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Autocorrect Mistake Accidentally Sends School Shooting Threat

By - Source: The Gainesville Times | B 42 comments

Damn you, autocorrect!

Autocorrect is a useful feature that can often be absolutely hilarious. There are whole websites dedicated to documenting the funny, sometimes inappropriate, and whacky results of the accidental autocorrect. Though it may be embarrassing, it's rare that autocorrect will cause any real trouble. Sure, you might have some explaining to do (especially if autocorrect put some lewd words in your mouth), but we had never heard a case of autocorrect gone wrong with catastrophic results. Until today, that is.

This story actually involves two cell phone faux pas. The first is the dreaded autocorrect, while the second is a text sent to the wrong phone number. According to the Gainesville Times, West Hall middle and high schools went into lock down after a text message that read "gunman be at west hall today," was received by a member of the community. Police tracked the number only to discover that autocorrect has changed 'gunna' to 'gunman.' The lock down was lifted at 1:45 p.m. but authorities said that the person who informed the police did the right thing.

"It was a combination of odd circumstances," Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks told the Gaineville Times. "We want to emphasize that the recipient did the right thing in reporting the message."

The story doesn't mention what kind of phone the sender of the text was using, but CNet reports that the iPhone autocorrects 'gunna' to 'Gunnar' and our own little test has confirmed that Android will let you use the word 'gunna' without trying to correct you. Windows Phone does offer 'gunman' up as a suggestion but it doesn't automatically insert it in place of 'gunna.'

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Top Comments
  • 42 Hide
    warezme , March 1, 2012 6:22 PM
    "gunman be at west hall today,"

    Siri: OK
    Siri: Would you like a list of local ammunition dealers in your area?
  • 25 Hide
    amdphenomx4 , March 1, 2012 6:16 PM
    So, in conclusion, Android is better.
  • 20 Hide
    classzero , March 1, 2012 6:42 PM
    maybe now people will start using words again, like going to instead of gunna.
Other Comments
    Display all 42 comments.
  • 25 Hide
    amdphenomx4 , March 1, 2012 6:16 PM
    So, in conclusion, Android is better.
  • 42 Hide
    warezme , March 1, 2012 6:22 PM
    "gunman be at west hall today,"

    Siri: OK
    Siri: Would you like a list of local ammunition dealers in your area?
  • 8 Hide
    GenericUser , March 1, 2012 6:27 PM
    And this is one of the many reasons I don't use autocorrect. I know people get decent use out of it when you need to throw out a quick message, but I'll just take the time to make sure it's right on my own.
  • 12 Hide
    COLGeek , March 1, 2012 6:29 PM
    Oops! Hate when that happens.....
  • 2 Hide
    unther , March 1, 2012 6:32 PM
    I'm glad the incident only went this far, it could have been far worse. My blackberry asks before making any changes to messages.
  • 15 Hide
    awood28211 , March 1, 2012 6:33 PM
    Aww many, maybe now i'm gunman turn off my autocorrect?
  • 20 Hide
    classzero , March 1, 2012 6:42 PM
    maybe now people will start using words again, like going to instead of gunna.
  • 1 Hide
    willard , March 1, 2012 6:46 PM
    GenericUserAnd this is one of the many reasons I don't use autocorrect. I know people get decent use out of it when you need to throw out a quick message, but I'll just take the time to make sure it's right on my own.

    I use autocorrect, and then take a little time to make sure it's correct anyway. Much faster that way, and you don't send awkward messages. Autocorrect errors are glaringly obvious when you do a quick read of your message. Certainly more so than minor typos.

    Related to the article, I'm guessing that the person who sent the text was using Android and a non-stock keyboard. I use SwiftKey, and it does autocorrect totally differently than the stock keyboard.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , March 1, 2012 7:16 PM
    My HTC Thunderbolt autocorrects "gunna" to "gunman". Maybe it's a Sense thing?
  • 9 Hide
    hoof_hearted , March 1, 2012 7:21 PM
    Could have also accidentally hit an 'm' for one of the 'n's . They are next to each other.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , March 1, 2012 7:56 PM
    learn2type so you dont need to use auto-correct...
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , March 1, 2012 8:04 PM
    Does this win the worst autocorrect of the month award?
  • 14 Hide
    Haserath , March 1, 2012 8:12 PM
    Darn, I was going to go to west hall to take some shots that day, but then there were so many police around... I thought shooting some people with my new smartphone's camera was gunman be so awesome too...
  • 2 Hide
    sockso , March 1, 2012 8:50 PM
    I'm not sure what makes me cringe more: the thought of somebody typing "gunna," or the thought of a actual gunman.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , March 1, 2012 8:55 PM
    kittlelearn2type so you dont need to use auto-correct...


    Autocorrect isn't just about fixing possible errors in messages, it is about speeding up texting by finishing a word or phrase before you finish typing it. I don't use autocorrect on my Android, but I know some people who do use it and although I can type pretty fast, they can do it faster because of autocorrect.

    Sure, you could argue that so what it's only a few second speed up at best, but if you need to text a lot or you just want to text a lot (I have free texting, so I could, but I don't do it much) then the value of autocorrect can show.
  • 1 Hide
    alikum , March 1, 2012 9:49 PM
    LufiaMy HTC Thunderbolt autocorrects "gunna" to "gunman". Maybe it's a Sense thing?

    I can confirm this with my HTC Desire too. It's most likely an HTC.
  • 2 Hide
    ericburnby , March 1, 2012 10:05 PM
    Here's my idea.

    Change the messaging system so that when the message gets sent the original and the corrected version are sent. The person receiving the message gets the corrected one by default, but can touch an icon which will highlight and show the original word typed along with the corrected word.

    For casual mistakes the receiver can probably figure out what the person actually said by viewing the original, and saves them from having to send another text back asking what they meant. And, of course, it would eliminate confusion in cases like this.

    Hear that Apple? There's something you can patent.
  • 7 Hide
    santeana , March 1, 2012 10:56 PM
    It's his own fault. Everyone knows it's "gonna" not "gunna". Idiot. lol ;) 
  • -3 Hide
    alidan , March 1, 2012 11:42 PM
    willardI use autocorrect, and then take a little time to make sure it's correct anyway. Much faster that way, and you don't send awkward messages. Autocorrect errors are glaringly obvious when you do a quick read of your message. Certainly more so than minor typos.Related to the article, I'm guessing that the person who sent the text was using Android and a non-stock keyboard. I use SwiftKey, and it does autocorrect totally differently than the stock keyboard.


    when was the last time something important was sent via a text? im sure no one will care if you miss type dont and dont put the the ' in it... i sure as hell dont when i type normally, though that has more to do with my pinky fingers than any thing else. i also dont use shift... only time people complain is the kind of people who disregard a whole comment because of 1 typing mistake, and god knows i would get a sanction here if i voiced my opinion on them. only time shift is ever used by me is when i am TRYING to drive a point home and some people may need to have the key word pointed out... sense the way i talk cant be articulated through ip as of now.
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , March 2, 2012 12:38 AM
    alidanwhen was the last time something important was sent via a text? im sure no one will care if you miss type dont and dont put the the ' in it... i sure as hell dont when i type normally, though that has more to do with my pinky fingers than any thing else. i also dont use shift... only time people complain is the kind of people who disregard a whole comment because of 1 typing mistake, and god knows i would get a sanction here if i voiced my opinion on them. only time shift is ever used by me is when i am TRYING to drive a point home and some people may need to have the key word pointed out... sense the way i talk cant be articulated through ip as of now.


    Well, the text that this article is based on was important enough to shut down a school for a while. I know some auxiliary military groups such as the Civil Air Patrol use a lot of text messages, especially in emergency services such as search and rescue. A lot of their search and rescue missions (most search and rescue done in the continental USA is done by or partially by this group) are sent out through text messages to ensure the info is sent out to as many members as necessary very rapidly.
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