Red Lake shootings update:
media coverage notes and links

Categories: General Archive

10 dead, 12 injured in northern Minnesota rez town; complete text of shooter's retrievable posts at Nazi chatboard

[posted at 8:36 a.m., updated at 11:45 a.m., 12:40 p.m.]

About the shooter: Jeff Weise, reportedly a sophomore at Red Lake High, was the grandson of a tribal police officer named Daryl "Dash" Lussier, who was among the two victims shot by Weise before the shootings at school. A year ago Weise posted a series of notes on a white supremacist chatboard at Nazi.org, as first reported by Channel 5/KSTP last night; here, from the Google cache, is the text of that chatboard exchange, which is no longer posted. One of Weise's notes there claimed he had been blamed for a threat to shoot up the school last year on Hitler's birthday, April 20. UPDATE: More Weise chatboard posts.

Media coverage: Star Tribune, Pioneer-Press [2],  CNNFox, MSNBC,  Bemidji Pioneer (reg. req.), AP factsheet on this and other US school shootings.

About the coverage: Nationally, the major network websites led with the shootings last night; in most instances the story had slipped back to number two this morning, behind the inevitable Terri Schiavo updates. Nearly every major national news organization ran versions of the various AP dispatches on the shootings.

Locally, the Star Tribune's morning-after story focuses on a chronological reconstruction and local reaction. There is little mention of Weise's background and none of his neo-Nazi affinities. Bill Gardner and David Hanners of the Pioneer-Press have more details about the shooter. Gardner's story lede gets a jump on the rest of media in reducing Weise to a familiar type: "A towering young loner who always wore a dark trench coat to Red Lake High School went on a shooting spree Monday..."

Sound familiar? Gardner adds, for good measure, that Weise was a Marilyn Manson fan. He appears to get one detail wrong, however, in suggesting that Weise went by the online monikers NativeNazi and Todesengel (German for "angel of death"). UPDATE: Despite my initial, skeptical note about both these pen-names belonging to Weise, it looks like I was the one who misread. Here is a fresh post on the subject--from the UK's Guardian newspaper. It quotes a statement at the Nazi.org website verifying that Weise posted a total of 34 items there.

Nonetheless, it's the Pi-Press story that captures what will no doubt be the tone of coverage in the days to come, as reporters conjure with Weise's trench coat, his musical tastes, and his neo-Nazi sympathies. Expect lots of stereotyping dressed up as psychological profiling by reporters and pundits in the days to come, as media absorb the details of Weise's life and interests; and expect the story to fall off the national media radar much faster than Columbine did, as media absorb the fact that this happened on an Indian reservation and involved Native American victims. 

(One last thing: Online, the Pi-Press's banner print headline, "Deadly Day at School," is inexplicably and distastefully transmuted to the smirky, jokey-sounding "Dead Day at School." Fortunately, it's not that easy to find, given the PP's crackerjack webpage packaging. And good luck locating David Hanners's related piece about Weise's Nazi views; it's not linked off the main story. Why does Knight-Ridder even maintain a Pioneer-Press website at this point? Is it just a matter of the revenue from online classified ads?)

Other Resources: a Red Lake High School webpage, with photos and notes about the school; Red Lake Net News.

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