A seven hour standoff in Mahopac, New York could easily have turned deadly on Saturday simply from lies. Alexander Booth (as “Whiskey_Warrior_556) went live on Instagram, claiming he was being threatened by cops over a 30 round mag that they were there to confiscate under a “red flag law.” (He referred to the police as “redcoats.”) His followers didn’t bother to check it out, and the internet blew up over it, with people calling for militias to show up. It was a lie, and could have caused many to be killed.
Was he hoping to cause a disaster? As he continued to livestream his situation some of them actually hopped in cars to get to his location.
Carmel Police gave him the benefit of the doubt:
“This is a person in crisis, having mental illness, having issues and he didn’t need the people on social media telling him that his rights are being violated. He needed help. Medical help.” Carmel Chief of Police Michael Cazzari to News12
He was not charged with any crime stemming from the seven hour standoff, only from the warrant. But his actions were serious enough to be a real danger. Was he just being a “drama queen” or was he trying to start something?
Booth is reportedly a veteran and may have some form of PTSD. But he also has been known to beat his wife, which is actually why police were there on Saturday: to serve a warrant for his arrest. They were not there to confiscate any 30 round magazine, and he knew it. They knew it too – his guns were confiscated previously from the domestic violence (which isn’t to say he couldn’t have re-upped his weapons).
“Sadly, several people whom I respect, and a couple I am even friends with, fell for Booth’s lies hook, line and sinker, and they lost it. Facebook pages and Instagram accounts of gun folks blew up! People were calling for militias to show up, for people to gear up and respond, and quite honestly, a scary number of people were talking about shooting cops.” Matt Silvey
Booth’s followers even started a GoFundMe for his legal defense (we assume for the “red flag law” that wasn’t the actual issue, and whether or not their money will be refunded is unknown).
IIA Cops reported:
Law enforcement agencies need to learn how to deal with things on social media. And I mean absolutely MUST get better about how they deal with things on social media. It is no longer an option. Social media drives so many things today that it is dangerous for everyone to not know how to properly communicate the right message.
Social media gun folks, you really need to be careful about what you say, and who you support, especially those who you support without question. Is some random Instragram [sic] dude who you don’t even know in real life so reliable you are willing to start the next civil war based solely on his word? You may not realize it, but many of you have a significant amount of influence over a great many people. To quote Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. Please exercise your influence responsibly.
All in all, “Whiskey_Warrior_556” could easily have caused a conflagration in which many might have died. We have much sympathy for PTSD veterans, but this guy may have another agenda going on with his actions.
Featured photo: screenshot of two of his posts on Instagram