Emojis can be scary.

While I was killing time at work, scrolling through Mashable’s latest news about social media, I found a rather interesting piece on a man who was threatened via emojis on his Instagram page. Obviously, this was extremely intreguing. So I cancelled all my appointments and settled in to read about the hard-ass gangster that decided cartoon faces and guns was a good way to send a message. 

So here’s what happened: Freelance journalist Fletcher Babb decided to investigate Instagram’s supposed black market (why have I not heard of this?), which is apparently ridden with real gangsters that sell codeine-laced cough syrup, also known as “lean” (seriously why have I never seen this??). He stumbled upon an Atlanta-based rapper who sold the wonder-product in plain sight. So, he contacted the kind gentleman to acquire some tasty “lean” himself. The two sent text messages back and forth about when to purchase the drugs, where to meet, etc. Mashable provided a picture of the correspondence that looks like this: 


I’m so confused by this guy’s slang. “We’ll chop it up tmrw”? Wait, what are we chopping? I thought this was a weight-loss liquid? “Fam”? Already? Well that is some misplaced trust if I’ve ever seen it… 

I digress. Anyway, Babb ordered drugs from the dude, then never paid. Needless to say, Mr. Lean was a little agitated to lose a customer. So, he did what any respectable, hard gangster would do and posted Babb’s profile on his feed with a comment of the face with X’s for eyes and a gun pointing towards it.


Obviously, Fletcher was concerned, but he was a little confused. I would be too. I mean can I show that in court and actually be taken seriously when I say I feel threatened? I sent that very thing an hour ago when I was texting my friend about being at work. Is that a suicide threat? Should we really take a cartoon as a threat at all? 

As it turns out, yes. Yes we should. 

According to criminal justice experts, anything that makes a reasonable person feel threatened on the web is arguable in civil or tort law. 

So, this is what our society has come to: drug dealers selling product online, in plain sight, then making death threats publicly via emojis. What happened to the good ole days when thugs hung out in allies and just tried to push drugs via whatever they could fit in their creepy trench coat? I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the headline of this Mashable article, and I still can’t decide if I want to laugh at the drug dealer for being stupid enough to conduct business on Instagram, or if I want to shake my head at the stupidity of the whole situation. I’m not sure I would even know to laugh or not if I had been the one receiving the threat. What kind of bad-ass uses cartoon faces instead of actual words to communicate a threatening message? Personally, I think emojis are hilarious, and I use them to make a joke when I text. However, this seems to be what communication is coming to for the majority of people; instead of saying “Hey, imma kik ur ass” you send a fucking cartoon with #bitch. I’m shaking.

Again, this dealer was an Atlanta-based rapper. I can’t help but wonder how he is going to rap about this and sound cool at all. “Spent 5 months in prison, ask me why, I sent a scary emoji, to this random guy…” Yes. That will go platinum.  

I understand why Babbs felt threatened, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say that he’s just a baby or anything of the sorts. Regardless of how the message was sent, it was still a threatening message, and I’m sure that genius drug dealer got what was coming to him. I can only hope that a few months from now we hear some hit song about selling “lean” and getting busted for an emoji threat. I can see the album now





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