Tuesday, April 17, 2007UPDATE 4/20/AM: We received this comment regarding the Monday morning '4chan' posting from a user who states they are from the Planet Blacksburg website, and while I can not vouch for its authenticity, it does have the ring of truth to it:
"We removed the post due to a sick phone call and a host of sicking posts from 4chan users.UPDATE 4/18/PM: To all the commenters who wrote in to point out and give various reasons why the '4chan' entry is faked: if you read this blog entry, it only says that someone posted an anonymous entry on the forum threatening to kill people at 'vtech' that day. Given the nature of these forums (fora?), this probably wasn't the first time someone posted vague threats - but they are rarely paid attention to unless an actual crime occurs. Unfortunately, this time, one did.
I understand that the vast majority of 4chan users are perfectly normal people exchanging information. However, it seemed that our reporter stumbled upon a sick little corner of cyberspace. With everything else we had to do in reporting on and dealing with the massacre, we decided to turn the issue over to the FBI, to remove the post and to push on to cover the story that really mattered.
Nowhere did I - nor did the Planet Blacksburg site - claim that the message actually was posted by Cho Seung-hui. Amazing how many people seem to miss this basic point before commenting. If you think about it, it's a bigger deal that someone would bother to fake such a tasteless message than if it were the real thing.
You've likely heard by now that Cho did mail a "manifesto package" of photos, writing and a videotape to NBC - after the West AJ dorm shootings and before the Norris Hall shootings, according to the postal date stamp. Which makes the fact that the 4chan forum posting may have been a fake (as in, posted by anyone other than Cho) rather moot. Carry on.
Sick Internet Joke or Real Thing? No information yet on the veracity of this post on Planet Blacksburg, a Virginia Tech group student blog, where a user allegedly threatened to shoot people on campus hours before the shootings occurred:An anonymous user on the English imageboard, 4chan, posted the following warning Monday just before 5 a.m.The shooter has now been identified by authorities as 23-year old Cho Seung-hui, an English major from South Korea. [Image above from Department of Homeland Security, is Cho Seung-hui's "green card" photo as shown on CNN]
“hey /b/ I‘m going to kill people at vtech today in the name of anonymous”
PlanetBlacksburg.com notified authorities immediately upon discovering the threat. The timing of the post remains open to question. Is it an Internet hoax? The site 4chan, consisting of mostly anonymous users, showed busy posting activity. The nature and message in many posts was nothing short of disturbing.
More info (and speculation, as much is uncorroborated) on the Virginia Tech Massacre Wikipedia page.
UPDATE: As of Tuesday evening 4/16, the Planet Blacksburg page in question seems to have been removed. Hot Air links to a screenshot of the "Sick Internet Joke or the Real Thing" page, courtesy of one of their readers.