This year, any time I had a few minutes to kill on the Internet, I would hit the Houston Press’s Hair Balls blog and scan for John Nova Lomax’s byline with the words “Crime” or “Facebook” in the post. When found a match, I would make myself comfortable.
Lomax may not be the first person to weave a person’s Facebook updates into a crime narrative, but he gives the play-by-play masterfully. A perfect case in point is a January 2011 post titled “ Chase Langston Wiatt: Facebook Chronicles a Year of Alleged Petty (And Not-So-Petty) Crime.”
Wiatt, Lomax points out, is a nineteen-year-old white kid from a relatively wealthy suburb, facing a variety of charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, drug possession, deadly conduct, and credit/debit card abuse. Wiatt was also an avid user of Facebook, updating his status frequently, which allowed Lomax to report on the life of a “dumb criminal:”
Wiatt launched his new FB page in September, a few weeks after the deadly conduct bust, and for the first month, appeared to be trying to walk a righteous path, regularly quoting scripture and inspirational mottoes.
And then he changed his relationship status to single.
Tabatha [the mother of his child] sarcastically liked the change. And maybe feeling bested, Wiatt said he liked it too, and then upped the stakes, linking to Eminem’s ‘Kim,’ the rapper’s diatribe against his own baby mama. After venting thusly, Wiatt asked for permission to visit their infant daughter. Tabatha replied that he could do so the next day, and added that he should ‘grow up.’
‘Ha, Im grown homie,’ came his reply.
‘act like it,’ Tabatha fired back. ‘u been hittin on 16 year old lil gurl ha, u really took a step up.’
The next day found Wiatt manically reflective. In one hour’s posting, he quoted the Bible, slammed Eminem for being a Freemason, implicated Jay-Z in the deaths of Tupac and Biggie Smalls, and praised ‘Pac, Biggie, Bob Marley and Johnny Cash. (Say what you will about his behavior, and odd opinions, but the kid has pretty damn good taste.)
And then he crashed a few days later, writing this: ‘i wanna die ive never felt so much pain why??i feel like nothing.’
Two months later, as if to further prove he was a complicated man, Wiatt announced that he was looking to party, then he started quoting