This morning around 8:00 a.m., the NYPD issued an alert to New York city area iPhones telling New Yorkers to watch out for the suspect in connection with Saturday night’s bombings. If you have an iPhone in New York, you could not not see the message; the government has a way of basically forcing those types of emergency alert messages onto Apple phones.
First off: this is a message to “stay put,” right? Because if they’re asking us to “be on the lookout,” all I can do is let you know if I see him on TV. “Hello, NYPD? Yes I’ve found the suspect. I’m seeing him right now actually…yeah it’s his picture, on Fox News, they’re asking for help identifiying him if we see him….hello? Are you there hello?”
Sending it this way makes it a lot more personal. Any time I get an emergency text alert, I spend the first few seconds thinking I’m the only one who got it. You see this warning on TV? Business as usual. But getting a notification on your phone about it? Now I’m thinking the NYPD has bad intel that led them to me. “Suspect on the loose – and we’re pretty sure you’re good buddies with him, Mike. If that is your real name.” They’re sending follow up texts based on my iPhone search history: “Hey, jerkoff, quit checking the stats on yesterday’s Giants game and help the boys in blue capture the guy you’ve been best friends with since you were 1 year old!”
It leads me to hope that no Internet troll-types are ever put in charge of such an intensely personal notification system. They could start peppering it with insults. “Suspect is believed to be 6 feet tall, dark hair, and uglier than even you.” “Much like your loser ass, all the suspect’s friends talk shit about him when he’s not around.” “AMBERT ALERT: No girl named Amber would ever date you. Hell, no girl named ANYTHING would date you.”
The scariest part about getting these types of messages is thinking about what would happen if one day it was you? The suspect in this morning’s alert may have an iPhone. If the suspect is in the city, the odds are pretty good he got a message from the NYPD asking him to be on the lookout for himself. He had to be in denial for at least ten minutes, right? “Oh man, how weird is it that ANOTHER guy with my name is a suspect in this bombing? Small world, huh? Welp, time to go about my normal morning routine of breakfast, exercise, and booking a one-way flight to Venezuela. So, which black ball cap and sunglasses should I go with today?”
Also noted in the message: the suspect is armed and dangerous. Which I think we can all agree at this point is a way too cool-sounding phrase for the scumbag criminals it describes. “Warning: suspect is on the loose and is believed to be a great title for an old Bond movie.” Let’s change it up with something I like to call ADD warnings: “Suspect is armed, dangerous, and a dickhead.” Gets the point across but also gets a quick shot in at the guy. If he’s committed a particularly egregious crime? ADMD: “Suspect is armed, dangerous, and a MAJOR dickhead.”
One final thought: the suspect in this case is 5’6, 200 pounds. My first thought upon reading this was, “Huh…I’m in better shape than him.” So thanks, NYPD. You may not have found your guy yet (and I certainly hope you do), but at the very least, you’ve let one comedian start his morning reassured he has a lower BMI than a terror suspect.
While you’re here, subscribe to my email list. If you do so, I swear I won’t forcefeed your iPhone notifications every morning. At least not until I join the NYPD.