I’m not hip enough to know (or remember) exactly when social media became so ubiquitous that they served as the primary vehicles for how many people receive, process and react to breaking news, but via Mike Walker, it seems some people are dealing with the Aurora shootings by tracking down people on Facebook with the same name as the alleged killer and shrieking at them:

As the search continues to grab the first picture of James Holmes – the suspect who opened fire at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater killing 12 people and wounding at least 38 others – many on social media networks, particularly Facebook, are abusing users with the same name.

The abuse has gotten so bad that it prompted a Facebook user with the name James Holmes to send a message declaring that he is not the suspected shooter:

“Dearest random Facebook people who keep confusing me for a mass murderer and still send me Facebook requests:

“I appreciate the fact that you are trying to become better-informed about the occurrences in Aurora last night, but you have been mislead, in that I am not the man who did it….

“James Holmes happens to be a pretty common name, surprisingly, so try not to jump the gun.”

Regards, A different guy named James Holmes

Amazing what people will do.


And sure enough, along these same lines, an ABC reporter suggested the killer was a member of a Colorado Tea Party group because somebody named “Jim Holmes” from Aurora had posted a comment on the group’s website. Now the wingnutosphere is aflame with suggestions that “liberal media” are blaming the tragedy on the Tea Folk. Turns out it was a different “Jim Holmes,” of course, and ABC has retracted the report.

I appreciate that reporters like to break news, but this is just stupid, and BTW, my conservative friends, “liberals” did not buy the report at all, so just chill about it.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.