Earlier today there was a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Within only an hour or so of the news of the shooting taking place, word spread quickly that the identity of the shooter was 24 year-old Ryan Lanza. It was around 12:30 in the afternoon when I got an breaking update to my phone from ABC news informing me of this. About an hour later I saw a Breaking tweet from the AP stating that the shooter was a 20-year-old, son of teacher there; older brother being questioned. The shooter is in fact the younger brother of Ryan Lanza, Adam Lanza. This error was because a law enforcement official mistakingly transposed the brothers’ first names. This error unfortunately had some dramatic repercussions on those who were not even involved with this tragedy. Such as the Ryan Lanza that lives in Newton who just coincidently had the same name of the shooters older brother.
Multiple media sites such as CBS, FOX, and Huffington Post had used this mans photo and although they were quickly taken down after learning the actual facts, the Internet had already bolstered this mistake. Even his friends such as Andrew Fletcher are receiving “tons of friend requests” because of this misinterpretation. This eventually caused Fletcher to unfriend Lanza. I cannot imagine the terrible day this man must be having and this is because of misinformation given to the media and in turn, to the public. This tragedy set the stage as example of how innocent people can be caught in the crossfire when the wrong information is given out. An in today’s world, regardless if information is correct or not, it will spread across the Internet into every nook and cranny for everyone to see and further share.
Edit: As it turned out, the Ryan Lanza featured in the photo above is the brother of Adam Lanza, the shooter. Although there was a Ryan Lanza on twitter who did have the same name and had to deal with spamming from the public.