How To Not Get Murdered By People On Facebook

We’ve all been there before…. Usually for me it goes something like this:

  1. Someone on Facebook says something that comes across as mean or hyperbolic or uninformed.
  2. You respond by calmly trying to talk some reason into the situation.
  3. They respond with a comment that seems fueled by anger and aggression.
  4. You attempt to deescalate the situation with a joke, or maybe some carefully placed snark.
  5. Then the person says something that makes you come to the realization: “Oh. I get it. This is a crazy person. I am speaking to a crazy person…. Got it.”
Quite possible Steve Buscemi's finest role....

Quite possible Steve Buscemi’s finest role….

Maybe it might look a little something like this….

Facebook Status: “I am so grossed out by the way Donald Trump keeps talking about immigrants. Has he forgotten that he comes from an immigrant family himself?
Mutual Friend I don’t really know: “I am just worried that a whole bunch of ISIS people are going to sneak into our country. There were already four ISIS members arrested in Texas last year who snuck across the Mexican border.”
Me, foolishly wanting to help: “Actually, there has never been any evidence of any terrorists coming across the Mexican border. That story going around about ISIS members being caught was totally made up. Here’s that Snopes article.” ***Posts link to Snopes article***
Stranger, getting even stranger: “It DID happen! My brother in law lives in El Paso, and he told me himself that ISIS people were captured crossing the border. ***Turns on caps lock*** WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD MY SISTER’S HUSBAND LIE TO ME?!?!”
Me, Moonwalking away: “Okay…. It’s just that they have their sources listed at the end, and there is even a link to an El Paso congressman who has also debunked the myth. Anyway, I’m not calling anyone’s brother-in-law a liar…. Unless he says that Donald Trump’s Grandfather wasn’t named Frederick Drumpf.  #AmIRight? :)”
Clearly Crazy Person: “That site makes stuff up all the time. But what do you expect when they get all their funding from GEORGE SOROS! You know what? IF YOU COME INTO THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, YOUR (sic) BREAKING THE LAW!! And if I see someone breaking the law, the constitution says that I can shoot their ass!!!! That’s what the second amendment is their (sic) for!!!!! It is a scientific FACT that 98% of all the rapes in Texas are committed by Mexicans. But it’s not like OBUMMER is going to do anything about it… He’d probably LOVE for more of his Muslim family members to come here. WE NEED A WALL, AND WE NEED IT NOW!!!!!”
Me, thinking to myself while scratching my head, maintaining radio silence, and taking a screenshot to show my sane friends: (Ahh, I see. This person isn’t just ignorant or being insensitive…. This person is insane. Don’t say another word)

You never know who you're pissing off.

You never know who you’re pissing off.

Because here’s an important thing to remember: Arguments are for people who are rational. There’s no point in making a reasonable case to someone who is clearly unreasonable. It’s like trying to get someone who doesn’t speak your language to understand what you’re saying by getting louder…. It makes no sense. Getting into an argument with Crazy only makes you look Stupid. Think about it…. If I say to someone, “That doesn’t make any sense,” and they respond with “Applesauce Mayonnaise,” that’s a pretty decent clue that the person you are dealing with is not all there. As my grandma always said–There’s no winning an argument with “Applesauce Mayonnaise.” I’m not going to lie to you–she didn’t really say that. Well actually, I don’t know…. She might have said that. I wasn’t around her all the time, you know? Anyway, my point is this: Let us all look for the places in our lives–online and face-to-face–where people are saying the equivalent of “Applesauce Mayonnaise.” And let’s learn to let it go (It should be noted that I’m saying this as much to myself as I am to anyone who happens to be reading this. Maybe more).

Because you know what else? The sorts of people who say the equivalent of “Applesauce Mayonnaise” (and here’s where the “How To Not Get Murdered” part comes in) are usually not the most “stable” people in the world.

Run--don't walk--away from this dude. Yikes.

Run–don’t walk–away from this dude. Yikes.

So I’ll leave you with a little friendly advice on how to spot “Crazy” on Facebook. Here’s what to look for: A Profile Picture with American flag on it. Or an eagle. Or a gun. If, God forbid, you run into a person with an eagle carrying guns in front of a flag, be extremely cautious. I’m NOT saying you have to be afraid to engage these people…. but if you sense even a HINT of crazy, don’t argue. Just apologize. It’s not worth it. The only thing more dangerous than the Eagle/Gun/Flag combo is the addition to that unstable equation of a cross…. Or any Christian symbol, really. Do not engage in anything resembling an argument with these people. They generally interpret the voice in their head as the voice of God. And the voice in their head is the same one that told them to buy that sticker of Calvin peeing something. And anyone listening to that voice is not to be trusted with a sidearm…. Because you just know that every single one of them has a gun. I said it once already, but it bears repeating: Arguments are for people who are rational.

“Man, I’m glad I called THAT guy….”

Happy to help!

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12 Responses to How To Not Get Murdered By People On Facebook

  1. jhaney says:

    Applesauce mayonnaise– I love those words together! What a great way to express that you and your friend were talking about two different things when you both thought you were talking about the same thing. You were talking about how we should have compassion and welcome immigrants, your friend was saying that he was afraid of terrorists. As you both kept going it became so frustrating the cap lock came out.

  2. jhaney says:

    And yes, I know that wasn’t what you meant 😉

  3. troy says:

    been there, I might add that you should never let them know that you truly believe that this person is crazy, it’s almost as bad as using facts…something conspiracy theorists and/or crazy people avoid. it’s a genuinely creepy experience. now that the news makes every incident known, everyone’s favorite violence amplifier (otherwise known as guns) becomes a more popular option to end the internal yelling/rage.

  4. I had this happen just the other day. Someone said that we don’t have a gun problem, we just need Jesus, and I said, “Okay.” I didn’t experience the satisfaction of trying to mow somebody down, but I also haven’t spent the week stewing about it either.

  5. Jennifer Owens says:

    I had a recent FB debate that was very similar to the one you mentioned. It was about gun control and it was going pretty well, staying on topic and no inflammatory language. But then the “mass shootings in America are staged” conspiracy theory came up and I was like….Ok, bye bye then. Just. Shut. It. Down.

  6. Chad Owens says:

    Great post as always, Chris! You’ve addressed an issue that’s been weighing heavily on mind lately. My question is this: are people truly crazy or are they just emotional, inundated with political rhetoric and propaganda, and largely ignorant when it comes to logic and rational argumentation? No doubt some people are truly insane. However, I know a number of people who make crazy comments on social media, yet who in their ordinary work and personal lives are reasonable, successful, upright citizens. Personally, I believe that we as a country have got to find ways to dialogue with each other; our democracy depends on it. I’m not sure how to go about doing that, though, especially with a “crazy” person on social media. The direct approach may be, as you say, impossible–obviously it has been; hence, your article. I myself incline more toward finding ways to offset the pernicious effects of the flood of fear-mongering and, well, just plain drivel that’s constantly being espoused by our politicians and pundits.

  7. Trey Robbins says:

    There’s a difference between conservative and crazy. I’m from Texas, and I know lots of people who have, at some point or other, had a gun in their profile picture. Most of the time, it’s a picture from a hunting trip. Though *I do understand the kind of people you’re talking about,* I also know plenty of politically stable people who think they look cool holding a gun. Yes, there are plenty of crazy pro-gun folks, but it’s not entirely fair to say that anyone holding a gun is automatically crazy.

    P.S. normally I would not even consider posting a comment like this online, but because this whole post is about “not getting murdered” online, I hope a rational, partial discrepancy is welcome.

    • Trey Robbins says:

      Normally*

    • theboeskool says:

      Thanks Trey. I hope it didn’t sound like I was saying “All people with guns are crazy.”

      Do you think that someone with a flag/gun photo is probably more likely to feel like killing someone is justified? I doubt too many of those sorts of people are against the death penalty, right? And add Christian imagery to it? Yikes! Now the people have DOUBLE the influence of something bigger than themselves saying “We’re more important than any individual, and we’ll do your thinking for you.”

      To me that is some scary stuff.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Trey Robbins says:

        Sure, conservatives are more likely to think killing someone is justified (assuming you’re talking about defense or the death penalty, not murder), just as liberals are more likely to be in favor of increased gun control. Those are pretty central beliefs to many conservatives. Whether they’re right or wrong, they are entitled to believe what they do and to express that belief. That’s the first amendment, not insanity.

        There are DEFINITELY lots of crazy people on Facebook who want to tell you that “this is the way it has always been in ‘Murica, so that’s the way it’ll always be. God forbid you to think otherwise. FREEDOM.” To say that is not even a concession. I agreed before I commented the first time. A brief note in defense of those people, though: they honestly believe things ought to remain the way they are/were/have been. Might not hoisting the flag and defending their position in the face of imminent change be reciprocal to the liberals’ rainbow-filter and equal sign profile pictures? That sort of thing begets the same reaction from many conservatives — “You can’t stop us from thinking this way, and you are forbidden to disagree. We’ll do your thinking for you.” Whether right or wrong, there are crazy people in every camp. And whether right or wrong, there are people in every camp who believe the crazy people in the other camp will drown out their voices if they don’t make enough noise. Unfortunately (in this case), social media puts a megaphone in each person’s pocket, and the misinformed and misguided people in every camp are generally the ones who believe that their views must be heard. Yes, that’s frustrating, but it isn’t scary. What’s scary stuff for me is the idea that somebody might not be allowed to express those beliefs. As the quote often attributed to Voltaire says, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

        There are people with gun pictures, and there are people with gay pride pictures. There are people with flag and cross pictures. There are crazy people online. Many of these people are the same. Not all of them are. I’m all for eschewing crazy. I’m all for taking caution when people slap you in the face with their political or religious beliefs before even speaking to you. I’m against assuming people’s intent before having met or spoken with them.

  8. aasandstrom says:

    Very entertaining. Nicely done.

  9. Pingback: How To Not Get Murdered By People On Facebook | Benjamin.K Official Blog

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