of the case, except that story's tired and useless; it's not like yanks will give up the right to bear semi-automatic hand-cannons (and to think: the constitution was all for trained militias, which would have actually promoted safer gun handling) anyway.

     

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  5.  
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    nunya_bidness, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:08am

    Blame parents.

    Twisted youth reasoning passed on from generation to generation. I think it is sad that you have to search kids to have a party in the first place, and ironic that the kid with the gun should be allowed and the kids with text messaging devices should be excluded. Then no one with a weapon will get pissed off and shoot someone.

     

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  6.  
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    Whats??, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:21am

    What does "Text messaging" have to do with this??

    HAHA yeah umm well i don't see what the heck texting has to do with some teenager that gets pissed that he cant go to a party with a gun (why would you need a gun at a "safe party" again??) and shoots someone. The guy that told the teen that he coulnt come in becaues he found the gun should have TAKEN THE FUCKING GUN and called his parents or police!!! But whatever....

     

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  7.  
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    Sarah Brady, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:41am

    Well, sure the text messaging made him do it. You don't think the gun did, do you? The moron kid couldn't possibly be blamed. It has to be an outside influence. "Society" is too general and passe', so now its technology that gets the blame. Like there weren't phones, or Alexander G Bell for that matter, before "wireless", which is just a fancy form of what Marconi and Alexander came up with. As far as the victim goes, there are states where the cause of death would be suicide, for letting that little shit go without getting the police involved. I didn't see anything about letting the kid keep his gun, but there's no shortage on the streets anyway. The beating that 'tard would have gotten just a few short years ago for pulling a stunt like that might've made him think twice whether it was worth going back there.

     

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  8.  
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    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Re: Maybe if it was a hit

    Remember the old saying:

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

    Either these parties need to hire professional "bouncers," or the parents need bulletproof vests.

    OOoooohhh!!! Hey maybe it should be an INVITE ONLY party???

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:19am

    good thing

    none of the family or neighbors were/are gun nuts

     

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  10.  
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    Dan, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Maybe if it was a hit

    To blame TXT'g is ridiculous. I remember when I was younger (before cellies) and parties were thrown, people who were not invited by the host showed up anyway. Sometimes that was fine and sometimes it wasn't.
    If the TXT'g wasn't around and only cells for voice were, could the use of cell phones be blamed the same way?
    This is an example of (a) reporter(s) tryin' to hype an angle to suit their own need to put some 'pizzazz' into the story. For some reason, there is always an audience ready to blame new technology for ills that have been around much longer.
    I believe in the right to bear arms, with the caveate that you must be certifiably trained in all aspects and liscensed. Obviously this teen wasn't and the real blame needs to be placed on OUR inability to keep guns off the street. This is a societal issue and we can't push this off onto new technology.

    In other words, don't misplace the blame. As Chris Rock said "Whatever happened to just plain crazy?!"

     

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  11.  
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    Giometrix, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:35am

    It's not Text Messenging's Fault

    Even if someone communicated to the killer via text message when he should come back, if TM wasn't available he could have still called the guy, you know....



    The only thing I blame on text messaging/Instant Messaging is today's horrible grammar and spelling.

     

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  12.  
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    SMG, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:06am

    Re: i see the reporters point

    "Text messaging seen as a culprit in event that took deadly turn."

    commander said:
    didnt get the impression that the reporter was really blaming Text Messaging.


    how do you misinterpret that?

     

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  13.  
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    Eric, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:27am

    I got a text message once

    I got a text message once that told me to chase a cat with a corn dog. So I did. I wouldn't have done it if someone hadn't sent me that message. Damn, I regret that day.

     

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  14.  
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    Gary272, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:57am

    I have an idea

    The Text messages did not make him do it, and the Gun did not make him do it. He did it because he wanted to and we taught him it was okay because after all, something other than himself was always going to be responsible for his actions.

    If you want a gun and if you want to shot people join the marines and they will help you find your way to Iraq where you can do it and be a hero. I am sure there is some one their wanting to return home and is willing not to shoot his countrymen while he is here.

    Whatever happened to standing up and taking credit for what we do right or wrong? Where is our moral values?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:13am

    OMG! they found counterstrike on his computer! bring in jack thompson!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:17am

    More than ten black people in the same room and somebody is bound to get shot...

     

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  17.  
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    YO, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:05am

    Re: What does "Text messaging" have to do with thi

    Ja. There are many things involved with this incident. A very important matter was the fact that the man just turned the kid with the gun away. Instead of following a logical path of calling the police and parents and taking care of this "red flag," he let the child (yes, child) go. He was asking for problems. Maybe he had always wished that he was a Kamakazzi (apologizes for spelling), but look at me, I am turning into an emotionless and seemingly insensitive Vulcan. :D

     

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  18.  
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    BushHater, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:14am

    No Worries

    Hey,

    Let em scream about txting all they want. At least we know they wont outlaw text messages, the cell phone compaines make too much damn $$ off the kiddos texting during school all day. Now if the kid had just gotten finished playing grand theft auto 3.... then we'd have a story noteworthy enough for national media! with the legislation on outlawing games part 17 already being penned... wee hooooo... sad sad sad...

     

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  19.  
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    Rupert Murdoch, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    More than 10 Anonymous Coward posters and someone's bound to make an ignorant remark

     

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  20.  
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    Trish, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:17am

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    Good grief, it would take an anonymous coward to make a remark like that. If you are bold enough to make a racist statement like that, then be bold enough to stand behind it with a name instead of hide behind anonymity! I strongly agree with the other comments that texting is not the problem...parenting (or the lack thereof) is the problem.

     

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  21.  
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    Grass Burner, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:26am

    I can't believe it

    I was just telling the cops the other day that my phone made me choke my wife and now I guess it has happened again. I guess it must be some type of virus in the phones. Oh no what will we ever do without our cell phones.

    LOL

     

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  22.  
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    Bob, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: i see the reporters point

    "Text messaging seen as a culprit in event that took deadly turn."

    The article's title may or may not be the author's. Much of the time the headline of an article is created by the paper's editor, not the article or column's author. So perhaps it's the Editor who is trying to drum up readership with sensationalized headlines for otherwise "typical neighborhood violence." Or maybe the headline was chosen, BECAUSE it draws us to argue about the relevant issues, to get us to debate why a school kid was cruising around with a gun in the first place. (The kid's parents are likely to be found situationally absent or absent-minded and should pay the cost for not raising a quality kid. And in that sense it's not all the kid's fault--because he has been taught the wrong solutions to problems by his parents.) Maybe the article is a neat bit of perspective-shift packed into a tidy package to provide some "disillusion" regarding our technology: sure it can be made to appear as if technology makes kids act inapropriately, but if you look closely, it was just a stupid, butt-hurt punk, asserting his contaminated values on others, and no amount of tech-blaming can hide that fact.

    Even cute party invitations mailed to Someone and Guest can be shared with a non-invited person who shows up with a gun. So obviously Mailed party invitations need to be cryptographically secured so that only the recipient can possibly make sense of the parties location and can pass that information on to anyone else without destroying the information, making it unusable. Like Divx for party invitations.

    You can't blame a communications technology on violence any better than you can blame the automobile for the high divorce rate simply because it allows cheating spouses to more easlity rendez-vous with their respective slutty partners in deception. I mean, what if cheaters had to ask their spouses for a ride to their lover's place for a quick fuck? I think affairs would be much less prevalent and therefore the divorces resulting from infidelity would practically cease, right? Uh Huh.

     

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  23.  
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    commander, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: i see the reporters point

    someone said how did i misinterpret the headline "text messaging seen as a culprit" or whatever the headline was. it said "a culprit" not "THE culprit"...the article goes onto explain the role text messaging played in the crime. it is an ANGLE...it is telling the story of what happened from a particular angle...another angle could be Gun Control, another could be Violent Youth, or Lack of Parental guidance...but you know what, NOBODY WOULD READ ARTICLES WITH THOSE HEADLINES...because its old and done...the headline is a bit sensationalistic and ya know what? it worked! look at all the posts on it. it got everyone fired up...thats what a good headline is suppose to do. I wonder if some of you watch Jerry Springer and shout at the television "oh man! thats just @)#(#) wrong!!!!"
    phil

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:44pm

    Re:

    "More than ten black people in the same room and somebody is bound to get shot..."

    Ha, must be in Albany GA... just about everyone is black, 'cept the token white guys keeping the welfare system running.

    Bringing the gun was the first mistake. The second mistake was not removing the gun from his possession and detaining the kid until the police arrive to collect him.

    Yes, the party would have taken a dive, but at least the parents would have been made aware of his proposed actions without any fatalities. I'm sure that there were enough parents at the party to subdue the kid if he decided that being detained was not acceptable.

    Plus others have it right, if he wants to shoot people, take him to a morgue and show him the effects of gun play. show him the destroyed families of shooting victims. Then pack his stuff and send him to war. Show him that you can kill, but there are real consequences. In some ways I wish that parents could enlist their children into the military without the child's consent (obviously over 16 yo). Some kids don't get it till they see, feel, and smell the rotting flesh from a body in the morgue, or from going to war for the first time.

    Mind you I am a proponent for Gun safety and education. I am also opposed to the types of gun control that takes the guns out of the hands of legit owners. The only gun control I need is to have a vault, trigger guards, and educating my family and others about the proper use and safety with firearms. All that and telling my brain not to let my finger squeeze a round off into someone's useless grey matter.

    If my children ever touch my firearms, they are aware they will be taught a lesson that they know they don't want to risk learning. I have taken my neighbor's 15 yo to the morgue and shown him what it does to the body and he was not happy about his actions after. He was remorseful. He now understands the need to be careful and to respect the power of owning a firearm.

     

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