Last Friday, we learned that 26 people were murdered at the hands of a madman at a Connecticut elementary school. Twenty of them were children; most were as young as 6 years old. By the time you read this, the news cycle will have already rolled along—politicians and talking heads will be discussing the potential for gun-control policy changes while those who ask for a discussion on mental health in this country will likely have their pleas fall upon deaf ears.
But the impact of the spree, as seen from the Internet, is fascinating even today.
Take, for instance, the mobs that popped up once the name of the original supposed shooter, Ryan Lanza, was announced. Countless Facebook and Twitter accounts of folks who shared his name were descended upon by masses of social-media users, gaining followers and retweets aplenty from both regular folk and national personalities. Facebook accounts, dedicated to both tribute and vengeance, were opened. Yet, as the day wore on, the owner of the true Ryan Lanza account spoke up, claiming that he was at work, and that he wasn't the shooter—which, we later found, was true. The account was very quickly deleted as his truthful claims of innocence were ignored.
Or the work of oft-maligned hacker collective Anonymous, who seem to pendulate between seen as a force for the greater good or as vandals depending on the day, struck out against the hatemongers of the Westboro Baptist Church. The WBC, who pendulate between simply being terrible and being the worst people in existence, released a video claiming that "God sent the shooter" to Connecticut, and that he was intended "as a message."
In response, Anonymous published the personal information (including phone numbers and addresses) of many WBC members, explaining in a video: "We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred. ...We will destroy you. We are coming."
And though nothing quite captured the despair of Friday like The Onion did in writing "Good God, if this is what the world is becoming, then how about we just pack it in and fucking give up, because this is no way to live," local organization Ben's Bells did something great: In quoting Mother Teresa, they offered words of peace and hope.
From their Twitter account: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
Here's to hoping that, this time, we won't.
The Week on our Blogs
On The Range, we talked GIFs; eHugged our troubles away; considered how we'd impact the pay of our city leaders; talked about how our craft-beer purchases killed Michelob; went "Loco for Local"; had our readers kick a few more folks out of town; talked more about Black Crown Coffee Co.; considered who would fill Raúl Grijalva's spot in the House, were he to move to secretary of the interior; read Tom Danehy's new TV blogging venture; watched UA football players duke it out on the sidelines of the New Mexico Bowl; covered the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and its aftermath; and more.
On We Got Cactus, we reveled in the magic of Yoko Ono's rendition of Katy Perry's "Firework"; encouraged you to grab the new Big Boi album; hyped the hell out of the Great Cover-Up!; mentioned the upcoming Josh Ritter concert; followed the Modeens in their continuing wackiness; contrasted Kendrick Lamar's new album with his guest spot on Dido's new single; and more!
Comments of the Week
"Since when has Arizona had an .08 alcohol limit? This is a 'zero tolerance' state, and has been for some time. I know this from personal experience, having spent the night in Pima County jail for having a blood alcohol content of 0.40. —TucsonWeekly.com user "PVK"
"Uhhh, I believe a BAC of 0.4 is legally dead"
— TucsonWeekly.com user "W Corvi"
"Uhh, I believe you're correct. ... Since I'm still alive to type that, I surmise that you knew that already. Thanks for the correction."
—Two Weekly readers discuss the difference between a night in jail, and a night in the morgue (Police Dispatch, Dec. 13).
Best of WWW
A short note to our readers regarding our GIF contest: As you might know, we're running a contest in which you send in animated GIFs relating to Tucson, and we reward winners with a shower of gift cards to various Tucson restaurants. This is both a fun and rewarding exercise for us all.
Interestingly, many of the entrants have not actually sent us GIFs to review, opting instead to simply drop their names into our contest box, as one would for a random drawing.
This is not a random drawing. Send us something that we can work with. Like a GIF.