As the country reels in the wake of a horrifying school shooting in Connecticut that left a reported 20 children and 6 adults dead, people all over the nation are searching for answers. And as they do, many details of this terrible tragedy are quickly coming to light.
For instance, on Twitter, CNN reported that the name of the alleged shooter is Ryan Lanza. (The New York Post reports that the shooter is actually Adam Lanza, Ryan's brother.)
Inevitably, people flocked to Facebook to find out more about Ryan Lanza. A profile belonging to a man with the same name — from Hoboken, New Jersey (and originally from Newtown, Connecticut) — quickly emerged. A link to his profile spread virally over Twitter.
The only problem? It was apparently the wrong guy.
This is a screen grab of Facebook status updates. It was reportedly nabbed by one of the user's real-life friends:
And here is Ryan Lanza's Facebook profile picture unfortunately splashed across the Fox News homepage.
A case of mistaken identity? Perhaps. But there's a broader lesson to be learned her. Kashmir Hill, a privacy blogger at Forbes, put it best long before retractions were flying around:
First thing many people want to do is find the shooter's Facebook profile. Plz do not publicize it until you're sure it's the right person.— Kashmir Hill (@kashhill) December 14, 2012
Update 4:08 p.m. EST: The New York Times is now reporting that law enforcement officials have identified the shooter as Adam Lanza. His brother, Ryan Lanza, has been been brought in for questioning. Yet another reminder to be careful before you identify a mass shooting suspect...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- The big, gaping hole in the liberal policy arsenal
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The forgotten victims of the war in Ukraine
- 10 things you need to know today: July 28, 2014
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Blame Obama and U.S. evangelicals for the persecution of Iraqi Christians
- A gay Mormon's complicated journey
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
Subscribe to the Week