Hoax Twitter Message and Call Cost Doctor Kruse His Cruise
All it takes to ruin a guy’s vacation is one anonymous moron with a computer and a phone, and a bunch of gullible and overreacting law enforcement agents and cruise personnel:
A Nashville neurosurgeon was pulled off a Carnival cruise suspected of planning to commit a bio-terrorist attack, after a tweet from an impostor account claimed the doctor had a vial of harmful bacteria on board.
Dr. Jack Kruse was on the Carnival Magic cruise ship Sunday about to set off from a Galveston port. He planned to speak to the passengers on the 5th Annual Low-Carb Cruise Monday morning. Passengers never got to hear that lecture, though, because Kruse was escorted off the cruise after a suspicious tweet posted that morning was detected.
A cruise line official confirmed that the FBI, Homeland Security, the Galveston police and the U.S. Coast Guard were alerted about the tweet.
A tweet posted by an account “s***krusesays,” which we’ve edited because of an expletive, said, “security confiscated dynamite. talk won’t be as explosive as one at PaleoFx. still have vial of Legionnaires for epic biohack. #lccruise12.” The fake Twitter account, which parodied the doctor, has been deleted.
The story quotes Kruse as saying they ripped his room apart: “It was like being in a movie, and it was surreal . . . Having the room completely trashed, and I was asked all of these crazy questions. I had no idea what they were talking about.”
I feel you, man.
Even though the doctor was cleared of having sent the message and determined not to be a threat, the captain still didn’t let him on board. “Since the safety and well-being of my guests and crew is my number one priority, every security threat is taken seriously and fully investigated,” the captain wrote. “It is for this reason that I felt it was in the best interest of all my guests to err on the side of caution and not allow him to set sail as planned.”
Sure. Just go ahead and ruin his trip — not to mention affecting the enjoyment of people who had looked forward to hearing his talk — because of some anonymous idiot. It seems that my oft-repeated prescription not to take the word of anonymous a-holes too seriously has, once again, not been heeded.
People just loooove to take unverified crap at face value.
I have to wonder what officials were smoking to take this seriously. First of all, check out the message that caused them to go nuts. The first words were: “security confiscated dynamite.” Except, they didn’t. That could be a tip-off that the Twitter message was a joke.
Second of all: thanks to the magic of Topsy.com, we can still view some of the tweets from the “shitkrusesays” account. (I don’t have to edit profanity. Welcome to the world of grown-ups!) Check out the avatar the account holder was using:
Yes, that is Dr. Nick Riviera, the laughable quack from The Simpsons.
If this guy wanted to scream “satire!” he couldn’t do it any louder than with that avatar.
And check out another tweet about the cruise that the hoaxster sent out about the same time: “cruise ship staff refusing to keep hot tubs at 55 degrees. forcing them to watch tedx talk on my ipad. jaws are dropping. #LCCRUISE12.” I hope they thoroughly investigated that allegation as well!!!!!
I’ll give authorities this: the story reports that, “[i]n addition to the tweet, however, the cruise line received a call from a ‘Lance,’ who claimed the doctor had a plan to perform a viral biohack on the ship.”
OK. Arguably, one could contend that is enough to search his belongings to make sure he was not going to KILL EVERYONE ON BOARD!!!! (I’m not sure I agree, frankly, but I can see people making the argument.) But once everything was searched, and they had a chance to Google “Nick Riviera,” and determine that no dynamite had already been confiscated, they should have known better.
I hope that law enforcement catches “Lance” and throws his ass in jail. Based on personal experience, however, I advise Kruse not to hold his breath. I speak from personal experience when I say that law enforcement can be stunningly, spectacularly incompetent on issues like this, depending on who you get. It’s the luck of the draw, and if your detective or FBI agent is the lazy one, or the dishonest one, or the stupid one — or, God help you, all three (it happens, believe me) — you are up the creek, pal.
Best wishes to Dr. Kruse on finding the bad guys.