Behind the scenes of the sensational search and seizure of so-called "body-parts killer" Luka Rocco Magnotta, another legal battle is being waged. Media outlets reported today that Montreal police are currently investigating the owner of the Edmonton-based website that was the first to feature the video which showed the vicious murder of 33 year old Jun Lin.
Police have indicated that there is a strong possibility that charges will be laid.
Mark Marek, who operates Best Gore, describes his website as:
"...a 'reality news website' not 'news website.' I report on real life events. What you find on Best Gore is raw reality in its truest form. Honest, uncensored, real. Like life itself."
Personally, I tend to agree with Mr. Marek's description of this particularly dark corner of the World Wide Web. Although I am by no means a fan or follower of the type of material that is showcased on Best Gore (and many other sites like it), I don't feel that the operators of these types of destinations should be held personally responsible for the actions of those within their communities.
The 'meat and potatoes' of sites like Best Gore is generally supplied by users, and not by operators. It has been argued that sites like this should be held accountable because they provide the venue by which inappropriate, offensive, or illegal material can be shared with a broad audience. I feel that it's important to remember that although the medium has changed, this is really nothing new. Similar material to what is featured on Best Gore has always been available to those who wish to see it. The Internet, however, in its unparalleled ability to reach a wide audience, has perhaps brought the existence of such material to the forefront of our collective consciousness.
Those who were not previously aware of the presence of such darkened areas were given a crash course in depravity over this past week. Those who may have been under the impression that the 'sickos' were all well in hand can no longer hide beneath a blanket of ignorance, and are being forced to take a good, hard look at the world around them. Certainly, I can understand their feelings of shock and disbelief; it's hard to wake up in the morning and realize you're not in Kansas anymore.
I tend to view the Internet not as a tool for monsters, but as a mirror; it can only reflect back what we put into it. So long as there is violence -- both real and imagined -- in our midst, it will live on the Internet, as well.
Lest we forget: the search and seizure of Luka Rocco Magnotta might not have ended as triumphantly (or as quickly) if the users of Best Gore hadn't spotted a real-life predator in their midst. These users have been repeatedly and publicly accused of moral bankruptcy, when in reality, many of them were quick to report what they had seen to the authorities -- who essentially ignored their concerns and complaints, and in the case of at least one user (a lawyer from the United States), passed him off to Crime Stoppers, instead.
Best Gore main page disclaimer (June 5, 2012)
CBC News (June 5, 2012)
CBC News (June 5, 2012)