Ft. Hood Soldier Causes Stir on Twitter


Amid the tragedy last week at Fort Hood, as officials worked to secure the Texas military base, treat the wounded and account for the dead, one soldier turned to Twitter, sending a stream of up-to-the-minute reports from inside a hospital where the injured were being taken for treatment.

Some messages were simple observations, others expletive-laced commentary.

But in the shooting's aftermath, the soldier, Tearah Moore, 30, has found herself at the center of a sharp debate about the real-time sharing and whether the military should police the use of new media.

As news started to break about the deadly shooting that killed 12 soldiers and wounded 30 others, some users of the micro-blogging site Twitter started to notice the messages from one user in particular.

From the account of "MissTearah" came a flood of reports apparently from inside the locked-down military base:

"hey just brought a CART full of boxes w/transplant parts in them. Not good not good. #fthood," said one post.

"Ok we just saw a soldier on a stretcher w/2 armed guards walking by He didnt look like he was in great condition," said another.

Fort Hood Soldier Tweets, Posts Picture Online During Shooting

As the identity of the alleged shooter emerged, the tone became harsher.

"Maj Malik A Hassan. He shouldn't have died. He should be in the worst suffering of his life. It's too fair for him to just die. Bastard!," "MissTearah" wrote.

And then: "A F****** MAJOR? Are you kidding me? A MAJ! For those of ut hat don't know, Army MAJ have pretty serious rank. Dick"

Ostensibly using a cellphone camera, she also took a picture of a wounded soldier entering the hospital on a gurney and then posted it online (the picture has since been taken down).

Moore did not respond to requests for comment from ABCNews.com. And since last Thursday, she has apparently changed her Twitter settings to private so that only those whom she approves can read her posts.

But her comments, which are still visible after searching Twitter for "MissTearah," have set off a controversy over the all too human use of social media within the regimented constructs of the armed forces.

Columnist: Do We Need to Share Everything Online?

In a column for the popular technology blog TechCrunch posted days after the shootings, journalist Paul Carr pointed to Moore's tweeting as an "example of how 'citizen journalists' can't handle the truth."

Although Moore's comments gave outsiders a rare view into the tragedy, he argues that the inaccuracy of many of her posts and apparent disregard for others' privacy undermines the value of her reports.

"Many of Moore's eye-witness reports weren't worth the bits they were written on. They had no value whatsoever, except as entertainment and tragi-porn," he wrote.

Though he acknowledged that some of Moore's tweets encouraged people to give blood and were otherwise helpful, Carr said that Moore's Twitter stream points out that not everything a person witnesses needs to be broadcast widely with new media.

"We forget the humanity of it. We think, 'I'm witnessing this, I must share it,'" Carr told ABCNews.com. "I think as a society we need to evolve a bit quicker and remember what's appropriate -- help or get out of the way. You don't have to be at the center of it. You don't have to take a picture of it."

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