Site features young people sharing feelings of depression, loneliness and anger mixed with gallows humour
In one photo she can be seen holding a gun up to the camera — professing her love for goth, punk and death metal music.
In another, she’s pretending to cry — black teardrops drawn in eyeliner marking her cheeks.
These are the images of a pre-teen girl — and accused killer — all saved for posterity on the Internet.
“I go crazy if I’m kept inside my house for to (sic) long,” the girl penned in a Feb. 23 blog entry.
In that same entry, she fills out a questionnaire about her life.
Asked whether she’d ever been arrested, her blunt reply comes in two words: “Not yet.”
Another question: “Have you ever cheated on someone?”
“Yes, many years ago,” the 12-year-old responds.
The young girl, who now stands accused of killing a Medicine Hat family, leaves little to the imagination on her personal websites — at least three easily accessed on the Internet.
The girl, who writes about her desire to be a “piercer and tattoo artist” claims to be afraid of llamas, bunnies and heartbreak.
Her favourite song is Demonology and Heartache.
“I think deep thoughts. I am quite emotional and my mood is ever changing.
“Other people live in my head with me,” she wrote.
And then, there’s the 23-year-old Medicine Hat man who’s also accused in the slayings.
On the Internet, Jeremy Steinke, an electric guitarist in a heavy-metal band, has a personal page on the same site, but he’s not quite as open.
Known as TheGeneralLee01, Steinke, now charged with three counts of first-degree murder, claimed to be a member of the military.
The tie that binds the two — aside from the criminal charges they now face — is the Internet.
According to a friend of the 12-year-old girl, she met Steinke online at VampireFreaks.com, a website that caters to “gothic industrial culture,” and claims to have over 500,000 members.
It features web blogs and online journals by people with usernames such as SuicideOfLove, TeenageOddity and RottingNails who share feelings of depression, loneliness and anger mixed with gallows humour.
Entries include macabre descriptions of being raped — “I liked it” — wanting to commit suicide, and desires to kill others, along with more routine teenage entries describing schoolroom boredom and fretting over boys.
“Usually we hear about the Internet being used by predators to lure teens to be victimized,” said John Manzo, a sociologist at the University of Calgary. “This is an unexplored danger of the Internet, that it gives people who would normally be isolated in their desires a social network to find like-minded people.
“But we have to be careful here because while the Internet may give you the option to find people who might help you enact your fantasies, there is still the issue of where those fantasies come from.”
Manzo and other criminologists say the Internet is still only a tool, like a telephone or an automobile, which can facilitate acts for good or ill, but it’s not the root cause of those acts.
“This young girl must have been unhappy for whatever reason and found some support on this website,” said Janne Holmgren, a criminologist at Mount Royal College.
Kids entering their teen years often want to give the impression they are older than they really are — the girl repeatedly says she’s 15 — and the Internet provides a way to get into situations they may not be ready to handle, experts say.