Assault Tattoo

Disproportionate responses are standard operating procedure for most law enforcement agencies these days. If an individual calls the police claiming that they saw a man with a gun the appropriate response would be to ask if that individual was acting in a threatening manner. That question never seems to get asked. Instead police will often toss logic to the wind, grab their toys, and head out to harass the subject of the call. That’s what happened to a man in Maine who wasn’t even carrying a gun:

NORRIDGEWOCK — Michael Smith went outside shirtless after being awakened Tuesday morning, yelling at a tree removal company to get off his property.

The workers thought they saw a gun in his waistband and called police.

Smith, who’d gone back to bed, was awakened again minutes later — this time by Maine State Police at his front door, backed up by a group of troopers with assault rifles in his driveway. They were asking him via a megaphone to come out of his house.

Smith did have a gun. It was tattooed on his stomach.

Because Smith was yelling at the tree removal service I can see where a claim of threatening behavior could be made. But even then an appropriate response would have been to send a couple of police officers to knock on Smith’s door and ask some questions. Loading up an entire group of troopers is overkill whether or not Smith had a real gun.

Officer safety has become the go to excuse for police agencies to act like paramilitary forces. Why did so many police officers have to be sent to respond to a call about a man who was merely through to be in possession of a gun? Because officer safety. Either that or I must assume that police officers think so poorly of their ability that they feel the only way they could win a potential gunfight is with overwhelming firepower.