The Human Scanner: Twitter User Warned Others About Borderline Bar Shooting, California Wildfires

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Posted: Nov 25, 2018 11:00 AM
The Human Scanner: Twitter User Warned Others About Borderline Bar Shooting, California Wildfires

One Simi Valley, California man is being credited with providing thousands of people in Southern California with information relating to the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting and the Woosley Fire. 

For the last 10 years Thomas Gorden, 22, has listened to police scanners and tweeted pertinent information on his Twitter account. But things were different this time.

On November 7th, when the shooting in Thousand Oaks took place, Gorden knew the situation was different. 

"When (officers) went inside and said they're going to need a lot of ambulances, that's when I realized this was a mass shooting," Gorden told The Los Angeles Times

From The Times: 

Gorden heard the call for the Hill fire in Ventura County. As that blaze grew, the Woolsey fire started to burn in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. As it headed toward Oak Park, Gorden began tweeting. At one point, he worked for 48 hours straight without sleep. He didn't slow down until this weekend.

"A lot of people are saying that they found my information more helpful than what officials were putting out," he said, "or were able to evacuate earlier than other people who evacuated Oak Park after all the gridlock."

Gorden, who lives with his parents in Simi Valley, got his first scanner 10 years ago and started the @VCScanner account in 2011. His most recent job was installing chair lifts along residential staircases, but he left his job in August due to chronic pain.

Sometimes, he heads out to a crime or fire scene and shoots video, which he sells to news television stations. Video he shot after the Borderline shooting made it onto CNN, he said.

Gorden said people told him they were receiving information from his Twitter feed quicker than they were from local authorities. Many relied on his updates when they saw or smelt smoke but didn't hear anything from authorities. 

The Twitter user said there are somethings he won't tweet about, like if an officer's life is in danger. He holds himself to a higher standard.

"Certain things shouldn't be tweeted," he said.

Once Gorden began receiving media attention for his account, he shared a message with his followers, letting them know he wasn't interested in gaining notoriety or fame. 

Gorden had a job installing residential stair lifts until he quit in August due to frequent pain.