Shooting Straight: Be Aware That Everything Is Discoverable

social media phone apps
Social media and the internet as a whole are definitely not safe spaces (Bigstock)

It hasn’t even been five minutes since the last time some dude in my newsfeed on social media boasted about his ability to shoot someone if they crossed him. This was, unsurprisingly, in a gun group chock full of derpish Dunning Kruger advice.

Sometimes, though, those types of posts show up from friends. Whether I block someone for running their mouth about how they’ll beat the ass of whomever has offended them—something that usually involves a bit of vaguebooking—depends on the situation.

Then there are the people, both men and women, who are involved in custody disputes who go on rants threatening violence or court action against their ex for perceived or real insults. Here’s the thing you need to remember, guys: everything is discoverable.

kyle rittenhouse tiktok
Remember this? The prosecution tried to use Kyle Rittenhouse’s TikTok account against him. (Photo credit: X)

The internet is forever, something many people still manage to forget or fail to grasp in its full magnitude.

Remember when Kyler Rittenhouse was on trial in criminal court and the prosecution dragged his TikTok username out (it was 4DoorsMoreWhores)? What Rittenhouse probably thought was an innocent, dumb teenage joke was turned into a piece of evidence in one of the biggest self-defense criminal cases of our time. Now, what if he’d scrubbed everything? What if it had all been deleted? Is it gone? No, no it’s not.

Reminders that you need to keep your social media clean are something I’ve written before. But you might be surprised just how far that goes with social media and the courts. It isn’t just for those of you who may have old, deleted posts or comments dredged up. It’s also your friends who may have commented on your stuff. How do I know? Because it’s happened to me.

In my case it was in family court, and not for my kids. Someone’s unhinged ex tried to make a public post about themselves—it wasn’t—and attempted to claim that friends of the original poster had threatened them in the comments (also a lie).

The good news is it was easily disproved, but the bad news is the judge was willing to entertain it as if it had been true. The could have dragged quite a few people into a scenario that would have both embarrassed and horrified the original poster.

In this case, it was a blatant lie, but what if it had been true? What if there had been a post in which threats were made, either literally or jokingly?

This all brings me back to the earlier comment about whether you block someone for their ill-advised posts or comments. You might think it could never hurt you, but it can.

For gun owners there’s an added layer of worry over all this, especially considering the anti-gun climate we’ve been mired in for so long, especially in certain cities and states. When you’re a gun owner you don’t get any leeway on anything. You’re damned from the beginning in the eyes of the mainstream media as many in the legal system. That means we’re held to a higher standard when it comes to our behavior and actions, and that includes social media posts and comments.

AR-15 rifle branch
Kat Ainsworth Stevens for SNW

You know where else your internet footprint can be tracked? Comments on blog and article posts on websites, threads on Reddit…basically, everything is fair game. And it isn’t limited to the internet, either.

Your text messages might not be readily accessible to you if you want to recover deleted content, but it’s absolutely possible for a phone company to hand them all over in response to a warrant or subpoena. Thinking you’re safe running your mouth because it’s said on your personal phone via text message is a big error.

We’ve become a society that records everything. Whether it’s social media, a website, or a smart phone, everything is fair game. People around you with a phone in their hand can and will photograph or videotape every angry exchange, turning your words spoken on the street or in a store into public/media/courtroom fodder.

So, how do you deal with this? Do you become a hermit and live in the mountains, refusing all interaction with society (that’s actually really appealing, I’m not going to lie)? Well, sort of.

Understanding when to walk away and when to do things like not answer your front door is an important life skill. Not everyone has the willpower to take a step back even if they’re aware they should. Even so, when you’re in public or on social media, it’s important to learn to exercise self-control when it comes to arguments or confrontations.

Want to lose your mind over a parking spot? Okay, why? Considering giving that guy who cut you off a piece of your mind when you see you were both going to the same destination? Trust me, you can’t afford to lose that piece.

The point is that the discoverable nature of social media and the internet at large definitely also applies to daily life. If you grew up before the age of smart phones and wifi, you know how lucky you were not to have had every possible bad decision recorded for public consumption. Today there’s virtually no such thing as an expectation of privacy any more.

I know what you’re thinking. Why should you have to tone yourself down? Why can’t you be your Most Authentic Self? Well, if your Most Authentic Self is a loud-mouthed jerk, you might want to rethink that. No, it isn’t your job to tiptoe around other people’s so-called triggers or icks, but it is your job to grow up.

This is all very relevant to the world of firearm owners and self-defense. The odds might be in your favor that you’ll never find yourself in a self-defense situation, let alone in court, but there are no guarantees. It’s like one of my favorite sayings goes: Your odds of being murdered by a cow are slim, but they aren’t zero (FYI, you’re more likely to be turbo murdered by a cow than a shark).

Stuff happens. Act accordingly and move on.

7 Responses

  1. My advise to the good fellows in the coffee shops is:
    Don’t even jokingly in public make negative statements relative to what you would do if so and so did something bad.
    In other words, it is not wise to brag about what you think you would do.

    Courts don’t hear or consider the tone/inflection. All the courts hear is the words spoken/written.

  2. Eventually this will all be a non-issue as the majority of adults will have grown up doing and saying stupid shit online.

    Right now it’s still scandalous for a public figure or politician to have a footprint including weird porn searches and offensive chan posts but eventually it can’t be scandalous as a huge percentage of people will share the same footprint. As the pre-internet people die they’ll be replaced by people with these histories.

    Either society will need to cease the cancelling and get over themselves or further fragment.

    1. If only this were the case in 2008, and there was an internet record of Obama’s search for a random gay crack party dude. Maybe the world would be a much different place now.

      1. Dude,

        Apparently, I got that story wrong, then . . . I thought the Lyin’ Hawaiian WAS the random gay crack party dude! Nah, the first Affirmative Action president was gonna get elected, no matter what. Hell, we never got his tax returns, OR his college transcripts, OR his law school transcripts, and his infamous, multiple, ghost-written “memoirs” have been pretty conclusively shown to be largely works of fiction. And now, following in his footsteps, Senile Joe, supposedly a “devout Catholic” was raised in the Puerto Rican community, the Jewish community, the Greek Orthodox community, the Black community, and his son Beau died in Afghanistan, and his house burned down, and his first wife was killed by a drunk driver, and he got arrested for trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison and, and, and . . . all of it lies.

        1. Haha yep. Nothing says good judgement like leaving your wife for a night of crack-infused sex with a gay stranger. I bet most Democrats aren’t even aware of the official recession that occurred under Biden. It must be nice to have the news media and culture in your pocket.

  3. Yay!

    Kat is writing for SNW!

    Happiness is not having a Fakebook account, and *zero* interest in doing so…

    1. I’ve never had any social media.

      No Snoopbook.
      No InstaSnoop.
      No Snoopchat.
      No TikTokSnoop.
      Nothing that requires any account. I even ditched another POTG site because it required login just to comment.

      I work in the worlds of IT, LE, and the security aspects of both. I will tell you right now that not only are most of the “conspiracy” theories true, but AI is being deployed on a scale that will make it nearly impossible to evade identification if you so much as sneeze on the Net. Privacy is possible, but requires one to shut the mouth and limit the footprint, which most hominids cannot discipline themselves to do.

      There is a balance between being an Internet ghost, gray man, and outspoken patriot. Choose what you want to be, and act accordingly. But in all things, always behave as an adult and know our Creator will bring us to account even if we successfully hide from Guv.

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