Killer Sought Solace Online:
This is more about William Freund, the 19-year-old California kid who donned a cape and a paintball helmet and shot two of his neighbors with a shotgun before turning the gun on himself. Freund had a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. One of the main characteristics of Asperger’s is a problem with social interaction. On a message board for people with Asperger’s Freund wrote some disturbing and foreboding messages…
He wrote more than two dozen online messages in October, asking for a “real life” friend and saying he was contemplating suicide. He also threatened to start “a Terror Campaign to hurt those that have hurt me.”
The messages paint a portrait of a troubled young man struggling with Asperger’s syndrome, a neurological disorder described as a variant of autism that hampers people’s ability to interact socially. He revealed his anguish and frustration on a website, wrongplanet.net, used by people with Asperger’s.
In a prophetic message written Oct. 16, about the “Terror Campaign,” he also said, “My future ended some time ago.” Other postings included “Everybody hates me” and “I feel like I need to kill myself.” He also disclosed that he had bought a 12-gauge shotgun and had gone online to buy ammunition.
Members of the online community for Asperger’s tried to reassure Freund and offer suggestions, and volunteer moderators tried to find his parents.
Their efforts failed.
In his online profile, Freund described himself as an only child of adoptive parents, a student at ITT Technical Institute in Anaheim who enjoyed “computers, role playing, fantasy, pugs, Food, guns.” He graduated from Aliso Niguel High School in 2004, the same school as Christina Smith, who graduated in 2001.
His online messages were filled with spelling and grammatical errors, alternately depicting a self-aware person desperately seeking help and a frustrated, angry man who wanted to lash out at others.
On Oct. 15 he said he had tried suicide before. “Ive Tried Everythink from asphxia, To lethal gases, Inert Gases To full suspended hanging … my minds Sick With depression.”
The next day, he said that if he made it to Halloween, he planned to equip himself with body armor, an airgun and a laser to “just scare any little kids that try to destroy my pumpkin … and guess what I have A real shotgun. It’s gona be a fun Halloween,” he wrote.
On Oct. 19, he asked for references to a mental hospital, saying that he needed counseling and social skills training. He also said he had no friends. He wrote that he wished he had some, emphasizing it with 75 exclamation points.
The moderators at wrongplanet.net even tried to contact Freund’s parents in order to help him…
Alexander Plank, 19, the founder of wrongplanet.net, said volunteer moderators who monitored messages had been concerned about Freund’s postings and took action.
“People at our site tried to contact his parents, but apparently there are a lot of Freunds in Orange County,” Plank said. There are 38 Freunds registered to vote.
Moderators also blocked Freund from posting links to pro-suicide websites, said Plank, a freshman computer science major at George Mason University in Northern Virginia.
After seeing articles about the weekend shooting, Plank said, he called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. By Monday evening, some of Freund’s messages had been removed from the website.
So basically what I think we have here is a kid with a legitimate mental illness, if you will, who didn’t get the right kind of help in time. Unfortunately three people are dead because of it. And that’s all it should be. However some people are going to make more out of it…
Blake Melcher, 21, of Laguna Niguel said many students had picked on Freund since middle school. “It happens at all schools, where some kids are always picked on,” he said.
Some people are going to hold the people who picked on Freund responsible for the deaths of Freund’s victims and Freund himself. They are not responsible. While I wish just as much as anybody that Freund wasn’t picked on it’s ultimately Freund’s responsibility due to his illness.
I guess the question is now how he obtained the shotgun…
In one online message, Freund said he had “no friends, all enemies” and bought the shotgun for home defense.