Where would we be without the internet?
For one, we’d have a lot less reading material. For those of you that know me, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with serial killers. And not just any serial killers – only the most twisted, depraved, bizarre serial killers ignite my curiosity. Think Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein, Albert Fish … and now Luka Magnotta. Basically the more messed up they are, the more interested I am.
But this post is less about my fascination with depraved killers as it is about my fascination with how this particular case has unfolded. A common idiosyncrasy among serial killers is to retain some kind of souvenir from the act. A dismembered body part, an article of clothing, or in the 21st century, video or photos of the act. That is certainly the case here – police have confirmed the video that has appeared online depicting a dismemberment and subsequent cannibalism of a corpse, is indeed the same video of Luka Magnotta doing horrible things to Justin Lin. Yikes.
But what struck me as most disturbing in this case —and that’s saying a lot in a a story with no shortage of disturbing details— is how long it took for the police and media to get on it. To put it plainly, the internet beat them to it. The story of a human foot being sent to the Conservative party headquarters broke on May 29. I believe the torso was found in Montreal the same day. The next day, May 30, police obtain a nation-wide warrant for Magnotta’s arrest.
Not bad right? After all, it only took police one day after a foot and torso were mysteriously found to pinpoint the culprit. But wait a minute. People were talking about a horrific video floating around the web called ’1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’ as early as May 15.
Police say the actual murder occurred on the evening of May 24 and the video was uploaded to the web on May 25. Magnotta, who has an extensive internet history showing narcissistic behaviour, could have made that post himself to drum up interest in the video, before actually committing the murder and uploading it. It would not be out of character for him. But the question still stands: how did people know about the video before it was even uploaded? There’s also the possibility that Magnotta committed the murder way before May 24.
There’s also evidence that people contacted police well before May 29 expressing their concerns about ’1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’. This raises the question as to why police did not take a more serious look at the video before calling it a hoax. I suppose the idea of someone murdering, cannibalizing, committing sexual acts on a corpse and then uploading it to the web for the world to see is a little farfetched.
In the same thread where a poster first mentions coming across the video, internet sleuths connected a screenshot from the end of the ’1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick’ video to a screenshot from a former video of Magnotta allegedly torturing and killing kittens. They also determined the Casablanca poster was the same one Magnotta is seen in front of in pictures on his Facebook. Impressive.
To sum it up, internet geeks were on to Magnotta days before police and the media. As early as May 27, people were speculating on forums that it was Magnotta in the video.
Personally, it kind of freaks me out that it took a decomposing human foot to be sent to the country’s ruling federal party before our federal and municipal police departments actually noticed something was up.
The Montreal Police Department has stated that they “don’t conduct their investigations via social media”.
Maybe it’s time they reconsider that policy.
JUNE 4 UPDATE: Magnotta was reportedly arrested at a Berlin cybercafe today, reading articles about himself. How fitting.