Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/6/2012 (3237 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Luka Magnotta was arrested in Berlin on Monday when he was recognized by the owner of an Internet café where he'd stopped in to read stories about himself online.
He had spent the weekend partying in Paris gay bars, apparently spending two nights with some unsuspecting lover before, one step ahead of the police, he got on a night bus for Berlin.
When the police surrounded him, he tried a few false names, then gave up -- "OK, you got me" -- and meekly let them put on the cuffs.
Magnotta seems to have meticulously planned his week of notoriety, but he didn't have much of a plan for evading capture.
In 2009, he wrote a blog called How to completely disappear and never be found, with advice on how to assume a new identity, and on many of his Facebook profiles he "liked" a book with the same title, but he was found quite easily.
By hanging around in the gay district in Paris, repeatedly using his cellphone, and catching up on news about himself, he made it easy for the police to find him.
I suspect that's because he had already achieved his goal: fame.
Last week, after police announced Magnotta was suspected of homicide and mailing body parts, and reporters tracked down people who knew him and pored over his massive online footprint, the picture that emerged was thoroughly chilling.
Nina Arsenault, a well-known Toronto transsexual performer who briefly dated Magnotta a decade ago, said he had a terrible hunger for fame and a kind of emptiness.
She says he told her: "I'm afraid that when you look into my eyes... that you'll see that there's nothing inside of me."
After struggling as an escort, a performer in low-budget gay porn videos, and declaring bankruptcy, he appears to have spread online rumours about his relationship with Karla Homolka, then mawkishly complained in the media about it.
He appears to have been desperate for attention, creating a host of Internet sock-puppets to spread stories about him online, a simulacrum of fame.
He Photoshopped himself into glamorous photos in flashy cars, spread made-up stories about himself as if he was a real celebrity being hounded by fans.
In December 2010, he appears to have tired of that; he posted videos of himself killing kittens, then played cat and mouse with a group of animal lovers who tried to track him down -- seemingly for the pleasure of having people talk about him, spinning a fantasy in which he was being framed by demented fans.
Two weeks before Jun Lin was killed, someone posted messages on online bulletin boards asking about the "1 lunatic 1 ice pick video," the name of the video of Lin's dismemberment, which allegedly had not yet been made.
The volunteers seeking the kitten killer say he placed clues online before those crimes as well -- all part of a complicated scheme for drawing attention to himself.
"It's all part of his plan," one of the volunteers who tracked him since 2010 said Friday. "This is not over! Commit the crime, post it online, get caught, try to be exonerated and then be famous, even if it's famous for being notorious."
Magnotta is now, in fact, internationally famous.
He will be extradited to Canada, which may take months. There will be a trial, which may not be as open-and-shut a case as one might hope.
The horrible dismemberment video does not, in fact, include the moment of Lin's death. If there is some credible alternative explanation for Lin's death, then there might be a conviction only for lesser crimes, such as committing an indignity to a human body -- none of which allows for a designation as a dangerous offender.
Magnotta may have wanted to create a macabre 21st-century media circus, to have his name on everyone's lips and his image on monitors around the world.
It is a relief to have him behind bars, but depressing to think the circus he wanted will not end soon.
Stephen Maher is a columnist
for Postmedia News