This post is likely to be controversial, and trigger venting, so take a deep breath before reading further, and remember, we’re trying to understand the people in this scenario and why they did what they did.
We don’t want to project or transfer who we are onto them. Whether we think peanuts or tree nuts were the real problem, or whether Nut Gate was justified or irrelevant isn’t the point – it’s what they thought, how they reacted, and how the dynamics played out in terms of their personalities.
Now, to appreciate just how much is missing from the Discovery Documents, and Phone Data Review in particular, have a look at this vanilla version of July 9th.
Scroll down from here to the end of the post, and all that mess is the messy business of family dynamics and human psychology. It doesn’t fit into the neat, black and white confines of a few lines in the Phone Data Review, yet it’s absolutely integral to understanding criminal motives and the underlying mechanisms of what drove a man to annihilate his family.
For an amateur investigator glossing through the timeline, this incident would be easy to miss. The only telltale clue that shit had really hit the fan from the official Phone Data Review is Watts putting himself on record by saying:
“It’s not fucking cool at all…”
But it takes a real sleuth who knows his way around social media to dig up the true meat and potatoes of what went down that day. Shan’ann vented on the afternoon of July 9th, perhaps not just about nuts – that was just the trigger. She had a lot on her plate. The pregnancy. Her lupus. Her husband becoming cold and distant. And the widening maw of a money malaise that just wouldn’t go away.
So when Shan’ann tore into Watts’ mother, she was really crying tears of anger at the world.
In the post above, which I analyzed in more detail in TWO FACE TWO POLLYANNAS, Shan’ann implies this wasn’t the first time there was a nut incident with her in laws. It could be the pistachios were out earlier in the day, and then the ice cream came out later, or that the pistachios were found on a different day and then “today” – again – another issue.
So we see when Watts called his mother, Shan’ann was there and overheard it. This also seemed to set her off, hearing Cindy lay down the law not only to her, but to her son, and indirectly to her child, and Shan’ann felt powerless as a result.
As much as we can sympathize with Shan’ann, Facebook is not the place to vent about family.
We know that as the deadline approached for Shan’ann to announce the gender of her baby, Watts was dreading her doing this as it would spell the end of his affair with Kessinger. If Nut Gate proved anything, it was once Shan’ann felt scorned, she would turn to social media to weaponize her anger, and she didn’t care how many lives she burned in the process.
One year on there are many who still say:
Why didn’t he just get a divorce?
This is why. This was over nuts in icecream. Imagine the reaction over a full-blown affair with a coworker while she’s pregnant, while they have no money, and one that will lead to divorce and losing her home?
Why didn’t he just get a divorce?
It’s also worth noting that Shan’ann applies a double standard here. She claims in her posts above that she doesn’t have any tree nuts in her home. In fact, like many children were serious allergies, Ceecee was particularly allergic to peanut butter.
This is repeatedly stressed in the autopsy report. Meanwhile Shan’ann took this photo of a jar of Jif creamy peanut butter in her own kitchen.
One year on we ought to ask:
Did Shan’ann overreact, and if she did, did that seal her fate?
The answer to this question isn’t what you or I think, it’s what her husband thought. And we know now what he thought. In the CBI Report Watts was asked about Nut Gate and whether it had any impact on his thoughts, feelings and emotions. Not surprisingly, it had a huge impact.
While it’s overly simplistic and reductionist to say Shan’ann’s venting gave Watts the license to vent as well, human psychology, and criminal psychology, does often work that way. But clearly, there is a difference between burning someone close to you on social media, and blocking family, and triple murder. In terms of social symbology however, there’s absolutely no difference.