“I wasn’t even completely discharged from the hospital, but my phone started blowing.” GaigeGrosskreutz. He was shot point black at his arm with an AR-15. Gaige was the only one who survived after the triple shooting when he was at a protest against the shooting of Jacob Blake. Kenosha police shot Jacob in Wisconsin.
Even after weeks, he is out of the hospital; messages have not stopped. The majority of them are encouraging, but some are ugly. There are some more threatening messages as well, which I am receiving. Grosskeutz, a 26-year-old, is now the target in some corners of the internet. He has become a target for white supremacists that are angry towards him for supporting lack Lives Matter. They are threatening him, saying he should stop supporting Black by any means, and he should also stop homicide.
Some of his friends and family members who were not part of the protest in Kenosha also received threatening messages. Some strangers appeared at his house, and they asked what happened on the night when Grosskreutz was shot. Grosskreutz said, “I have been affected by this. I am seeing people around me are scared because of strangers’ visits and threatening messages, and that upset me. I don’t understand why they are targeting people around me who were never part of the protest.” It was when five felonies charged Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, who identified himself as militia. In the same shooting, Anthony Huber and Rosenbaum were killed, and Grosskeutz was wounded.
Hannah Gittings, Huber’s girlfriend, is receiving online threats, and that is revealed by her friend Danielle Rasmussen, the one sponsored online fundraiser for Hannah. When she started fundraising, people donated $5 to gain access and started leaving nasty messages after that. Later, they requested for money refund. They started posting laughing emojis, and that was in response to Huber’s death. They even sent some threatening and mocking messages to her husband. Rasmussen said, “They are just doing these threats and mocks instead of being part of the solution. I am holding everyone accountable, and I am doing the right thing, but in these types of situations, you should have tough skin.”
Apart from the shining spotlight on Wisconsin, it is also a crucial state in the upcoming presidential election. The shootings resulted in the bare extent of harassment online and its effects. It has become a problem where victims of violence are unwitting pawns, and they are part of ideological arguments. When they are forced to delete their social media accounts, they either change their phone number or sometimes move. Hence social media harassment is difficult to stop. Some experts even say that, since there is a combination of ignorant police agencies and ineffective criminal laws and unregulated internet, everything is hard to stop.
In recent decades incidents of high-profile crimes, mass shootings, and police violence have always followed online attacks. The worst part is, the attacks are not just on the survivors and participants of the incidents but their families too. Online attacks have also targeted survivor’s attorneys and journalists who cover the actual story in some cases. A sociology professor at Hunter College in New York, Jessie Daniels, says, “It is a challenging time, and we are facing and living the tough. Apart from these, people are making use of social media for galvanizing others against white supremacists. They are in support of Black Lives Matter, and they want to point out the brutality of recent police killings. But, people have no idea that the tools they are using for social media justice can even turn on them, and it can be in a very pernicious way.”
Was Sandy Hook a hoax? On December 14 in 2012 and Leonardor‘Lenny’Pozner’s, a six-year-old boy Noah died in an Elementary School in Newton called Sandy Hook. On that day, other than him, six adults and twenty children were also fatally shot. Pozner says, “My life has changed after the tragedy. I am leading a different life now, and it is different from everything that happened after that. I consider this as my new life, and now I a parent of a murdered child, and now he is part of internet conspiracy as well.” She was talking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network. Pozner works in information technology, and before the tragedy, he was a father of three. He sometimes turns in as Alex Jones spouted few outlandish theories regarding Kennedy and the 9/11 assassination. Now, Pozner is left to parent his girls and be stalked and terrorized by many people for accusing him of anti-gun and crisis-actor who never had a boy.
But, now Pozner knows that either law enforcement or he cannot do anything to stop them. He even contacted Jones, who named the mass shooting took at Sandy Hook was a hoax. Pozner, the grieving father, is even part of a Facebook group of conspiracy theories. He wanted to be there to answer questions. I tried and changed at least one of the mind he said. The lady was the mother of young children, and she was not ready to fathom children could be shot in school. She understood, and she left the group, but now later, she became the target. Pozner said, “In some cases, I have observed that law enforcement can make the problem even worse. I even pleaded with some authorities not to add his address in complaints.
I never want to part of those public records, but they often did.” Because of all this, he had to move again and again. In one of the cases, a stranger even filed a child abuse case on him, and it was utterly baseless. Noah’s mother also moved often to new places. Even state and federal authorities were no better. For a response to a record request, they provided the entire complaint sheet of Pozner. They didn’t blackout his personal information as per laws, and they gave it in the hands of some conspiracy theorists who later posted online.
With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.