It started as a joke, but because 2017 is 2017 officials in Florida are now pleading with residents not to shoot guns into Hurricane Irma.
"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 😤😤😤"
Ryon Edwards was tired of seeing nothing but "panic and hysteria" over Hurricane Irma overrun his Facebook feed. So he decided to lighten things up.
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.
It went global and was even covered by the BBC. "Over there [in the UK] they think Floridians are crazy enough to go and do this and shoot at a storm," Edwards told BuzzFeed News.
"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.
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."
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.
A lot of people thought the whole thing was pretty funny.
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.
"Wow. I wonder how many people actually need to read this warning to know better?" one user questioned.
Many made fun of Floridians, calling them crazy, dumb, and "Florida just being Florida."
"And I have heard Floridians attempt to make fun of Kentuckians by calling us hillbillies....lol and now this...smh," this man added.
The event even prompted anti-gun groups to also put out warnings.
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."
As the storm officially made landfall in Florida on Sunday morning, Edwards posted in the event, writing that he had learned "about 50% of the world could not understand sarcasm to save their lives."
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.
Maybe "Talking reasonably to Hurricane Irma to convince her to stop this cycle" will work. More than 41,000 people are interested in trying.
If you're in Gainesville, you could attend the "Fidget Spin Clockwise to Cancel Out Irma."
Or "Why Don't We Just PUSH Florida Somewhere Else!!"
If all else fails, a few thousand are going to attempt "Peacefully Protesting Hurricane Irma" because "Hurricane Speech is not Free Speech, 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 and is based in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Brianna Sacks at email@example.com.
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