Social Media Death Threats Increasingly NOT Trash Talk

By Mary C. Long 

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.27.02 AMA Facebook status that threatens or hints at murderous intentions is always a cause for concern — whether you believe that person will actually follow through with the crime or not.

Most threats turn out to be cases of trolling or attention-seeking, like Reece Elliott, the guy who threatened to shoot up a school, but it is absolutely crucial that we don’t automatically dismiss all such posts as frauds. Because sometimes, they’re not.

22-year-old Merrick McKoy updated his status Monday morning and posted a picture of himself with his 19-month-old daughter Mia. Moments later he shot her, then turning the gun on himself.

The status update read  “I told u I can’t live without u lol u thought I was joking now me n Mia out this b*tch,” and was presumably directed at his ex-girlfriend — Mia’s mother, Kimphone Phanthavongsa.

The 19-month-old died on the way to hospital, and McKoy is said to be on life support. His last posts read “Don’t judge me had no choice” and “Ima miss stall lol [sic].”

And McKoy isn’t the only one to follow through with his online death threats (although he may be the only one to use “lol” before committing such a monstrous act).

Only last month, 16-year-old boy Adrian Alvaresz threatened to end his life on Facebook, then shot himself hours later at his school in Texas. If his posts were taken seriously, somebody could have intervened and saved his life.

There’s also of Neil MacInnis, who shot two women at New River Valley Mall in Virginia less then ten minutes after posting details about the murder weapon on a 4chan message board — “because the news never gets it right.”

Posting death threats online is illegal. If you see one, report it instantly. There’s no way of telling whether someone’s serious, and when lives could be at risk, is it really worth taking chances?