Everyday Internet Users Could Save Lives, If Only Someone Would Listen

Kristi Keller

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0LVdJm_0Z8ldCjp00Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Forget cats. Instead, don't f**k with internet sleuths.

If you're wondering about the reference between cats and sleuths let me enlighten you. But beware,  neither the references nor the details are for faint hearts or weak stomachs.

Before watching the documentary, Don’t F**k With Cats, I had no clue what it was about. Like zero idea.

I’m not a fan of cats so the title didn’t draw me in enough to watch the trailer. The only reason I even entertained watching something with ‘cats’ in the title is because I’d heard some coworkers talking about it.

My coworkers couldn’t stop raving about how twisted this documentary is, so I had to find out for myself. I only had to scroll to the title on Netflix to see that the documentary was actually about hunting an internet killer. Not cats.

Now my curiosity was piqued.

I’m fascinated by documentaries about crime, murder, unsolved mysteries, cold cases, and the list goes on. This one sounded right up my alley, and it was new years day, so I had the whole day to lay around and binge all episodes at once.

Now, let me just mention that this is NOT a review of the documentary. There are plenty of wildly varying opinions surfacing about it already. Nobody needs mine.

I don’t even know where to start with this one, except that I vividly remember when the actual story hit the news in 2012. No Canadian was unfamiliar with the name Luka Magnotta once this story hit media outlets.

Canada hadn’t had something this sensational since Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo were on the scene in the early ’90s. Another story I remember vividly.

Canada isn’t really on the map for serial killers and sick murderers, but when they do get on the map, apparently they go big. This was sick and twisted, and the trailer will give you a better idea than I can, of what it was about.

Although I was highly engrossed and disgusted by the details of the docu-series, it felt as if the biggest realization of all was glossed over.

Average internet users could have potentially prevented this atrocity from happening, but no one would listen to them.

I found it remarkable that a private Facebook group of ordinary citizens took it upon themselves to super-sleuth a cat-killing maniac hard enough to figure out his actual identity.

For years they tracked the man like bloodhounds, to find out who he was and where he was located. They went as far as to analyze objects in his apartment to assess what country the horrific videos may have originated in.

These ordinary civilians even picked up on things as insignificant as typing patterns!

The most chilling part is when they tracked him to an exact apartment suite inside a building, based on one internet photo where the miscreant forgot to block the EXIF data on his photo.

Incredible. Yet horrifying, when you think about how easy the internet makes it to locate someone.

What I find captivating is that these gutsy internet users didn’t have to go this far. Nothing was stopping them from watching the heartbreaking cat videos, calling him a demented wacko, and then walking away.

Instead, they sleuthed and tracked the man for an outlandish TWO YEARS at the risk of their own safety and identities. They also went as far as alerting authorities but were sadly ignored.

Then, the unthinkable happened. The wacko himself released a snuff video, not involving cats this time, but an actual human.

The internet sleuths knew the potential was there, they had a feeling it was coming, and then it did. Yet they could do nothing without the help of authorities who didn’t seem interested in chasing a cat killer.

The sheer weight of emotion is clear throughout interviews in the documentary. I felt real devastation when the lead homicide detective broke down while recounting details of the snuff video.

But homicide detectives are trained to deal with these kinds of acts….regular internet users are not. Yet, it was the regular users who first had access to the video, and when they tried to alert authorities they were again overlooked.

I shudder to think it’s possible that this heinous act could have been prevented. We can’t know for certain, but it is possible if all the pieces would have fallen into place.

Every modern police detachment in North America has a cybercrimes unit at its disposal. How are such atrocities going undetected by authorities, yet they’re so accessible to average internet users?

I realize that cyber crimes may be more geared toward fraud and theft but given the state of the internet these days, I would like to think that human safety is a priority. I would also like to hope that since the Luka Magnotta fiasco, human safety has become a priority.

I’d rather see a hundred fraud operations go undetected than ONE loss of human life.

As touched on in the documentary, there’s a very fine line between sleuthing and full-on witch hunting. That’s the danger in average citizens trying to take matters into their own hands.

We lead with emotion and hostility when we witness injustices. Authorities are trained to handle these cases methodically and objectively.

But if action isn’t being taken by authorities, what alternatives are there? I would like to see a day when police work WITH citizens, rather than against or independently of them.

Our reach could extend a lot further as a unified, collective force.

One thing I will say about the documentary itself — it’s disheartening that it put so much weight into sensationalizing the killer, yet the actual victim seemed like an afterthought.

My heart goes out today just as strongly as it did seven years ago, to the family of the man who lost his life in this case. No human deserves such indignity and no family deserves such sorrow.

The victim was a visitor to my beloved country, studying to better the lives of his family back in China.

Secondly, I feel that the real heroes in the situation are the internet hunters. Average citizens who went above and beyond, risking everything, simply because they stumbled onto a few animal cruelty videos.

It upsets me that their efforts ended up being in vain.

Some opinions circulating on the internet say that the sleuths themselves gave the Magnotta the notoriety and fame he was looking for. While that may be true to a certain extent, should they instead have turned a blind eye and ignored him?

Their lives will never be the same after witnessing the extinction of a human life. Just as the lives of the victim’s family will never be the same.

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I'm an old school travel writer who's been flung into another writing world through life experience. I have a compassionate eye, a different opinion, and strong words for this world we live in. I also know a thing or two.

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