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Officials Are Pleading With Floridians Not To Fire Guns At Hurricane Irma

"LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST"

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"YO SO THIS GOOFY," reads the description for the Facebook event with some 27,000 listed attendees. "LOOKING WINDY HEADASS NAMED IRMA SAID THEY PULLING UP ON US, LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST 😤😤😤"

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Last Tuesday, the 22-year-old welder and musician from DeLand in central Florida, made a Facebook event called "Shoot at Hurricane Irma."

He was bored that night, he said, so he made the event and then invited 200 people.

"My news feed was nothing but panic and hysteria about the storm, understandably, and I just wanted to try to give out a laugh or two in troubling times," Edwards told BuzzFeed News.

When he checked it 24 hours later, 5,000 people said they were attending.

By Saturday, 25,000 people had RSVP'd and 54,000 others said they were interested.

The event's discussion was overflowing with people sharing jokes and memes as to how Americans, specifically Floridians, were going to fight the massive, unprecedented hurricane barreling right toward them.

"People were just making jokes about the hurricane, but then the responses I started getting changed. More and more people thought I was actually getting people to start shooting at the hurricane," Edwards said.

"I've got people in my messages saying, 'You're going to be held responsible for people getting hit be stray bullets,'" he said.

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The Pasco Sheriff's Office soon caught wind of the shooting event and wanted to set the record straight: "To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma," they tweeted. "You won't make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects."

To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma. You won't make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects https://t.co/CV4Y9OJknv

They even included a handy graphic detailing how bullets come back when shot into hurricane force winds. (Just an FYI).

Obviously, their tweet also went viral, garnering thousands of replies, likes, and retweets.

But most people thought the whole thing was ridiculous and were shocked, perplexed, and disturbed by the fact the sheriff had to tweet the warning.

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"And I have heard Floridians attempt to make fun of Kentuckians by calling us hillbillies....lol and now this...smh," this man added.

@PascoSheriff @Bencjacobs And I have heard Floridians attempt to make fun of Kentuckians by calling us hillbillies....lol and now this...smh

The event even prompted anti-gun groups to also put out warnings.

⚠️ Unfortunately we must issue the following warning ⚠️ DO NOT SHOOT YOUR GUNS AT THE HURRICANE!!! 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️https://t.co/diS56jWInX

We strongly encourage gun owners to NOT shoot their guns at #Irma out of frustration. Evacuate or seek shelter. https://t.co/tDVArfwkw3

As for Edwards, who is currently waiting out the storm near Daytona, he was amused by the sheriff's call out and brushed aside peoples' jeers and snide remarks.

"I guess it just means my sense of humor isn't universally shared," he said. "I think the misunderstandings stem from the fact that most people outside of Florida think we're absolutely nuts, and I guess they wouldn't put it past us to do such a thing."

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Dozens of other Facebook groups and events comically musing over how to stop Irma have also popped up.

Like, "Spinning your arms really fast to push away Hurricane Irma," which has more than 12,000 people going because, as the event says, "We gotta do something about this weather y'all.

And while the humorous Facebook events have been a welcome distraction for many Floridians, millions are hunkering down in hundreds of shelters, like Edwards, bracing themselves as the destructive storm makes landfall.

"I'm as prepared as I can be for this storm, but it's really all touch and go from here," he said.

"I'm confident that Florida will make it through this storm okay. Maybe not in perfect shape, but okay nonetheless."

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Brianna Sacks at brianna.sacks@buzzfeed.com.

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