Boy, they’re not getting any smarter out there, are they? In the latest instance of what can only be termed criminal idiocy on social media, 18-year-old Luis Enrique Rodriguez of Anaheim, CA was arrested after “liking” a photo of himself engaged in destructive behavior during a riot in Huntington Beach, CA. That would be bad enough in terms of sheer idiocy, but get this: he liked the photo on the Facebook page of the Huntington Beach Police Department.
Just take a moment to absorb that, if you would.
Rodriguez was involved in a mid-sized riot in downtown Huntington Beach following a surfing tournament on July 28, during which he vandalized a police patrol car. The HBPD subsequently posted a number of photos of vandalized cars, including some action shots of rioters in mid-graffiti. According to the HBPD, “Mr. Rodriguez, apparently proud of his actions, ‘liked’ the Huntington Beach Police Department's picture #15 and shared it with his friends, which was noticed by numerous fans of our Facebook page and a series of tips leading to his identification.” He was arrested on August 16.
It seems the world is awash in social media idiocy. Earlier this year I wrote about the sad, profoundly stupid story of 18-year-old Jacob Cox-Brown of Astoria, Oregon, who was arrested after boasting about a drunk driving escapade on New Year’s Eve on Facebook. Cox-Brown’s exact words were: “Drivin drunk… classsic (sic) [winking smiley-face emoticon] but whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. [smiley-face emoticon].” Two people who saw the post tipped off the local police, who then inspected Cox-Brown’s vehicle and matched damage there to the damage inflicted on two other vehicles.
In New York City, the NYPD has made literally hundreds of arrests of gang members who boasted of their exploits on social media. After one big bust, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly noted: “Because of these individuals’ insatiable desire to brag about what they did, these investigators were able to draw a virtual map of their activities and bring them to justice.”
A recent phone survey of 1,001 U.S. adults by Lawyers.com found that over half of social media users are unaware that what they post online can be used as evidence against them in court, including just 46% of Facebook users, 44% of YouTube users, 38% of Twitter users, 32% of Instagram users, and 25% of Vine users.