Jeff Weise didn't look like a deranged killer, but apparently he saw himself that way.

We may never know what exactly drove Jeff Weise to kill 9 people and take his own life on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, but there sure is a lot of speculation. Inevitably talk turns to violence in our culture, particularly video games like Grand Theft Auto. Apparently there are reports that Weise was a gamer. I don't doubt that immersive games can blur the line between reality and fantasy — heck, who doesn't want to run stuff over after playing GTA for too long?

But Weise's trail of internet links tells the story of a very disturbed and unstable individual, regardless of what games he played.

For starters, his Yahoo profile:

Yikes. There's much more:

  • Weise's LiveJournal, Thoughts of a Dreamer
  • The Smoking Gun has posted Weise's violent shooting spree Flash animation: 'Regret'
  • Nazi bulletin board postings
  • Many posts to the paranormal/conspiracy forum abovetopsecret.com talking about his strange dreams, National Socialism, guns, and more - summarized here (try these threads), here and here.
  • MSN bio and zombie forum bio

    I hope we can learn something from all of this, but my fear is an overblown and meaningless backlash against goth/metal/game culture. If we took away Jeff Weise's Grand Theft Auto, in the context of his entire fucked up life, would it have changed anything? For all we know, it'd have only made him angrier.

    This zombie forum has the most hilarious final word: I'm appealing to the goths out there...please...if you're going to go on a murderous rampage...wear a teal aligator shirt that day, some kakhi's, maybe some loafers. [...] Oh.. and while you're at it.. be sure to start a webjournal about how Martha Stewart is causing you to do this.. get rid of your x-box, and any heavy metal albums you have, at LEAST several months in advance. [quotes from "deadguy" and "Zombie-A-GoGo"]

    FBI to examine traits of teen gunman
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    RED LAKE, Minn. - (KRT) - As FBI agents piece together the tragedy of the Red Lake school shootings, they will compile a psychological post-mortem of Jeffrey Weise, the assailant, to see how similar he was to "school shooters" before him.

    Authorities trying to compile the dossier on Weise, 16, knew at least this much on Tuesday: He was a loner, sometimes ostracized by his classmates because of his size; he had a troubled and tragic family history, he had difficulties in school; he spent a fair amount of time online, some of it at a neo-Nazi Web site's discussion forum.

    But Michael Tabman, the FBI's agent in charge of the Minneapolis office, said Tuesday authorities had not established a motive for the shootings, The Associated Press reported. Investigators said they did not know if there had been some kind of confrontation between Weise and his grandfather, who, with the grandfather's companion, were Weise's first victims.

    In 2000, a year after the shootings at Columbine High School, the FBI published a two-year study of 18 school shootings. The researchers found the assailants tended to share 28 personal traits, six family attributes, seven school traits and five social traits.

    Chief among the 28 personal traits the assailants tended to share was something known as "leakage," described as intentional or unintentional actions that reveal feelings, thoughts, fantasies or other clues "that may signal an impending violent act." Such clues include threats, boasts or predictions, the report said.

    In a post to a National Socialist Web site's discussion forum last April, Weise wrote, "By the way, I'm being blamed for a threat on the school I attend because someone said they were going to shoot up the school on 4/20, Hitlers birthday, and just because I claim being a National Socialist, guess whom they've pinned?"

    He never denies that he made the threat, but five weeks later he wrote, "... the school threat passed and I was cleared as a suspect, I'm glad for that."

    Leakage also could be exhibited in the recurrent themes that show up in a student's writings or artwork. Classmates said Weise drew comic books with frightening drawings of people shooting each other, as well as zombies. Many of the figures he drew wore German Wehrmacht officer hats.

    Other personal traits the FBI found include a low tolerance for frustration, poor coping skills, depression, alienation, a sense of superiority, masking of low self-esteem, a lack of empathy, intolerance, an exaggerated sense of entitlement, refusal to take responsibility for one's actions and problems managing anger.

    Weise exhibited several of those traits in a post to the neo-Nazi site last May:

    "You encounter a lot of hostility when you claim to be a National Socialist, but because of my size and appearance people don't give me much trouble as they would if I looked weak," he wrote. "I already had a fist fight with a communist not to long ago over me being what I am (I also won), but it was worth it."

    The FBI found that the families of student assailants tended to exhibit six common traits. They included a turbulent parent-child relationship, the parents' acceptance of pathological behavior, lack of intimacy, no limits or monitoring of TV or Internet use, access to weapons and a dominance in the household.

    Again, Weise's life seemed to incorporate several of those traits. He lived with his grandparents because his father committed suicide and his mother was, until Tuesday, in a Minneapolis nursing home because of head injuries suffered in a car accident. His grandfather - who was among Weise's victims - was a member of the tribal police department, and the FBI has said the youth used his grandfather's firearms in his assault on the school.

    And there appeared to be few limits on the hours Weise spent online. Time-dated entries to the forum the teen frequented show him making lengthy posts at all hours of the day - 12:09 a.m., 2:43 p.m., 11:33 a.m., 2:27 a.m., 4:39 a.m.

    The FBI's Tabman acknowledged "there could be some clues" in Weise's Internet messages, according to The Associated Press. He said the investigation does include looking at Weise's Internet activity.

    Among the school traits was a "detachment" from school, the school's tolerance of disrespectful behavior, inequitable discipline, "inflexible culture," and teachers and staff giving some students more prestige and respect than other students.

    Because of unspecified problems, Weise wasn't allowed at the school and was part of a program in which a school tutor came to his home.

    The FBI found that among the social dynamics shared by the school assailants were easy and unmonitored access to violent movies, television, video games and Internet sites; use of drugs and alcohol; a peer group that accepts his behavior; and his interests outside of school.

    Weise was a frequent visitor to an Internet forum called "Rise of the Dead," a site where people collaborate to write stories about zombies. Writing under the name "Blades11," he wrote this in his biographical profile:

    "I'm a fan of zombie films, have been for years, as well as fan of horror movies in general. I like to write horror stories, read about Nazi Germany and history, and someday plan on moving out of the US."

    The FBI study said attempts to identify the next would-be school gunman by coming up with a profile was near impossible. "This may sound like a reasonable preventative measure, but in practice, trying to draw up a catalogue or `checklist' of warning signs to detect a potential school shooter can be shortsighted, even dangerous," the report said.

    The reason: "Such lists, publicized by the media, can end up unfairly labeling many nonviolent students as potentially dangerous or even lethal. In fact, a great many adolescents who will never commit violent acts will show some of the behaviors or personality traits included on the list."


    © 2005, Saint Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).

    March 24, 2005 at 03:38 AM in Local, Weblogs | Permalink


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    Great re-cap, Chuck. I've forwarded it on to a couple reporters.

    BTW, where in god's name did that "after" photo come from?!

    Posted by: Mike at Mar 24, 2005 9:10:06 AM

    And when I say "forwarded," I mean with all attribution to you, with expectation of attribution if any of it's used on-air.

    Posted by: Mike at Mar 24, 2005 9:20:49 AM

    I think it's significant that the kid was on anti-depressants. Sometimes people are depressed because SOMETHING IS WRONG. If the people around this kid had done the work to find the root causes, whether they be in himself or in his environement (or in the world; there's certainly enough to be depressed about), they could have helped him address those causes, instead of trying to medicalize his condition away.

    People are snapping like overstrung strings. People are breaking. What if somebody had addressed this kid's individuality and creativity instead of trying to fit him into a mold? Could this have been prevented?

    Posted by: Crystal at Mar 24, 2005 9:24:30 AM

    (What happens to a society when all its revolutionaries are killed or put on medication? We need a peaceful revolution, dammit, not a violent bloody one, and if we keep on this way, a violent bloody one is what we're gonna end up with.)

    Posted by: Crystal at Mar 24, 2005 9:27:19 AM

    Mike: I think the kid made that picture himself.

    Posted by: Crystal at Mar 24, 2005 9:29:07 AM

    Wow! Great post honey! Thanks for finding the PiPress story on the FBI "checklist", I'm glad the FBI is looking into similarities in these cases. I'm also glad though that they're not recomending targeting kids that fit the 28 factors though, that's the wrong way to go. I think that getting kids that fit the profile counseling is a start though, even though it appears Jeff Weise was on anti-depressants, was he at the time though? And, was he getting therapy, or just drugs? Drugs alone don't work. You can't put a bandaid over a hole in someone's psyche.

    Somehow we have to stop this from happening again. We have to fix whatever is making these kids sick and also their access to guns, and stop this. It's not going away on it's own. I think it's a symptom of a larger problem in our violence loving culture.

    Posted by: Lorika at Mar 24, 2005 9:40:27 AM

    Stupid violence loving culture. I'd suggest that society at large sit down for a mass screening of Bowling For Columbine, followed by Van Sant's Elephant, but I imagine society at large would hate the very concept of such a double feature.

    On a more self-serving note: that hilarious plea from the zombie forum sort of rang true for me. I was a fairly well adjusted goth kid in high school, but then Columbine happened and I felt my fashion sense had been rather misappropriated.

    Posted by: dvd at Mar 24, 2005 12:58:31 PM

    incidentally I think Weise had seen "Elephant" and had a still from the film on one of his web pages or on his computer somewhere. very strange.

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 24, 2005 2:02:24 PM

    Something is wrong Crystal -- the long troubled history of the Red Lake reservation, Weise's dad's standoff with police and suicide, his mothers car accident. Weise was a bright kid, but don't associate him with some sort of societal revolutionary. I don't know whether you meant to or not, but you seem to be making a connection there. This was a kid who needed people to care about him above all. He probably needed meds too, but it's no substitute for love.

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 24, 2005 2:29:56 PM

    Sorry, you're right, and I do have a tendency to click the "post" button too soon.

    Love is in too-short supply these days. How do we remedy that?

    Posted by: Crystal at Mar 24, 2005 3:38:27 PM

    Hmm... Polygamy!

    (just kidding honey)

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 24, 2005 4:01:12 PM

    I'm not a parent, and even I know that GTA isn't for anyone under 17.

    Posted by: fcsuper at Mar 24, 2005 7:26:45 PM

    I'm glad you're taking the effort of documenting this stuff before it all get's taken down. I trust you're cutting and pasting everything into Word documents?

    I missed the "Rise of the Dead" posts... I only had time to read a couple of entries, and when I came back it was removed from the site already.

    But hey.. if yer gonna' quote me from allthingszombie, (for which I'm flattered), I'd really appreciate it if you could put my username on the quote. :)

    Posted by: Deadguy at Mar 25, 2005 8:15:50 AM

    I was quoted from All Things Zombie along with Deadguy for amusements sake. While I'm glad I could provide some lightheartedness to this subject matter (everyone needs a laugh, right?), I just wanted to say seriously that while this sort of thing seems like it should be avoidable, that sad fact is that it isn't. We keep asking ourselves if there was something we should have noticed, some cry for help, how could we stop this...? You can't. No amount of media censorship, or counseling, or anything is going to stop people from doing things like this. People killed each other long before the media in it's current form, and long before anti-depressants. And anyone who's had any experience either directly or indirectly with the mental health care system in this country knows that it's very, very flawed. Not to mention the fact that the human psyche is still, for the most part, unknown territory.
    Instead of censoring and condeming groups of people, the best thing to do is change yourself as an individual. Have you ever picked on anyone? Have you ever made fun of someone? When is the last time you gave someone who needed an ear the time of day, even if they were different from you? These are the small gestures that add up to a caring society. And still, people will go on killing other people and themselves. It can't be predicted or stopped, but if we care more about what's going on around us with our fellow human beings on an individual basis, it might curb it just a little.

    Posted by: Zombie-A-GoGo at Mar 25, 2005 10:11:34 AM

    I agree, people have been killing people for as long as we know, and you could never stop that from happening, but kids have not been walking into schools and killing people with guns forever. Kids have only been doing that for a few years now. That I think says, something has changed. This is a telling sign of something, but what? I think there is something we can do to prevent the exact tragedy of a kid walking into a school and opening fire from happening again. But, are we smart/strong enough as a people to figure out how? We NEED to do more than we are to help kids deal with our messed up culture and their messed up lives. I was suicidal too at that age, but luckily didn't do anything about it. I think a lot of adults forget how volatile the teen years are for everyone. I think we need more school counselors for one tiny solution.

    Posted by: Lorika at Mar 25, 2005 11:29:37 AM

    I want to weigh in on this, but I haven't really been able to formulate any good, coherent thoughts. I see kids every day at school who are very obviously missing something in their lives, but it is so hard to reach each of them.

    "I think we need more school counselors for one tiny solution."

    Lori, I want to hug you. As a counselor at a school with around 1300 students, I have a caseload of around 300. Some days I want to run out of the school screaming because it is so overwhelming. I love my job, and I love working with high school kids, but it is so hard to anticipate everything that might happen when there are 20 mini-crises going on at the same time. Maybe Jeff Weise didn't have anyone to love him, and maybe nobody paid attention to him. I can think of 10 kids off the top of my head who may or may not fall into that category. Sadly, these kids are the toughest to reach. The other reposnibilities of my job sometimes overtake my ability to sit with a student for an hour and just talk. It's the sad, hard truth. I wish it weren't. Maybe Bush will stop taking money away from schools while he pretends to kno what's best by passing meaningless laws which actually make life much more difficult for students and teachers alike.

    Posted by: Tim at Mar 25, 2005 6:08:06 PM

    Tim, thanks for doing what you do.
    Somehow we've shifted responsibility for wayward kids from parents to teachers and counselors, and that seems like an unfair and nearly impossible burden.

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 25, 2005 7:46:16 PM

    Yes, thank you Tim! And the virtual hug is appreciated. You have such an important job, and I really admire you for what you are doing every single day to help troubled kids, or just kids with troubles. When we watch Six Feet Under and Claire gets sent to the cool younger school counselor, we think of you. ; )

    Posted by: Lorika at Mar 28, 2005 12:15:34 PM

    This blogumentary is a joke. Where are the hundreds of comments people posted on his blog but were taken down? I want to see those.

    Posted by: josh at Mar 28, 2005 9:33:51 PM

    umm...do you mean my old blog (chuckolsen.blogspot.com)?
    at some point those comments were lost.
    a tragedy, to be sure.

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 28, 2005 11:35:24 PM

    jeff weise was not what people are making him out to be.i did not know him but i feel it.i understand everything he was going through.i felt pain when i discovered his death.and in truth i feel sorry for him,not his victims.they shouldnt have treated him the way they did.i believed they got what was coming to them.jeff and i had a lot in common i discovered.so much its almost scary.i admire hitler,im on prozac,i have scars from suicide attempts,i write vampyre stories,and i cant stand bullies or inconsiderate people.i wish i could get a hold of shauna or tammy lussier.i wish i could have met jeff.we could have been very close.

    Posted by: todesengel2 at Mar 30, 2005 11:06:33 AM


    If you feel you're on his path, I'd strongly advise getting some help. This is not a guy anyone should be imitating. Please take the event he did, and use it as a lesson and indication that he took a wrong turn, and you have time to correct your path before making a similar mistake.

    When it all comes down to brass tacks, Jeff was a selfish prick. I don't care what he went through, none of it makes his actions justified.

    Take a good look at the victims and what they're going through. One of them managed to stab jeff with a pencil in-order to save the lives of two young girls. For his heroism, it's not known if he'll regain use of the left side of his body because of the bullet Jeff put into his face.

    For awhile there, noone even thought he'd live this long, but he's doing everything he can to hang on.

    That's a life you should consider.

    Posted by: Deadguy at Mar 30, 2005 4:12:51 PM

    Hello people,
    My name is Gary and I live in Red Lake, I work directly across the street from the high school where this tragedy occured, I was also very close friends and related to Daryl Lussier, the grandfather of Jeff. And I am totally offended by the writings of this todesangel2? I mean come on, what are you thinking? No one deserves something like this, these kids that died in school had long lives in front of them, one was even a young father, now his child is going to grow up with out him. All of the males shot in this shooting were either killed or seriously injured saving lives, Chase, Dewayne, Steve, and Jeff May were hit while they were protecting young girls who he was aiming at, Steve Cobenais is a close friend of my little brother and he was shot while protecting a young girl in the room, now he is facing a lifetime of difficulties due to brain damage and he lost an eye. I like your blog you posted here, but on my search of all the articles written about this tragedy, almost every single one talks about the negatives coming out of this reservation, this beautiful reservation I call home. I suggest to all your readers to look at http://www.rlnn.com and read the articles there, yeah there are some about the shootings, but there are also the postive ones that you don't see or read about in mainstream media.

    Thank you,

    Posted by: RezDawg at Apr 11, 2005 4:01:08 PM

    Red Lake Net News

    thanks RezDawg!

    (Yes, todesangel2 obviously needs some help... I'm just not sure what to do.)

    Posted by: Chuck at Apr 11, 2005 4:36:57 PM

    As the one year anniversary of this tragic event draws near, I can't help but hold my mother close and thank God for her. She was and still is a teacher at this school. The school has been faced with some issues lately and I pray that everything works out for the best and there is no more violence.

    Posted by: Passerby at Jan 24, 2006 4:41:05 AM

    I can Imagine what people think of my nephew jeffrey!!! I heard it all by now soon it will be 3 yrs. Don't think a day goes by that I don't thi9nk of this!!! It was very traggic for all the Reservation!!Gary(Rezdawg)Thankyou for what you said about jeff!! I am happy to know that ppl know what we are and have been going threw I ended up moving off the Rez because of what ppl were saying!!! all was bad and they never stopped to think about what I had to say, The one that found my father and michelle dead!!! well Jeff did not show any signs of this thing that happend.. If it had been there I would not have let it happen! People act like we just stood there and watched it but no we were living it and still are.we had all the ppl that were suppose to help us social services,RedLake hospital,RedLake Police,Mental health!!! they sent my nephew home!!! so if anyone is to blame it is them!!! any questions ask Tammy @ [email protected]

    Posted by: Tammy at Oct 4, 2007 4:34:18 AM

    Chuck if you still come to this site you are more than welcome to e-mail me [email protected] I will be waiting to hear from you.

    Posted by: Tammy at Oct 4, 2007 4:43:25 AM

    Thanks for your comments, Tammy.
    I just read through all this again. We should never stop talking about this.

    Posted by: chuck at Oct 4, 2007 1:15:03 PM

    Aaaargh.. Ok, so there will always be kids who are suffering from trauma, kids with lack of compassion and a common sense of right and wrong, kids filled with hatred, kids with depression, kids who are being bullied and do not fit in, and so on and on and on.
    And yes, there is a lot that each one of us can do to make a better society, a better world..
    But god damn, America! The more guns, the more victims!!

    There is no excuse for how a kid can get his hands on a gun.. Imagine someone pulling a Columbine with a baseball-bat.. Teaching a kid how to use a gun is like teaching your kid how to play god.. Some kids may enjoy that idea.

    I hate guns. I hate the idea of someone taking my life just by pulling their finger..

    Posted by: Sunniva at Nov 7, 2008 9:07:46 PM

    Well, its march 21st today...4 years later....7 years for my best friend who committed suicide march 21st 2002... wicked day!

    Posted by: Jerick Head at Mar 21, 2009 3:30:31 PM