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    One lesson of murder-suicide: Social media told a tall tale

    Portraits of Marsha Edwards and her two children, whom Atlanta police say she killed, were removed from the church sanctuary after a memorial service last month.

    The reporting around the Dr. Marsha Edwards murder-suicide case has been conspicuously interlaced with references to social media (“Missing from family portrait: the why,” Page A1, Sept. 1). But a shocking and perplexing event such as the one in question reveals social media for what it is: a fake index to reality.

    Family and friends do not speak ill of the dead, but Edwards’s neighbor, who witnessed her behavior up close and day to day, observed that Edwards was a “very, very unhappy” woman.

    Social media is not a mirror. It is a platform for self-portraiture, a projection of the human ego, whether balanced or unbalanced. As with Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the resulting image can be a mask, seductive despite its unreliability, but shattered — and shattering — when truth is revealed through tragedy.

    Alida Young