John "Living one passionate moment to the next!"
Male, 22 years old
Last Login: 3/12/2006
|2/11/2006 9:06 PM |
john..........where have you been and why am i seeing you on the news? why am i hearing that you murdered someone? we got into plenty of arguments, why didnt you kill ME?
John Christopher Gaumer's page on MySpace.com has been taken down as I write this but you can still find it in Google's cache. The information above is the photo and information that Gaumer chose for his profile as "BIGTHICKDUDE" in the MySpace social networking site. Also above is the last posting on his page by one of his online "friends".
"Perils of online dating prompt safety efforts" is a Reuters Story that discusses the murder. It opens like this
Josie Phyllis Brown never had a chance against her 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) killer, although his stature was one of the few things she should have known from his Internet profile.As you might gather from the title and the lede the Reuters piece is not so much about the murder investigation as it is about the dangers of online social networking sites. It is fairly typical of the national coverage of the story -- a few paragraphs about the Gaumer and his victim to establish a linkage with MySpace.com and the rest of the story is about how dangerous these social networking sites can be for young people.
John Christopher Gaumer, who confessed to the murder and led Baltimore County police to Brown's body on February 7, listed his height and other attributes in his quest for dates on MySpace.com, a free Internet social site owned by News Corp. where mostly young people connect for friendship and romance.
Those two paragraphs manage, with a marvelous economy of prose, to state a few well-chosen facts, give a few generally false impressions, and get on to other topics. Let's start with the first sentence: "... although his stature [6'6"] was one of the few things she should have known from his Internet Profile". This gives the impression that the information Gaumer provided was sparse, misleading or false. Actually, he had provided quite a bit of information -- all of which appears to either be accurate or at least to fall within the allowable range of self-deception for a 22 year-old college male. Warning signs abound on his page including an online survey he posted which reads, in part--
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF - The SurveySo, yes his profile does give his stature -- 6'6", an ogre, almost a legal giant -- but it also suggests him to be a narsissist who is taking supplements to become "the SUPER BEAST." He describes himself as an "ogre" three times (actually as an "ogre" twice and as a "filthy orge" once which I take to mean an ogre who is not a careful typist.)
Birthday: November 23, 1983
Birthplace: K.I. Soyer AFB, Michigan
Eye Color: Green with a touch of gold, but change with clothing
Hair Color: Brown but highlights in the sun
Height: 6'6 I'm an ogre.. almost a legal Giant
Right Handed or Left Handed: Left mostly but both!
Your Heritage: Gookianarian lol ask me about my story/ German, Irish, and english
Your Weakness: Pens, Beautiful tall slender woman, oh you were asking for one lol!!!
Your Fears: Dying alone, my parents dying, my sister never being truly happy
Your Perfect Pizza: EVERYTHING...except hmmmm no no EVERYTHING
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year: SKYDIVING, but I'm doing that 9/18 but anoth would be eating blow fish!
Your Best Physical Feature: eyes
Single or Group Dates: Single dates that way you can break the ice without too much
Cappuccino or Coffee: Coffee
Do you Shower Daily: multiple times usually im a dirty orge
Do you want to get Married: Yes
Do you belive in yourself: i have my moments
Do you think you are Attractive: I do but I have to work hard to achieve that
Are you a Health Freak: I use to be but I'll eat a fatty Mc fatty burger
Do you get along with your Parents: YES!! my parents are my best friends
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol: YUP!!!!!!!
In the past month have you Smoked: nope!
In the past month have you been on Drugs: nope except supplements to be the SUPER BEAST!!!
In the past month have you gone on a Date: YES and had some great ones
In the past month have you gone to a Mall: omg every week
In the past month have you been on Stage: no but its my secret passion
In the past month have you been Dumped: not really
Ever been Drunk: YUP YUP drinking it up
Ever been called a Tease: shit I tease myself too much to do that
Ever been Beaten up: HA!!! I'm an ogre
Ever Shoplifted: yes
How do you want to Die: sleeping or in glory
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color: any
Favourite Hair Color: any I'm not too pickie
Short or Long Hair: i perfer short but depends on the person
Height: 5'0 -6'6 but i like 5'11 tehehe
Weight: slender but not pickie..but the girl can't weigh more than me
Best Clothing Style: indie/goth/ preppy the works
Number of Drugs I have taken: dont matter
Number of CDs I own: A LOT
Number of Piercings: the merrier
Number of Tattoos: 1 so far
Number of things in my Past I Regret: too man to count
He also gave his age -- 22, which makes him five years younger than his victim who, despite his having met her on "MySpace.com, a free Internet social site owned by News Corp. where mostly young people connect for friendship and romance" was 27, divorced, a single mother and old enough, and experienced enough to have known that she should be more careful. Please understand that I am not implying that the victim was in any way responsible for her fate, but only that the Reuters story omits her age (and his, for that matter) because it would distract from their use of the MySpace murder as an introduction to the discussion of the perils of online social networks populated by underage children pretending to be older and lurking pedophiles, pretending to be children.
There is, to be sure, a certain fascination to crimes with an Internet tie-in. Gaumer left quite a trail in the Internet -- not just on MySpace but on other sites as well. He had pages on RateMyBody.com, OkCupid.com, FaceTheJury.com (an edgy "dating" site with an ironic name under the circumstances), AIM, etc. and viewing the information on his pages feels a bit like wandering into a crime scene and going through the accused's sock drawer to see what he was all about. With Gaumer it doesn't take long to figure that out. He was about as subtle as a leg-humping dog. A bit more online snooping will turn up stories such as this one[warning: sexual situations, mild language, a bit creepy] that offer further confirmation.
I must admit that the social networking tie-in to the reporting on this story irks me a bit. Meeting new people online is risky -- not because it is something you do on the Internet, but because you are meeting new people. People you just met are people you don't know much about almost by definition, and whether you met them on the Internet or at a bar or a club makes very little difference. The internet does provide more opportunity to lie about their personal appearance, age and gender but meeting someone in a noisy club provides them an excellent opportunity to lie about everything else. Imette St. Guillen, a 24-year-old student at John Jay College , apparently met her alleged attacker in a bar where he was employed as a bouncer but the news stories about the event (such as this AP story from MSNBC) do not feel the need to explain to us what dangerous places bars can be.
I attribute the fixation on the MySpace tie-in to two things: First, the media love to run stories about things that people are worried about and people, especially parents, are worried about what goes on in these somewhat-mysterious online meeting places. Usually, when these fears are overblown as they are in this case, the stories will have alarming titles but the actual text will be more measured and reassuring -- usually, but not always. Which brings us to the second point. MySpace, the site you usually see singled out, was recently aquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, owners of Fox News. Reuters in particular, but most of the other non-Fox news outlets in varying degrees, takes delight in casting MySpace, now owned by their competitor and political adversary, in the most unflattering light possible.
Background: For a bit more intformation on the stories I have mentioned here you might check out Steve Huffs CrimeBlog for information about the Gaumer investigation and Johnsville for analysis of the Littlejohn investigation in New York.