British tourists detained, barred from U.S. for misunderstood tweet

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destroy america tweet

When Irishman Leigh Van Bryan arrived in America, was immediately imprisoned, and was told, "You've really fucked up with that tweet, boy," he may have thought, "Wow, Deliverance  and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were completely accurate portrayals of the average American." Really, who calls someone "boy?" The Department of Homeland Security, apparently. Van Bryan and his traveling companion, British citizen Emily Bunting, were detained, interrogated, and for twelve hours after authorities were made aware of a dangerous tweet that Van Bryan had made weeks before: "free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?" Apparently, in the British Isles, 'destroy' is slang for "get trashed and party," something that should probably have been made clear to the DHS.

Van Bryan and Bunting were detained overnight, spending part of their American holiday with what the British press called "illegal immigrants" and "Mexican drug dealers" denied entry to the United States. They were also searched after authorities discovered another troubling tweet, Van Bryan's threat of "diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!" a quote Van Bryan attributed to Family Guy.

This story raises the question of how the government tracks social media, but you don't need to worry about getting a "The Department of Homeland Security is now following you on Twitter" email just yet; Van Bryan was caught when an anonymous tipster called an LAX security tipline to warn them of the impending British invasion. 

If any British friends give you crap about the Big Brother-esque aspects of this story, just remind them of their 1.85 million CCTV cameras — one for every thirty-two people in the U.K., including the handful placed  (ironically, perhaps?) around George Orwell's former London home.