Political disputes are a dime a dozen on social media, but rarely do they make it out of cyberspace and into the real world.
However, that is exactly what happened when a Florida man shot another man after they got into an argument in the comments section of a Facebook post about President Donald Trump, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The post has since been deleted, but apparently, 44-year-old Brian Sebring and 46-year-old Alex Stephens engaged in a heated debate about the voting rights of convicted felons.
Tyler Travis, a Facebook user who witnessed the exchange, said that Sebring was "badmouthing felons who couldn’t vote."
After addressing some comments to each other, Stephens took the argument to Sebring’s Messenger account, which is where the threats began.
Stephens allegedly threatened to hurt Sebring’s wife and autistic son. At some point, he sent Sebring his address and told him to “come on over” to fight and to honk his horn when he arrived.
Sebring threatened to “empty a full 5.56 magazine into your head."
The argument continued to escalate until Sebring was in a full-blown rage.
"I just snapped and let primal rage take over," he said.
He drove home from work, grabbed his wife’s handgun and an AR-15 rifle, and drove to Stephens’ home. When he honked to notify him he was outside, Sebring claimed Stephens came running out of the house “like a linebacker.”
"I told him, ‘Man, you better stop, man, I got a gun,’ but he kept running," Sebring said. "It looked like he was holding a steak knife in his hand, and I got scared. When I shot him, he dropped it and ran back in the house."
Despite Sebring’s story to reporters, police spokesman Steve Hegarty said that neither man mentioned any knife and neither of them mentioned the victim having a gun.
Travis, who said he knows Stephens personally, said that Stephens claimed he was shot in the rear end while turning away from Sebring. He then purportedly ducked behind a tree and was shot again in the legs as he made his way back into his house.
Sebring was headed home when he saw a police cruiser and pulled over. He admitted to the officer what he had done.
The two men attended the same high school, although not at the same time, and they share many mutual friends on Facebook.
"I know both of these two and got to witness quite a bit of the fall out," reader Shonia Cruz Munoz reportedly posted on a Times story. "The victim IS the victim — let’s leave it at that.... Threats were made but only one chose to use weapons. Only one chose to drive to someone’s home and open fire on him.”
Sebring pleaded his case to reporters, maintaining that he’s “not a bad guy.”
He continued: “But I mean, this guy threatened to hurt my family, and I went off the deep end. I wasn’t thinking right. You know, after this I’m going to go see a therapist or something, man, because that’s some scary s***, that I could lose my temper like that and do something so stupid."
Although Sebring was released from jail earlier this week on $9,500 bond, he is facing felony charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed firearm.
"Stupid" is an understatement to describe this senseless act of violence. However, Sebring is lucky that the wounds he inflicted on Stephens were non-life-threatening. This is exactly the scenario that gun control advocates want to prevent by fighting for stronger gun laws and responsible gun ownership.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton