Thursday, August 27, 2015

Murder As Media Performance

"[WDBJ-TV Alison Parker is a] racist. My hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them. Jehovah spoke to me [spurring to action]."
"Alison made racist comments ... EEOC [equal opportunities report filed] ... They hired her after that???"
"Adam went to [HR -- human resources] on me after working with me one time!!!"
"I filmed the shooting see Facebook."
"[I was a] human powder keg for a while ... just waiting to go BOOM!!!"
"What I encountered while employed at WDBJ-7 was nothing short of vile, disgusting and inexcusable. Your Honor, I am not the monster here. I get along with my current co-workers … [T]hat sure doesn’t sound like the monster I was painted to be."
Vester Flanagan, Virginia gunman

"How can this individual have robbed these families, the families of Alison and Adam, of their lives and their happiness and their love for whatever reason?"
"After many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well."
"He quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with. Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. We had to call the police to escort him from the building."
Jeff Marks, general manager, WDBJ TV

"It's like showing those beheadings. I am not going to watch it. I can't watch it. I can't watch any news. All it would do is rip out my heart further than it already is."
Andy Parker, father of murdered reporter

"[Flanagan] was a good on-air performer, a pretty good reporter and then things started getting a little strange with him."
Don Shafer, former news director, KPIX-TV, Florida
Reporter, photographer shot and killed on air
Alison Parker interviewing Vicki Gardner
When Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, worked  for WTWC television in Florida he was considered fairly good at his job. Until, in 2000 he was fired as a result of "bizarre behaviour". Mr. Flanagan, however, held that he was a victim of racial discrimination augmented by slurs and discrimination because of his gay status. Two years later he resumed his career as a reporter and producer for WNCT-TV in North Carolina.

In 2012 he was hired by WDBJ, then fired within a year. Paranoia and a persecution complex led him to the conclusion that he was meant to act against the grievous treatment that had been meted out to him, and avenge himself personally on an oppressive situation where he was victimized, incited further by the recent shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He became a perfect storm, triggered by his own personality and his perceived victimhood.

And he set out to perform a ritual; to video-record his revenge, and to circulate it on social media in expectation of acclaim as a hero in the black struggle against white supremacy. To become that hero he had to select a target in a conspicuous situation where his action would be recognized as boldly audacious, proving himself a man of action and enterprising acumen, using his TV-broadcast skills in the process. His final statement to the unfair world of persecution and indignity would be self-martyrdom.
Ward was engaged to be married to a morning show producer at WDBJ, Melissa Ott, according to a journalist at the anchor desk, and Ward recently told her, "I'm going to get out of news. I think I'm going to do something else."
Adam Ward

Pointing a pistol at reporter Alison Parker as she interviewed a local official at an outdoor shopping mall he called her a "bitch" and shot her, as she reacted in shock and disbelief, attempting to flee,  filming the action as it took place, and then he shot cameraman Adam Ward, 27. He posted the ensuing video of the murders and no doubt felt satisfaction at a job well planned and executed. The interviewee, Vicki Gardner, also critically shot, underwent surgery and will survive.

The scenario he sketched out for himself works for social misfits, psychopaths, people who set out to distinguish themselves as murderers, committing atrocities for a 'cause'. The huge attention generated by videos released by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has acted as an obvious template for the bitterly self-conscious victim yearning to become a celebrity figure, a martyr to their own cause of self-actualization as a champion of the underdog. Leaving a legacy in the annals of self-described avengers of the wronged.

Labels: , , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet