WILKES-BARRE – Over the weekend, police said they got a tip that an 18-year-old high school senior was posting threatening messages on his Facebook account.
Tips came in from all over the country, from Florida and even Alaska.
Facebook is an online social networking site.
Among the messages on that account was one referring to the recent shootings in Connecticut and the massacre at Virginia Tech where more than 30 people were killed.
“Damn. I need to beat these shooters high score. Welp, time to beat 32 score. “
Police said because he did not make a direct threat, the man from Wilkes-Barre did not commit a crime.After talking with him, police said the man agreed to a psychiatric evaluation.
“It was incumbent on the police to visit that person and the happy ending, so far, at least is he sort of saw what he did and it seems according to the reporting has voluntarily admitted himself for an evaluation of some sort. That’s a good thing,” said security expert Joe Peters.
Peters worked on counterterrorism and other security programs during two presidential terms.
Wilkes-Barre police said state police and the state criminal intelligence center out of Harrisburg helped alert them to the Facebook account, working hand in hand with members of the Department of Homeland Security.
Peters said there are security experts working around the clock whose sole job is checking social media for threats.
“ The FBI and other organizations have been watching for a long time and shame on them if they don’t. This is open source information, this is no different than having an undercover officer,” said Peters.
Peters said people would be shocked how often tragedies are prevented.
The public is a great help, too, reporting what they see and what seems concerning.
“ If someone makes a threat, we have seen and we are forced now to act on that because we, law enforcement, can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t. So if you make a threat, you’re going to pay a price and you should,” said Peters.