Well, they're at it again! Who is they? The reactionary public of course, who think they are doing the right thing. I just saw on the news tonight that a building in Boston was evacuated today because somebody reported a man with a gun. When the police finally apprehended this "suspect" they found the object sticking out of his bag. This time it was a bicycle pump. That's right, a bicycle pump. Once again, people called the police thinking they saw a rifle. Can I just ask what rogue rifleman walks around with a rifle in his backpack? That's not very effective to use in a public place. You've got to sling the bag down, open it up, pull out the gun... Or if he were being secretive about it, he wouldn't have the barrel sticking out of his bag in full view! Of any time there's ever been gun violence in a public area perpetrated by rifle, when has that firearm been in a backpack? He'd at least use a big duffel bag right? Or a package of curtain rods.
And just how frequent is rifle attack these days? Besides Lee Harvey Oswald and a guy in a clock tower, when have you heard anyone was shot at by rifle in a public place? That's for home defense. Anyone these days going out to shoot people up is carrying a hand gun. I know there's been discussion of the constitutionality of carrying assault rifles, but do people actually do that? And even if the carry them, are they used? Not in Massachusetts. At least, I haven't heard of such an occurrence.
So for the second time, an innocent American is held responsible for holding up the city because somebody thought they saw something. When was it made a crime to carry a bike pump? Oh, what's that? It's not? Then maybe we should get our facts straight before we report something.
If I sound like I'm being hard on the citizen activists here, let me say I don't hold them (or he or she or it) fully responsible. No, the real blame lies on the Massachusetts police. You see, after that little non-incident in the Burlington Mall, they told the public that what they did was correct. They didn't feel they as the police did anything improper (though when you really look at what was done, it was obviously excessive). And then they continued to say that those who reported it did the right thing and that it's always right to report something suspicious. Well, maybe you can argue that, but at what point to we define "suspicious" as "any cylindrical object seen from a distance". So I lay the real blame on them, for encouraging this kind of fear-based behavior in the public.
At what point do these trigger-happy whistleblowers get to call out the police? This sort of reaction is just as destructive as a man with a rifle would be. And certainly more so than a guy with a bicycle pump.