On the list of stupidest all-time things to post online, a plot to commit massmurder ranks near the top. Yet 22-year-old James Gallagher, of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, failed to see the flaw in his plan when, via his Facebook page, he announced his intention to shoot up the entirety of nearby Springfield Township.
In August, the young man, clearly troubled on many levels, used his Facebook profile to post profanity laden messages threatening mass violence. Those messages were brought to the attention of local authorities, who then placed a detective on the case. The detective went undercover online and was able to gain access to Gallagher's profile, which contained not only the threatening messages but several photos of him brandishing heavy firearms, including AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles.
The evidence on Facebook was enough to obtain a search warrant for the home of Gallagher, which, according to Philadelphia's KYW News Radio, was found to have been housing a stockpile of guns, ammo, and white supremacist paraphernalia.
As of this morning, Gallagher was behind bars, on $1 million bail, awaiting trial. Let's hope that terrorists continue to be stupid enough to post their plans online for all to see -- before they actually get around to performing their unspeakable acts.
For more crazy Facebook stories, check out our gallery below. [From: KYW1060, via Philly.com]
Blackmail Sending any personal info or incriminating pictures to someone on Facebook is a huge mistake for many reasons. One of the worst possible outcomes is getting blackmailed for money, sex, or, well, anything these sickos dream up. Really, whether they're using a fake profile or not, it's a horrible idea. Read up on the story of an 18-year-old who blackmailed 31 male classmates after he posed as a girl and asked for nude pictures. That's lesson enough.
Impostors Sure, it can be harmless to impersonate a celeb online or create a fake profile for a movie character. But seriously, there's a definite line you shouldn't cross when pretending to be someone else and it can lead to dire consequences for you. Maybe it's not as extreme as the Moroccan man who was jailed for 43 days after creating a fake Facebook profile of a prince, but you never know. Just steer clear of it.
Suicide Social networking sites has been blamed for a lot of things, fairly and unfairly, but in our opinion, the worst offense has been their indirect involvement in suicides. Obviously, there are a lot of factors responsible in each case, but there does seem to be links between social networking and a rash of suicides, and obviously tehre's the case tragic of Megan Meier, who killed herself after a classmate's mom impersonated a teen boy and harassed her over Myspace.
Murder We've reported on numerous incidents of people getting in trouble because of their online behavior. Now, people are becoming victims because of what they're doing on the Web too. In England, a man was convicted of murdering his estranged wife after she changed her relationship status to "single." So, be careful of who can see your profile and what you're doing, no matter how harmless it seems.
Nigerian Scammers Oh, you thought this only happened via poorly worded emails, right? WRONG. Once people got wise to their old ways, these con men are turning to social networking sites for new targets. This time, they're hacking into people's accounts and impersonating them to ask for money, usually with some weird sob story. You can check out a transcript of one of these conversations here.
Cooperation Even if the law isn't on a case, a victim, his friends, or empathetic strangers might be. Since it's easy to get word out for anything online, people are using blogs, forums, and social networking sites to help track down criminals. In one such case, a vehicle thief was tracked down by a bunch of anonymous car enthusiasts after the victim posted his story on a forum. In the end, they identified the guy through his Facebook profile.