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Ian David Long, the 28-year-old former Marine who killed 12 people at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., was reportedly updating his social media during the incident, according to news reports.
While it is not confirmed which social media platforms he used, entertainment website TMZ wrote that law enforcement officials said Long was shooting with one hand and posting to social media with the other.
“People will debate for years whether I’m sane or insane,” Long wrote, according to a paraphrased version of his message told to NBC Chicago, “but I’m sane, life is bullshit, who cares, and I’m bored.”
A Facebook message was also posted around the time of the attack by a user believed to be Long, according to CNN. “I hope people call me insane… wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony?” the message read. “Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”
This isn’t the first time authorities have found links of social media posting to mass shooters. Nikolas Cruz, who carried out a mass shooting in a high school in Parkland, FL earlier this year, had reportedly posted on his social media photos with a gun, talked about killing animals, and about his aspirations to become a “professional school shooter.” On October 27, Robert Bowers posted on Gab, an alternative social media site, before carrying out a shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
According to the Community Standards of Facebook, which also owns Instagram, the platform has strict regulations against posts “promoting violence” such as “mass or serial murder” or “organized violence or criminal activity.” Facebook released a statement to NBC on Thursday.
“Our hearts are with the victims and families affected by this horrendous act. We’ve removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook and Instagram and will remove any praise or support for the crime or the shooter as soon as we’re aware.”
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque