On the Internet, everyone has the tools to be a vigilante. So when the name of the Aurora, Colo., shooter from The Dark Knight Rises screening was released to the public, many were eager to track him down online.
Unfortunately, James Holmes is by no means an uncommon name.
“Cue thousands of men named James Holmes on Facebook suddenly getting hate mail…” @FriskyGeek tweeted.
The particular James Holmes to bear the brunt of this witch hunt, however, is a 22-year-old cashier from Denver, Colo. Two hours ago, Right Wing News linked Holmes’ Facebook to an article about the shooter titled, “Is This James Holmes’ Facebook Page?” even though author John Hawkins said he had his doubts:
“...there’s nothing on the page that has dark, crazed, ready-to-snap vibe going on,” he wrote. “Were I guessing, I’d say this IS NOT the page, but nothing else on Facebook in the area seems to fit well.”
The outpouring the story prompted led Holmes to explain the confusion himself:
“Dearest random Facebook people who keep confusing me for a mass murderer and yet still send me Facebook requests.;
I appreciate the fact that you are trying to become better-informed about the occurrences last night in Aurora, but you have been somewhat mislead, in that I am not the man who did it. I am not a 24-year-old gun-slinging killer from Aurora, I am a 22-year-old book-slinging mass eater from Littleton. Somewhat distinct, I would assume. But I would appreciate if you would read this particular post an not assume that it would be interesting to be friends with someone on Facebook who is very probably going to be in jail and not be able to confirm your friend requests anyway, or even be friends with his girlfriend, who had the rather interesting experience of having to tell someone she had a job interview with that she is not, in fact dating a serial killer. James Holmes happens to be a pretty common name, surprisingly, so try not to jump the gun.
Regards, A different guy named James Holmes”
Within an hour of posting that explanation, angry commenters convinced Hawkins to remove the link to Holmes’ page.
“As of 9:09 AM [Mountain Time] this morning, this post is still up, and I can still link to this innocent person's FB,” a commenter wrote. “You realize you can get in trouble for this, right? Also, as a right-wing blog, you attract crazies. This is not good.”
Holmes’ message has been shared more than 140 times since he posted it an hour ago.
Holmes may be the only person to have had his name broadcasted by a blog, but he is by no means the only James Holmes getting unwarranted hate mail today. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of Holmes’ on Facebook, and the shooter may not even have a profile.
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