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Red Lake shootings
Troubled teen kills nine, and himself, in Red Lake
Recounting the horror of the shootings
Red Lake stunned by shootings, and by spotlight
Starting the long process of healing
Political leaders mourn Red Lake deaths
Band members in the Twin Cities grieve from a distance
Searching for reasons behind school shootings
A glimpse into the life of Jeff Weise
Shooting shows benefits, limits of school safety plans
Red Lake shooting stirs memories at Rocori High School
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Jeff Weise's enigmatic Internet persona
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An image from an animated video Jeff Weise apparently created, that shows a character shooting people, blowing up a squad car and then committing suicide. But it's offset by plenty of postings that show no violent inclinations. (Image courtesy of thesmokinggun.com)
In the days since Jeff Weise went on his shooting spree, much has been made of what the teen revealed of himself on the Internet. Postings to neo-Nazi Web sites, violent computer animations and suicidal thoughts attributed to Weise suggest a deeply troubled young man. But online messages that now seem to foreshadow Monday's tragedy are offset by plenty of postings that show no such inclinations.

St. Paul, Minn. — Some of Jeff Weise's alleged Internet musings reveal intense anger, self-loathing and a fascination with violence. For instance, there's the 30-second animated video clip Weise apparently created, that shows a character shooting people, blowing up a squad car and then committing suicide.

Weise also allegedly left disturbing comments on several other Web sites. In one he lists his interests as the military, high schools and death and dying.

But Weise's supposed musings were not universally violent. Chuck Olsen, a Minneapolis freelance writer and blogger, has read many of the Internet postings attributed to Jeff Weise.

"He seemed to have a lot of different online identities, and he seemed to reveal different parts of himself to different communities online," Olsen says.

On one forum devoted to paranormal sightings and conspiracy theories, Weise allegedly wrote about someone he knew who had seen a leprechaun. In that same forum on another occasion, Weise shared his thoughts on socialism. But Olsen says Weise's opinions weren't always consistent.

Weise seemed to have a lot of different online identities, and he seemed to reveal different parts of himself to different communities online.
- Writer and blogger Chuck Olsen

"He would mention that he was curious about national socialism or he would post something about it. But then he would say, 'Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't approve of the Third Reich or Hitler or any of that kind of thing,'" says Olsen. "But then he would post on the Nazi bulletin board and say how much he respects Hitler and what the Third Reich did."

Olsen suspects that Weise was probably looking for acceptance online, and was willing to tailor his thoughts to whatever site he was posting messages to.

Mario Robertson is the site administrator for "Rise of the Dead," a zombie Internet forum based on the "Night of the Living Dead" films. Robertson says Weise was a registered user for about two years, and in that time he made 39 postings under the name "Blades11."

"I never knew of his neo-Nazi affiliation or his interest in any of that. Nobody really picked up on him being severely depressed or angry at the world," says Robertson. "He seemed to be, you know, an average contributor like many of the other individuals who visit there, with an interest in horror fiction."

Robertson says the "Rise of the Dead" forum is a place where writers collaborate on stories about everyday people trying to survive in a zombie world. He says in the few interactions he had with Weise, the teen agreed that some of the zombie storylines would be more realistic if they had fewer over-the-top violence scenes.

In the days since the school shooting, Robertson says he's looked over all of Weise's postings on the "Rise of the Dead" forum, and can come up with only one comment there that might have implied a problem.

"The only thing that struck me as odd, in hindsight, was the post in February that he made when somebody had asked him if he was interested in continuing on with a particular story. And he said something along the lines that things were kind of screwed up for him right now, and he might have to disappear unexpectedly," says Robertson.

But Robertson says that could have meant that Weise was losing his computer privileges, or that he was moving.

"Of course, in hindsight we can say yeah, sure, that he was probably looking for help or calling out for help maybe," Robertson says. "But nobody in the forum knew him well enough to extrapolate that meaning from his comments."

Robertson says there should have been other people in Weise's daily life who knew more about his thoughts than what anyone on the Web could have known. But that may not have been the case for Weise. His father was dead, his mother was in a nursing home and he was being tutored at home instead of school for an undisclosed infraction.

Brenda Cumming, a school psychologist in Apple Valley, says troubled kids don't do well in isolation.

"There's discipline policies, often in the name of safety. Those kids are suspended and/or expelled, sent away from us," says Cumming. "And I think rejecting them is a huge piece. Gathering them in makes more sense."

Cumming says she has found that if adults ask children or teens what they're thinking or what they're planning, they often do reveal their thoughts. But she says many adults aren't comfortable asking such direct questions.

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