Morons of Peggys Cove aims to promote safety through humour on Twitter
@moronsofthecove created to raise awareness, not publicly shame tourists says creator
It sounds like an insult, but the person behind a Twitter account that labels people "morons" of Peggys Cove is hoping to use blunt humour to save lives.
Lovely forecast! Gonna a busy weekend! But if you see someone get too close, yell at them: "Step back and don't die." <a href="http://t.co/mf5azyNzIq">pic.twitter.com/mf5azyNzIq</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove
The account, which was created earlier in August, shows photos of people standing on black rocks, near the edge of the ocean at the famous Nova Scotia tourist sight.
Black rocks are wet and people are warned that rogue waves can reach that area and pull people into the water.
In April, Jamie Quattrocchi — a 25-year-old Smiths Falls, Ont., man — died after being swept into the sea. His body has not been found.
Just weeks after Quattrocchi was swept to his death, on July 2, a man was saved by a tourist boat when he fell into the water.
The province has been looking at new ways to improve safety at Peggys Cove. Some people argue the signs that issue warnings to stay off the rocks are not enough.
'Isn't about public shaming'
The man behind the Twitter account @moronsofthecove says his goal is to prevent any more tragedies.
The man told CBC he wants to stay anonymous. He says he lives in Nova Scotia and is a frequent visitor to the iconic lighthouse.
He says he was inspired by a recent trip.
"We actually had to yell at a couple to move away from the black rocks," he wrote in a message. "Seconds later, a wave crashed at their feet as they were backing away."
The account is now filled with people on the edge of the rocks. One family appears to be dipping their feet into the water, something that most locals know is a huge risk.
"I'm certainly not trying to victim blame anyone," said the person behind the account. "This also isn't about public shaming. I just thought this was a humorous way to promote safety and awareness."
The tweeter is hoping that tourists who research the area will see the accounts before they arrive and heed the warnings.
"That being said, if you ignore warning signs and you ignore a history of fatalities, then in my mind, you are a moron," he said.
The account is now so popular, the person behind it has created a Facebook page to match.
'Anything we can do to raise awareness'
Caroline Quattrocchi, Jamie's mother, doesn't appreciate the humour of the Twitter account.
"It is rude and it is degrading and it is judgmental and it does somehow hold him [the account creator] on a pedestal, on a higher level than others," she said in an interview from her home in Smiths Falls.
"In my experience, that's not the most effective way of teaching people."
Quattrocchi said her family read all the posts, including ones that strangers have put on the family's memorial page to her son. While she doesn't like the tone, she's not in favour of pulling down the Twitter account.
"Absolutely not," Quattrocchi said. "I think the account itself is awesome. I think anything we can do to raise awareness about the dangers of Peggys Cove is a positive and I think that probably he was motivated by the right things."
Quattrocchi disputes the popular notion that her son ignored warning signs and was standing on wet rocks when he was swept into the ocean.
"What people really need to understand is that even on dry pink rocks that are high off the ocean, you're still at danger," she said.
"It was a rogue wave that came out of nowhere, there was no like waves before or after the one that tragically took Jamie into the ocean."
Deep condolences. Sadly, rogue waves happen. But with due respect, this account points out those who act reckless. <a href="https://t.co/bDlbsMU58R">https://t.co/bDlbsMU58R</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove
The writer adds that he is not looking to speak ill of the "poor souls" who have lost their lives at the site.
More than anything, he says he wants to inspire more locals to speak up and encourage tourists to get away from the black rocks.
"Hey honey. Do you think that could kill me?" "Nah." (Photo from Facebook.) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/moronsofpeggyscove?src=hash">#moronsofpeggyscove</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/peggyscove?src=hash">#peggyscove</a> <a href="http://t.co/hSt20LinuG">pic.twitter.com/hSt20LinuG</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove
According to a Facebook post, they wanted to "put their feet in that beautiful calm water!" Hrm. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/moronsofpeggyscove?src=hash">#moronsofpeggyscove</a> <a href="http://t.co/wTTkqOGPdt">pic.twitter.com/wTTkqOGPdt</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove
Eh, what could possibly go wrong? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/moronsofpeggyscove?src=hash">#moronsofpeggyscove</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/peggyscove?src=hash">#peggyscove</a> <a href="http://t.co/xwSPcMgpia">pic.twitter.com/xwSPcMgpia</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove
So uh, any thoughts, Charles Darwin? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/peggyscove?src=hash">#peggyscove</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/moronsofpeggyscove?src=hash">#moronsofpeggyscove</a> <a href="http://t.co/KuTA5V6Yrc">pic.twitter.com/KuTA5V6Yrc</a>—@MoronsOfTheCove