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June 17, 2011

TV director almost killed by Facebook Friend

Filed as Editorial with 1 comment

A couple of days ago, a Filipino TV show actor-director was stabbed ten times by someone he had met on Facebook and invited to sleep in his home.  Ricardo “Ricky” Rivero, 39 years old, was allegedly stabbed by Hans Ivan Ruiz, 22, whom Rivero met over Facebook five months ago.  Ruiz denies stabbing Rivero but a report from responding police say that when they arrived at the scene, they saw Ruiz clutching the actor-director’s bag, which contained a laptop, two cell phones and several personal items.

Usually, those accused of a crime will deny committing it, but what is strange about Ruiz’s denial are the details.  Here is an excerpt from a news report.

Ruiz maintained that he had no clue as to how Rivero sustained the stab wounds but said that it happened while he slept beside the actor-director. “We were sleeping when he started yelling, ‘Don’t stab me!’” he said.

Ruiz said that he saw a knife beside Rivero but did not know where it came from. “He thought I was the one who hurt him. I also thought he was going to kill me so we struggled over the knife,” he added.

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In his statement, Ruiz said that he offered to take the actor-director to the hospital, although police said Rivero drove himself to the hospital.

Now before people in mainstream news media over react and start pointing at Facebook as an inherently dangerous site to visit, here are some things to consider.

On the surface of it, it seems Facebook use was merely incidental to the commission of this crime.  The TV director might as well have met his alleged attacker through any other social networking site and invited him over to his house where the crime was committed. (Facebook would perhaps be more central if it involves swindling people out of their money and other types of fraud, certain types of coercion, identity theft, libel, and other such crimes.)

As to the idea of whether Facebook can become an enabler and hunting ground for criminal psychopaths, the idea is a bit trickier to prove.  I think even for a trained psychologist, it’s really difficult to say just on the basis of a news report whether psychopathic behavior had anything to do with the stabbing of the TV director by his Facebook friend.  Even given the fact that the newspaper account describes a number of characteristics of psychopathic personality and behavior, no real assessment can be made until the suspect is given proper evaluation.

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