By: Yen Hoang
By now, the shooting that occurred yesterday, at Youtube’s headquarters in Northern California, has become viral news. The shooting was carried out by a woman who wounded three people before turning the gun on herself. The woman has been identified by police as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a San Diego resident in her 30’s.
Many news outlets have since covered the incident, revealing pieces of information about the shooter herself. Her name is of middle-eastern origin, and her first name, Nasim, means “breeze” in Arabic. The Los Angeles Times lists four Youtube channels for her: one in Farsi, one in Turkish, one in English, and one that is entirely devoted to hand art. Police officers also found her sleeping in a Mountain View parking lot hours before the shooting began. However, not all of the media outlets have been entirely honest in their coverage of the tragedy and of the shooter.
Mashable tweeted out a picture of the shooter that was obviously photoshopped when compared to her actual pictures. In Mashable’s tweet, her skin was noticeably whitened and her eye color was changed to green. In Aghdam’s actual photos, she is of medium skin tone with dark eyes. Mashable also failed to disclose the name of the shooter along with the photograph, simply stating “Shooting suspect slammed Youtube for ‘discriminating against her.” The photo, along with the whole post, is highly suspicious and dishonest, causing some to believe that Mashable was trying to convince its readers that the shooter was of European descent, which is obviously false. The way that the post was phrased, further pushes the narrative, implying that the shooter was a whiny person trying to pull the victim card. The implication, along with the photo, deviates readers from the truth. It’s extremely disheartening to witness such blatant manipulation.
While many people have speculated about the woman’s motive for the shooting, it appears to be because of her grievances against Youtube’s censorship and revenue policies. One post of hers reads, “There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!! Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” She also claimed that Youtube put age-restrictions on her some videos because they were “close-minded” and didn’t want women getting views.
Besides the four Youtube channels that have been linked to Aghdam, she also ran an Instagram page that talks about a vegan lifestyle. Throughout all of her social media platforms, she posted videos about animal rights, a vegan lifestyle, and the political system in Iran. She also sometimes posted bizarre musical parodies. It’s safe to say that this vegan, animal-activist, bodybuilding, female shooter lived an interesting life. With the shooting, she has also cemented her place on the short list of female shooters, and according to the FBI, there have only been nine female shooters between 2000 and 2016.
With the revelation of her bizarre life, comes many questions regarding her true motive. However, the police has concluded that there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims or that they were specifically targeted. So while her identity is no longer a mystery, it’s safe to say that it will be awhile before her motives can be emphatically confirmed.