Statuses and blogs could have deeper meanings - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Statuses and blogs could have deeper meanings

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In the days following the shooting rampage in Arizona, details about the accused shooter have emerged.  Jared Loughner reportedly kept a myspace and youtube page.  Loughner had posted different things on his Myspace.com page that experts say could have served as signs that he could pose a danger to others or to himself. With so many social media sites keeping all of us connected it is the way most of us share our thoughts, what we're doing and what our plans are for the future. 

"Imminent is the key word.  You might think that someone is a potential risk but not today and not tomorrow but maybe some day in the future," said Dr. Phil Hestand, licensed psychologist.

Like others his age, Loughner posted to social media websites.  It is possible he used these sites to share his feelings or his plans.

"If you're privy to that kind of conversation, whether it's on social media or in person, you really need to say now wait a minute what are you saying," said Hestand>

Doctor Hestand is the director of the ASU Counseling Center.  He said what people say may not be what they mean.  In that case, it's important that you ask the person questions.

"Are you just blowing off steam?  Like, ‘I'm so mad I could kill him' or are you telling me that this is something you would really consider doing?," said Hestand.

He adds that we need to watch out more for each other both in person and on-line but there is another side.

"Do we start having people troll all other facebook pages just looking for someone who has written something that might be interpreted as violent or aggressive," said Hestand.

Hestand said if we did that it could violate personal freedoms.  Some signs that you should watch for include a person becoming isolated, having bizarre delusions, losing touch with reality, behaving erratically, or having abnormal ideas.    

"This is a situation where it might be beneficial if all of us just look out for each other a little bit more," said Hestand.

I is unclear if Jared Lougher has a mental disorder.  Dr. Hestand said it is very rare that someone with a mental disorder will become violent.

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