Police are investigating a series of Facebook posts that call for a mass shooting in Bakersfield, California, days after 14 people were killed and 21 others wounded in the San Bernardino shootings.
A Bakersfield resident allegedly posted three messages to his Facebook account encouraging the type of mass shooting that occurred 160 miles away in San Bernardino, reports Eyewitness News.
The first post:
“I wish someone would come shoot up Bakersfield.”
“Everyone’s complaining about the politics involved in the San Bernardino shooting. I’m just happy people were murdered.”
The third message:
“I always have a really good day when somebody dies. It’s weird, life-changing good things happen to me the day someone dies.”
Although reports haven’t identified the man who is encouraging the mass shooting in Bakersfield, information on his Facebook page indicate he works at a local property valuation consulting firm, something that company vehemently denies.
“Unfortunately, there is no way to block someone from listing your company as an employer, and this appears to be a widespread problem that Facebook has not yet resolved.”
Bakersfield is two and a half hours north of San Bernardino, where the country’s deadliest mass shooting since Sandy Hook took place this week. The city was also the scene of police action Saturday as a man barricaded himself in a local business after shooting at his wife.
Other online rumors about threats to public gathering places, like malls, continued to circulate Saturday, which prompted the FBI to denounce the claims as illegitimate.
After learning of rumors claiming a local mall was on lockdown, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon issued a statement instructing the public to check law enforcement Twitter and Facebook accounts before assuming the worst, reports the Sun.
“Citizens should be wary of possible hoax messages and follow verified law enforcement social media accounts and press releases.”
In response to the San Bernardino mass shootings and the continued threats online, Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum took to Facebook to encourage licensed firearm owners to carry their guns, reports the Daily Freeman.
“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world, I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO.”
Van Blarcum, a Democrat, said he wanted to make sure an armed citizen was nearby if another mass shooting happened. He said he was worried about the increasing number of shootings happening seemingly out of nowhere. His post drew some 8,700 likes and 12,000 shares in a few hours.
In response to the sheriff’s posting, an online petition from Change.org began to circulate drawing similar numbers. The petition attacked the sheriff as uneducated and illogical for encouraging people to go armed in public.
Along with allowing community leaders a platform to discuss social issues, social media has also become the new soapbox for extremists, killers, and thugs to stand on while they threaten society.
Tashfeen Malik used an alias to praise the Islamic State on Facebook shortly before or during the San Bernardino massacre this week. She’s just the latest violent thug seeking attention on social media and it’s only going to get worse, Karen North, a professor of digital social media at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, told Bay News 9.
“If you commit an act and you want people to know about it, you now have a way to promote it.”
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]