We all know we have to be careful about what we post online. We have to be doubly careful if it involves our guns. But if it involves guns in New York City, it’s best to just not do that at all.
On Friday, over a dozen people learned this lesson the hard way.
Based on intelligence gathered by @NYPDPSA2 Youth Coordination Officers last night, Brooklyn North Violent Crimes Squad & @NYPD84Pct stopped a party bus in #DUMBO with passengers who were in possession of firearms. A total of 8 loaded handguns were recovered. Charges are pending. pic.twitter.com/B69cDIsfQs
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 12, 2021
In video of the incident posted online, you can see a group of police and emergency vehicles surrounding a party bus. The people on the bus were pulled off and 14 were arrested. A total of eight guns were taken from the bus’s passengers.
According to several media outlets, some gang members were celebrating their friend’s 18th birthday and things got a little rowdy. The group started posing with guns on the party bus and posting photos online.
No one knows who tipped the police off, but someone sent them links to the photos of firearms. Based on that, and possibly with some help from the tipsters, police were able to figure out what party bus company they were riding with.
When the bus got back to its home base, the police were there waiting. They didn’t know if the gang members would go willingly, so they were there in force and even had an ambulance on standby.
From the Associated Press . . .
Eight loaded handguns were recovered, along with about 60 rounds of ammunition, said Assistant Chief Miguel Iglesias of the NYPD’s detective bureau.
“I couldn’t tell you why there were so many firearms. Why are there so many firearms in New York City right now?” Iglesias said, noting that officers made 486 gun arrests last month, more than in any other January on record.
Police are looking into whether some of the people arrested have gang affiliations.
An NYPD violent crimes squad intercepted the party bus after officers specializing in addressing youth crime were told of posts on Snapchat and Instagram that showed people on the bus with guns.
Things We Can Learn From This
First off, whether you’re a law abider or a gang member, be careful what you post on the internet. Police might (and sometimes have) take things out of context, and in some states red flag laws could be used against you if you’re not posting anonymously.
Even if you’re not using your real name, though, if you post something controversial enough, it’s always possible to identify you by your IP address, so be sure to either not talk too much junk online or take measures to protect your privacy.
Even if you aren’t posting anything that would attract police attention (like being a gang banger drinking with guns in New York), posting up images of guns can attract thieves. You wouldn’t post images of large sums of cash online, so think twice about showing off pictures of other valuables…like your firearms.
Second, New York Police and many other agencies are paying a lot more attention to social media these days than they used to. Today it’s a commonplace for police to gather intelligence and tips from the public. For better or worse, the surveillance state is here.
It’s also likely that police in free states are less likely to bother you about guns than in places like New York. In many states, it would probably be perfectly legal to carry a gun on a party bus, assuming you aren’t drinking heavily and aren’t a known gang member. It seems unlikely that people posting pictures of guns in party towns like Scottsdale, Arizona or South Padre, Texas would attract the kind of attention from authorities the NYPD displayed here.
Things that are serious crimes in some states are normal activities in others.
Either way, these people did everything possible wrong. They were into bad stuff, were carrying while drinking in a place with bad gun laws, and posted the incriminating evidence of all of it on the internet for everyone to see. Don’t be those people.