In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, initial reports said the shooter was a 24 year-old named Ryan Lanza. Online, people quickly located a Ryan Lanza on Facebook and searched through his profile to see if there were any "clues" they could pin the shooting on. They found their clues... but the wrong Lanza.
As we now know, the shooter was apparently Adam Lanza, the younger brother of a man named Ryan Lanza (It's unclear if the killer's brother and the Ryan Lanza on Facebook are the same person, though some details match).
But during those initial reports, a mob of angry Facebook users noticed that Ryan Lanza had liked Mass Effect on Facebook. Coupled with news reports that a Fox News expert connected the horrific shooting to video games, some felt like this was proof positive that games were to blame.
A Facebook pile-on began. "There is a connection between violent games and senseless violence in real life," wrote Facebook user Becky Laird Gluff. Another user, Melanie Bowers, said, "Ban this game and the people who created such sickness." And Catherine Barowski Plummer even wrote, "I am sure none of these precious children had this game on their Santa list... God help protect us from all the evil our society promotes." (More in the below)
"Ban this game and the people who created such sickness."
(Somewhat ironically, that Fox News expert also blamed Facebook for what happened.)
A few hundred comments in, the mob was in full force, when a Reddit thread seems to have picked up on what was going down.
Video games have long been a scapegoat. The constant finger-pointing has made many gamers defensive—perhaps overly so. The next thousand or so comments that followed were gamers sticking up for Mass Effect, pointing out that the alleged perpetrator probably drank water and ate bread, so many we should ban those, too. But hours later, what exactly are they now sticking up for? That was the wrong Lanza!
The Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting: Everything We Know About the Shooter [Gawker]
Mass Effect [Facebook Thanks, Konpatchi!]
'Mass Effect' Facebook Page Attacked Because Misidentified Shooting Suspect Liked It [Mashable]
Mob Mentality at Its Finest [Reddit]