Ignore the Postings – Guest Post

August 12, 2009 by admncc

Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my posts, readers can submit Guest Posts on topics they’d like to complain about.  Leo Nevoli submitted the below-Guest Post.  His complaint has to do with the Internet and certain people’s cries for help.  It’s a deep and very interesting topic.  Without further adieu, here’s Leo…

If you read on a friend’s web site that they were looking forward to a high school reunion, because they couldn’t wait to show those who made fun of them that they were better then them, would it concern you?  What it concern you if the web site said, “It would be sweet revenge to get back at them?”  Or maybe they posted something about an event and they begin talking about looking forward to the death of someone or their own death.  As a true friend, you may like to think they will not do anything.  Are you just going to ignore their postings, and not contact them or others to let them know of your concerns?  You may feel it is none of your business, even if other’s lives are involved.  What key words would get you really concerned?

I have read the unedited blogs posted by George Sodini on his My Space page.  If his name does not ring a bell, it may when I tell you he was the guy who on August 4, 2009; by walking in to a LA Fitness in Bridgeville, PA; turned off the lights in an exercise room filled with women, and fired off approximately 30 rounds.  He killed three women, one of which was a friend of my co-worker.  He also injured about 10 more women, before he then turned the gun on himself.  Since November 2008; he had made updates about what he planned to do, but waited until after the election last year, because he was curious about the result.  In fact he made an entry on January 6, 2009 that read, “It is 8:45PM: I chickened out!  I brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!”  He complained about not having a woman in his life, and it upset him.  He also had statements of: “Looking at The List makes me realize how TOTALLY ALONE, a deeper word is ISOLATED, I am from all else.”  Just reading some of his postings concerned me of his mental state of mind.  If he was my friend or I was someone reading his posting, I would be contacting the authorities.  Maybe if his friends read what he said, and they contacted the proper people, they could have prevented what happened.  It has been a week, and sadly no one has stepped forward admitting to reading these posts and trying to help him during the past 10 months.

I know no one is paid to patrol websites, looking for people who are planning on killing people, but for several months now I have read about events people planned by posting things on Facebook, My Space, or their web site.  Take Paul Zolezzi for example.  He had his Facebook status as: “born in San Francisco, became a shooting star over everywhere, and ended his life in Brooklyn . . . And couldn’t have asked for more.”  His body was found hanging on the monkey bars of a Brooklyn playground early in the morning hours after posting his status.  Not minutes, but hours!  HOURS?!?!  You are going to tell me that no one read his status and had any concern about him?  No one tried to contact him, or called the police about his welfare?

Maybe when people read things, they don’t think about what can happen, or they chose to ignore what they read, because they may feel that if they ignore it they will not feel guilty.  I guess I am different in the way I feel for people.  I know if I had come across a suicide note in a friend’s trash can, I would confront them about it.  I would want to try to do something, instead of thinking about what I could have done to prevent their actions after the worse has happened.

Some people may say that the authorities don’t have time to investigate every call about some threat, but I have to wonder has society gotten to the point that people can read a possible cry for help from a friend, and ignore it?  Or is it that some people are totally alone, and they have no one in their life they can call a friend.  I know not everything on the Internet is true, and some people use the Internet to reach out for help, or express themselves.  People express themselves in different way, and some people just need a push to open up their feelings.  Maybe I am different, but if I saw that a friend wrote something that concerns me, I am going to contact them or someone else to make sure nothing bad happens.  I’m Leo Nevoli, and that’s my ponderings.

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  1. The Constant Complainer says:

    Leo, this was a well-timed article. I think many of us heard about the shootings in Pittsburgh and then saw the subsequent stories about the shooter’s web postings. I just don’t understand it either. Clearly, I would like to believe that somebody saw what he posted. I’m sure he had to have at least a handful of friends on his My Space page. But maybe he didn’t. Clearly, if you read what he said, there were no women in his life. But was he totally friendless?

    Like I do for any Guest Post, I did some research on the topic before posting it. ABC News had the unedited postings you referred to. To say they were disturbing would be an understatement.

    This who thing reminds me of a situation that happened when I was younger. A good friend of my sister’s committed suicide. But the circumstances were strange. The day before, he had written a letter to his best friend and it said something like, by tomorrow at 4, I’ll be dead. And he mailed it to this friend who lived down the street. He knew his best friend got off the bus every day at 3 and checked the mail. However, on the day the letter arrived, the friend had (for the first time ever) missed the bus. No call came, my sister’s friend walked downstairs, asked his mom what was for dinner, walked back upstairs and killed himself. Chilling to say the least… But I’ve always wondered if his letter to the best friend was a cry for help. And did he feel that he had no options when the call didn’t come?

  2. Leo Nevoli says:

    One thing I did not mention about George Sodini’s postings is that in his name header, he listed his DOB, then on August 4th, he added the line DOD: 08/04/09. Anyone reading that should have thought that as strange and then get concerned.

  3. Dan says:

    Good post, Leo. I’m sorry about your co-worker’s friend. I agree with you. I truly believe that if I saw a note, like he posted, that I would react.

  4. MikeE says:

    Almost 12 years ago my best friend killed himself, at the time it seemed to be completely “out of the blue” in the days following after talking to family and friends we realized there were many “signs” but taken individually they didn’t seem serious. I often wonder “what if” and hope that if the situation would ever develop again I would recognize these signs. I still miss him.

  5. Sugar says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your co-worker. Maybe this guys friends thought he was just weird and didn’t take him seriously.

  6. Hindsight gives us clearer vision. I would hope that if I saw something like that posted on a blog or by a friend on Facebook, that I would do something. For people that you don’t know “in real life”, unless it’s blatantly obvious, you might just think they were being weird or were joking!

  7. MikeN says:

    I’m certainly not arguing with you here, however there’s really nothing anyone can do sometimes. I’ve had friends who had suicidal tendencies and there was literally nothing I could do. I tried to talk to them about it, reason with them, but when someone is that depressed they don’t see the logic like you or I would. But, like I said I’m not arguing. If you’re a true friend, you should always try.

    As for the guy in Pittsburgh, I doubt the authorities could have done anything about it as long as his firearms were legally obtained and he hadn’t committed a crime. I’m not sure, but I don’t believe there’s laws against threats made on the internet. Maybe there should be… but there’s a line to be drawn as to what constitutes a threat. There’s also the 1st amendment to contest with. It’s really a slippery slope. Yes it would great if that crime had been avoided or trumped by acting on his threats, but some other poster said it best with hindsight is 20/20. This guy was clearly very disturbed and a bomb waiting to explode, but I don’t know if there could have been anything to stop it.

    Good post

  8. I think this is a touchy subject because you never know the context that things are in when its done online. There are days when I check my FB and people have statuses like, “I wish I were dead” “I fucking hate my life” etc. Am I supposed to call everyone who is having a bad day the minute I see statuses like that?

    I think if its an ongoing issue then you should stop and take the time to talk to your friend about how they’ve been feeling lately, if there is something they want to get off their chest..but I don’t think calling the authorities would be helpful. I don’t think they’d care UNTIL a crime has been committed or is in the process of being committed.

    The fact that this happens so often is incredibly sad.

  9. Leo Nevoli says:

    You are right Jenny about not calling to check on a friend every time you see a questionable message, but if they made statements for a 10 month period, would that get more attention from you? Check out: http://abcnews.go.com/US/Story?id=8258001&page=2
    This is the ABC News link CC refered to. One would think that someone reading this for a while would have got concerned.

    This report came out on Monday:
    Looks like George Sodini had a grenade on a bus, and was investigated for it.

  10. Leo in all honest I don’t think I would have done anything after reading those posts because its so hard to know who is serious and who isn’t. If I was a follwer of his blog I would have started to get worried about the time I read that he chickened out. At the same time, I don’t think that anyone who knew him actually read his blog. I mean, he gives full names, addresses etc. If he did that and someone he knew saw their name or address up there they would get offended contact him, the webhosting service or something and have it removed. It’s like the guy was writing an online diary but no one knew who he actually was.

    After reading his blog posts I realize he was a very sad pathetic man.

  11. We are from Pittsburgh and were out of town at the time of the shooting, but know how it has impacted the small town of Bridgeville. It has been terrible and many here have been touched.

    I don’t know the answer…are myspace friends really friends? Are they groups of internet friends that have no real connection in the real world? Did anyone really read his words? It’s so sad to think someone did and did nothing about it, but I have to believe there was a reason it wasn’t reported. I can’t believe people are that callous.

    Whatever the reason, many families are destroyed and it’s such a shame. Maybe this post will cause each of us to stop and think about what is the “right thing” to do if we are ever confronted with such a decision in the future.

  12. NeoConDon says:

    I haven’t read what this loser put up on his myspace page, but a person like this probably doesn’t have any friends…just people he picks up as internet friends. But, if one of my friends was putting up info about killing people, I would take them seriously. The same way I take the Marxist leftists that I encounter in my life seriously. A liberal progressive marxist is either a cruel human being, or is just ignorant to the facts. I do my best to determine which they are and either educate them or keep them away from my family.

    This was a very good column. Unfortunately, if someone has it in their mind to storm into a building and start shooting, there is very little anyone can do to protect themselves except to make sure they’re carrying a concealed handgun to protect themselves from the loons. Until the loons know that the citizens will shoot back, things like this will continue to occur.

  13. What a sad situation 🙁

  14. Tristan says:

    The First Amendment isn’t so frightening if you have the Second Amendment. Everyone is so enamored with the idea of pre-crime: stopping things before they happen, snitching on your friends and neighbors. It doesn’t work and only infringes on the liberty of everyone else. With the way our society exaggerates everything, I’m not sure there would be anyone who wouldn’t be considered a threat to himself or others by someone. As an aside to Don’s point about self defense, maybe we as a society would be more respectful to one another if we weren’t immune to harm in everyday situations. I don’t think I would be willing to duel him to get ahead in line… my point being that we are clearly not as civilized as we like to think we are.

    As for suicide, I don’t see the problem with the guy who “couldn’t have asked for more” by taking his own life. It’s unfortunate for friends and family, but apparently he was perfectly-happy in doing so. I can see the argument that unhappy people should be helped when possible, but I’m also something of an existentialist, so I don’t have a whole lot of emotional investment there (don’t ask me to talk you down from the ledge, because if you don’t have anything to live for, I probably won’t disagree… if you can’t find meaning in life or give meaning to life, who am I to tell you otherwise?).

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