Thousands of people join Facebook event to 'shoot at hurricane Irma'
As most people are probably aware by now, hurricane Irma is heading towards the southeast coast of the USA - and she isn't exactly a light drizzle of rain. The category five storm has already destroyed thousands of properties and claimed dozens of lives in Cuba, the Bahamas, and parts of the Caribbean. But that's not enough to stop some people.
Over twenty thousand Facebook users have marked themselves 'attending' on an event named, 'Shoot At Hurricane Irma', and a further fifty thousand have said they are 'interested'. The details for the event shows that Floridians aren't ones for backing down, as the all-caps description says: "YO SO THIS GOOFY LOOKING WINDY HEADASS NAMED IRMA SAID THEY PULLING UP ON US, LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST".
Obviously, the group is just a bit of lighthearted fun in the wake of an awful tragedy - but people are rallying together to keep their spirits up. Some of the posts in the group are messages of encouragement to those that are going to be affected by the storm, while others are requests for help or information about Irma's current state.
Most of them, however, are just a bit of fun.
People have shared images of themselves stocking up on crates of beer to ride out the storm, pictures of residents that have taken a more humorous approach to boarding up their homes, and just some classic memes that demonstrate the good ol' American attitude towards these kinds of things.
Ryon Edwards, one of the two event 'hosts' told the BBC that he hadn't expected such a huge response to the group, and that it was “A combination of stress and boredom [that] made me start the event. The response is a complete and total surprise to me."
The 22-year-old went on to say that, "I never envisioned this event becoming some kind of crazy idea larger than myself. It has become something a little out of my control."
Another event created by a Florida resident is encouraging people to “shoot flames” at the hurricane. The event description is slightly more thought-out than Edwards', but just as insane: “It's time we took a stand against this big bully! This our home nobody drives us out of our own territory,” it says. “Join me in this fight as we shoot flames at Hurricane Irma and dissipate her on the spot. She will burn.”
I suppose, in times like these, it's far better to laugh than to cry.
Updates on the storm have reported that Irma has now reached the US coast, and is expected to batter the state over the next few days. More than 5.6 million people - over a quarter of Florida's population - have already been evacuated, and parts of Georgia have also been warned that they will be in the storm's path.
"Please listen to your local authorities," said US homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert. "You need to evacuate from south to north – that is a staggered and carefully thought-out process."
It goes without saying that shooting at the storm is most certainly not a good idea, but that staying safe and following official recommendations is the best method of coping.