Magnotta's motive is almost as disturbing as what he did -

Magnotta’s motive is almost as disturbing as what he did


CP, Service de police de la Ville de Montreal

I am frightened by Luka Magnotta, but not because he is a suspected necrophiliac cannibal killer. He creeps me out because I can’t shake the suspicion that he doesn’t really like killing people and then violating their corpses. I fear that (if guilty), he did it just for the attention.

Yes, Magnotta certainly portrayed himself as a psychotic menace, fueled by sexual deviance and blood lust. When his kitten-killing video made a stir, he warned a British newspaper that “next time the victims won’t be small animals” because “once you taste blood, it’s impossible to stop.” He called himself a “lunatic” on the Internet and wrote a blog that he titled “Necrophilia Serial Killer Luka Magnotta,” well before the alleged killing and necrophilia. He clearly wanted the world to see him as ever so dark and twisted.

But I just don’t buy it. I hate to be glib, but doesn’t it all just seem a bit too on-the-nose?

Lin Jun’s killer used an ice pick, just like the killer in Basic Instinct. He hacked off body parts and put them in the mail, because that’s what happened in Seven. He videotaped the murder, but didn’t hide it for personal use, a la Bernardo and Homolka. Instead he immediately uploaded it to the Internet. The murder was set to the soundtrack of American Psycho. Magnotta was arrested in Berlin while Googling himself at an Internet cafe. It’s all so meta.

Montreal police are taking heat for not acting on the many clues Magnotta left on the Internet through the years. But there are lots of pathetic dudes acting scary online. Before the murder of Lin Jun, it would have been difficult to tell Luka Magnotta apart from thousands of teenage Marilyn Manson fans who present themselves on the Internet as crazy psychos. Many post videos of their extreme and evil behavior; some real, some faked. Police can usually be excused for ignoring these.

It’s clear to me Magnotta’s “psycho” persona was just a pose. The only difference is that unlike all of the Internet’s other faux-psycho poseurs, he allegedly went ahead and did it. And that’s what’s really psycho.

On the Internet, we have a word for people who say dumb, self-aggrandizing things, who use melodramatic language borrowed from bad movies to mythologize themselves, and who post shocking material just to get a reaction and earn themselves some infamy. We call them trolls.

Luka Magnotta is the world’s worst Internet troll. It’s a new kind of evil, driven not by compulsion for violence or for sex, but by compulsion for attention. It’s very scary.

Jesse Brown is the host of’s Search Engine podcast. He is on Twitter @jessebrown