Silent Killers

Silent Killers

By Hannah Haver, Staff Writer

The internet can often be a fun, helpful resource, but what many people do not realize is that it does in fact pose many potential dangers. Since you were young, your parents have most likely warned you of these potential threats by often saying “be careful what you post”, or “do not befriend anyone you have not met before” and my personal favorite “remember do not do anything I wouldn’t do”. Much of what is said to these future adults often passes through one ear and out the other, when it should be taken more seriously. Whether your account is private, or displays minimal information, you are truly never safe. From Facebook to Twitter and even marketing websites such as Craigslist, the risks are endless.

When marketing on Craigslist, the thought of selling to a murderer is often the last thing that crosses one’s mind, but it is in fact a very real possibility. The internet has proven to help aid serial killers in picking potential victims. Though many are unaffected, there is always the .1% group of people that are not so fortunate. Meet Elrey (69) and June (66) Runion, two members of this .1% group of people. CNN reported in January of 2015 about this couple from Marietta, Georgia, a city outside of Atlanta. The two posted an ad on the site hoping to sell their 1966 Mustang, but instead were thrown into an unfortunate situation. The Runion’s drove to McRae, an Atlanta suburb, where they hoped to meet a potential buyer, but instead were never heard from again. All the clues pointed to a suspect known as Jay Towns, who was the last person to have communicated with the couple. Sadly the Runion’s were found dead before police were able to reach them, leaving the crime unsolved. Jay Towns turned himself in early noon on Monday, and was held in custody for questioning. Since then the police have not been able to locate Towns, leaving the case open. This murder is just the beginning of many other internet related deaths.

In the city of Lahore, Pakistan, another social media tragedy struck. A paramedic named Muhammad Ejaz, was arrested for the murder of 3 gay men, whom he had met on the website Manjam, a chat room site for single homosexual men in the area. In the country of Pakistan it is illegal to be homosexual, so the killer viewed his actions as an act of justice. In police reports, Muhammad claimed that he had “tried to convince them to stop… but they would not… so I decided to kill them”, Ejaz explains to the New York Times. Ejaz would arrive at the men’s houses, then proceed to drug and strangle the men, leaving them to be discovered in their homes by friends and family. The first victim was a retired military officer, who was in his early 50’s. The remaining victims were a University student as well as an information technology worker, both of which were in their 20’s. Mr. Ejaz’s last statement to the public disclosed his opinion about how the murders were wrong, but stated that he had wanted to “give a message to these people and to society”, he explains to the New York Times.

Whether you want to accept the possibility of encountering a murderer on the internet or not, the risks are still there. Yes, the chances of this happening are highly unlikely, but very real. It is okay to interact with one another on social media, but there is also a fine line between being safe and stupid.