I started using Facebook a few years ago, when the conventional wisdom in the writing community was that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace were great marketing tools, a fun and easy way to connect with readers. I have to confess, I got hooked fast.
These days, I check it — well, let’s just say I check it quite a few times to find out what my friends (both the real-life ones and the ones I only know from online) are up to. Like a lot of people, sometimes I wonder if maybe I do it a bit too much. But I have to say, after reading the story of 36-year-old Jason Valdez, of Salt Lake City, I feel a whole lot better about myself.
When police came to serve a felony warrant on Valdez, he decided that he wasn’t really into the whole going-to-jail thing right then. He barricaded himself in his hotel room with a pistol and a young woman and held the cops off. As the SWAT teams gathered, Valdez apparently decided that something like this was just too awesome not to share, so he got on his Android smart phone and started posting status updates to Facebook.
“I’m currently in a stand off wit these shady [expletive] from old,” Valdez posted. (“Old” apparently was a typo; he later posted that he meant to write “opd” for Ogden Police Department. Given the circumstances, one can probably understand a little fumble-fingered typing.)
He went on: “Kinda ugly but ready for whatever, I love u guyz and if I don’t make it out of here alive that I’m in a better place and u were all great friends.”
His Facebook pals and family members immediately gathered round, some urging him to “do the right thing” and “end this peacefully,” while some helpful souls provided tactical advice from nearby. (“Gunman in the bushes, stay low.”)
Over the next 16 hours, Valdez posted six status updates, responded to numerous messages, and added 15 new Facebook friends. He even uploaded a picture of himself with his supposed “hostage,” who, truth be told, doesn’t look like she’s under that much duress.
Eventually, the standoff ended as so many of them do, with the SWAT team busting in. Valdez apparently attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He’s now in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive. We have to rely on press releases, however, because I’m reasonably sure the cops took his phone away.
Yes, it’s a new age, the age where people can’t do anything without letting the world know, an age where even desperados will take time out during a standoff with the cops to give a hearty “wazzup?” to their buddies. One wonders what it would have been like if social networking had come along earlier in history...
— Ugh the Caveman: “Find flint. Make fire.” … Thrag the Other Caveman: “U make fire, me carry away your woman LOL.”
— Moses: “Could have sworn Aaron had the map. Guess we’ll find the place eventually.”
— Odysseus: “Waiting. Hotter than Hades inside this freaking horse. Wish Ajax & Diomedes hadn’t had 2d helping of beans for lunch.”
— Julius Caesar: “Headed down to Senate for big Ides of March party. Little nervous about what soothsayer said, but my bros Brutus & Cassius tell me they’ve got my back.”
— Mary: “In labor, in a stable. I swear, this is the last time I let Joseph make travel reservations.”
— Alexander the Great: “Just figured out there are no more worlds to conquer. Bummer.”
— Christopher Columbus: “Always thought India would be more crowded.”
— King Henry VIII: “Old, fat, & drunk, but the ladies still love me. Good to be King.”
— Gen. George Custer: “Takin my boyz down 2 Little Big Horn to mop up a few Indians. Back soon.” … (Crazy Horse and 1,800 friends like this post.)
— ALincoln: “@ theater. Play really boring. Wish something would happen.”
Now, if y’all will excuse me, I have to go check up on my Facebook page. It’s for marketing. Yeah. Marketing. Let’s go with that.