Amid a devastating hurricane in Florida, police there are having to warn people not to shoot at the storm after a Facebook event, “Shoot At Hurricane Irma” garnered 54,000 replies of interest.
“To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma. You won’t make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects,” warns the sheriff in Pasco County, which is north of Tampa along Florida’s west coast.
The sheriff’s office, which is in the Tampa Bay-area, was responding to a Facebook event page created by two Florida men inviting people to shoot their guns into the storm.
More than 50,000 people had signed up by Sunday after 22-year Ryon Edwards of Daytona Beach posted the invitation with the note, “YO SO THIS GOOFY LOOKING WINDY HEADASS NAMED IRMA SAID THEY PULLING UP ON US, LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST.”
Within hours, images depicting “how to shoot at a hurricane” were shared among the group with the suggestion that if you fire correctly the bullet might not come back and kill you.
The invitation was a joke, but 80,000 people indicated they were “going” or “interested” in the event. The Facebook page has since turned into a forum for people to share advice and support during the storm.
“Check on your neighbours, help, out, see if any of your local shelters need help,” Edwards said as the storm system bore down on Florida. He launched the virtual “event” in response to a “combination of stress and boredom” he felt prior to the storm’s arrival and that he “never envisioned this event becoming some kind of crazy idea larger” than himself.