Armed UK Police Raid House Over Facebook Picture Showing Toy Weapon In Background

from the let's-get-rational dept

One of the reasons Techdirt rails against exaggerated responses to supposed terrorist threats is that it has caused police forces around the world to lose all sense of proportion -- literally, in the case of this UK story from the Daily Mail.

It began when Ian Driscoll decided to post a picture to his Facebook page. It was of an Action Man doll, accompanied by a toy Alsatian dog. Why? you might ask. Well, "as a laugh", he says, because the Action Man figure looked a lot like him, and he had a real Alsatian -- which sounds entirely reasonable. What Driscoll did not note at the time, though, was that lurking in the background of the picture was another toy: a model mortar.

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, someone else spotted that toy mortar and, mindful of the incessant UK government propaganda about terrorists being everywhere, duly over-reacted and reported the image. Even more unfortunately, the police also over-reacted -- to the extent of sending five officers, two armed with sub-machine guns (and you thought they didn't carry them in the UK), ready to smash down Driscoll's front door and go in with guns blazing against this supposed terrorist cell.

Luckily, Driscoll was there, and was able to defuse the situation by showing them the mortar in question. He was able to point out that it was in fact only slightly larger than the nearby Playstation that was clearly visible in the snap he had posted, and considerably smaller than the table that was also prominent in the Facebook picture. He might even have pointed out that the figure and dog in his upload were quite obviously toys to anyone who spent more than three seconds examining the picture. The police had presumably decided not to waste those precious three seconds before acting. Instead, as a spokesperson later said:

'We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon.'
Well, no, actually: what the community would really like is for the police to use some intelligence before reaching for the sub-machine guns. If they had just stopped and looked carefully at the picture, it would have been evident that there was no possible threat here. And that's likely to be the case for many other incidents around the world where the police have assumed the worst.

That not only represents a huge waste of their valuable time and resources, it also perpetuates the corrosive idea that we should be constantly afraid and ready to report anything and anyone odd or vaguely suspicious, no matter how absurd it would seem to anyone looking at things rationally. This then creates a self-sustaining loop of public fear and police over-reaction. It's time to scale the rhetoric back, and to make common-sense judgments common again.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Mike, Mike, Mike... (!!) I've never seen such a pro-terrorism stance in my entire life. All you do is spread FUD about the Government when it's clear they are acting to protect you. I pray that you never find yourself in a situation where the Government cannot act swiftly to protect you. You see, the mortar is clearly a small scale model clearly assembled to produce the real thing in large scale by a dangerous terrorist (?!!). And as if God wanted to help me prove a point there's a PLAYSTATION in the room! The insane fundamentalist xenophobe Muslim (?!) was either using video games to hone his killing skills or worse, he was being influenced by those games into building that mortar so he could go to Batman 25: The Dark Knight Brushes His Teeth premiere in order to massacre innocent people.


    For God sake Mike, you should get psychological treatment. Your conspiracy theory obsessive compulsive disorder has reached absurd levels.

    Disclaimer: The author of this comment strongly believes the authorities will understand this is a fictional post and will not raid Techdirt searching for potentially dangerous games and DH nude pictures.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    "from the Daily Mail"

    I'm not saying that this is either 100% made up or a distorted reporting of what actually happened to the point of essentially being complete fiction, but... yeah.

     

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      Coogan (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      How's this one from the Gloucestershire news? Not sourced to the Daily Mail at all.

      http://goo.gl/CC0q2

       

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        DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        Really loved this part:

        Gloucestershire police spokeswoman Alexa Collicott said: “The information was given to us in good faith and we acted with good intentions. We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon.

        But they forgot to use what should be the most important tool in their arsenal, their brains (and the road to hell is already paved with enough "good intentions" and "I was only following orders").

        I mean why not just simply find the guys house and "nuke it from orbit" with good intentions, of course. After all "It's the only way to be sure". Sure, they used a "measured response" appropriate to the situation, but they didn't "measure" anything (See "Worlds Biggest Remote Control" in picture to get my meaning).

        Doctor Who would have happily kicked their ass out of the TARDIS if they pulled some crap like that and I and others would have cheered him on.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:02am

    What about the sub-machine gun?

    Did they not see the figure is clearly carrying a sub-machine gun? I hope at the very least they confiscated that.

    I also don't see dog tags on that dog. It should be sent to the pound.

     

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      DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:23am

      Re: What about the sub-machine gun?

      Did they not see the figure is clearly carrying a sub-machine gun? I hope at the very least they confiscated that.

      That will only happen when he tries to board a plane.

      ‘Safety Threat’? Toy Soldier’s ‘Firearm’ Banned from UK Flight

      "A couple boarding an international flight at England’s Gatwick airport unknowingly set off alarms when they tried to pass a small British military figurine through security in one of their carry-on bags."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:06am

    Well I don't think I want officers who mistake elderly blind men with white canes as sword wielding samurais to be issued submachineguns. Clearly, you can't trust them to use their own judgement. And its obvious the public's observational skills are just as flawed. So I guess we're stuck with letting the police bust down our doors to rifle through our toy boxes.

    BBC link

     

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    identicon
    Jim L, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:10am

    something

    If you see something, say anything

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Base on local history over the last 200 years it will be a day in glory when the Yankee hate bigots stop their continuous hate campaign against the South.

    Based on that the only thing that is going to rain the forces of totalitarianism in is ample fire power combined a social movement based on total destruction of the professional hate bastards which will only come about when phrase for hate is converted into total disgust at the idea that someone else is going to be my protector without them becoming my slave master.

    This is back to Mow's idea that power comes out of the barrel of a gun which means only those with the guns have the power and everybody else is a slave to the power holders.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    Proportion

    Well of course they thought it was real. It's the UK. Their mortars are tiny, like their cars and sandwiches. Even their SWAT team carries sub-machine guns.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    school boy error quoting from the "daily fail", try and find a more reputable source, maybe the "daily sport" or a drunk man shouting in the street.

     

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    bigpallooka (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    LMFAO "...guns blazing..."

    Really? Every facet of this story from the a member of the public reporting the photo, the polices action regarding that photo, Glyn's article reporting on the incident and one or two of the responses show an inclination toward exaggeration and a taste for dramatic fiction. If you want to be taken seriously leave out these fictional exaggerations.
    The British police do not carry firearms however special squads may be armed for specific purposes. They did not enter the man's house guns blazing. The article was not written by Mike. Insane ranting about Mike's mental state claiming to be fictional just look stalkerish. All round FAIL here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    One thing is for sure

    This assault toy possessing terrorist is lucky that a visit by 5 police officers still costs less than visiting him with a drone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    What probably happened. The police had a report of this guy with a mortar. They sent a couple of cars out to investigate (as they should if this is reported). He anwsered the door and explained the situation. The cops left while laughing. The media (techdirt) gets ahold of the story and makes a big fkin deal out of it.

    "to the extent of sending five officers, two armed with sub-machine guns"

    What do you want them to take to a house with a reported guy with a mortar. Pepper spray???

    Typical media, embellishing a non-story to make it a story. Techdirt has a hard on for any government action and looks to make a big deal out of nothing. And the sheep continue to follow.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      "What do you want them to take to a house with a reported guy with a mortar. Pepper spray???"

      "Reported" mortars are actually harmless when compared with ACTUAL mortars, so it's safe to engage a suspect with a "reported" mortar using less-than-lethal methods, like going up to his door and asking "can we check your house for mortars? Some moron reported that you had a REAL one.".

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      What's stopping pranksters from reporting every single house on a street with mortars? Send the whole force down to lock down the area and shoot anything that moves?

      Are you actually advocating support for people who get sent pictures and can't tell miniaturised models from the real thing?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      What do you want them to take to a house with a reported guy with a mortar. Pepper spray???

      What I *want* them to do is look at the feckin picture for 2.3 seconds and realize it's OBVIOUSLY a toy and not send ANYONE to investigate.

      THAT would have been the professionally and fiscally responsible thing to do.

       

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      Coogan (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:32am

      Re:

      Techdirt,

      In addition to the "insightful" and "funny" tags for comments, can we get one called "frakking moronic" for comments like this one? It'd make a great addition to the Sunday roundup.

      Coog

       

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      identicon
      Some Guy, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:09am

      Re:

      What do you want them to take to a house with a reported guy with a mortar. Pepper spray???

      Well why not? A mortar is an indirect-fire weapon with a high arc, so it's not as if he can use it when the police are inside the house, or even on the front doorstep.

      And if he sees them coming down the road and starts lobbing bombs on their heads out of the bedroom window, he's going to be behind cover, so the sub-machine guns aren't going to help there either.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      What do you want them to take to a house with a reported guy with a mortar. Pepper spray???


      Pepper spray would have been the better option, yes.

      Mortars are worse than worthless as short range weapons, and a short range weapon is what you'd need to attack someone knocking on your door. Even if it were real, it posed no serious threat to the officers.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      If by chance the owner wasn't home would they be justified to bust his door down and search for deadly weapons based solely on this screenshot? I'm sure they assumed he had other weapons in the house which explains the assault squad. The prudent course is to examine the situation so you don't run into an unexpected obstacle. But more often than not we see law enforcement ratchet up their reaction to 11 in an effort to out-firepower the opposition. Yes, they should investigate a tip. But that investigation shouldn't always be led with a SWAT team.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      One would expect the minimum to be done like make sure it was not a prank and there was actually some danger to begin with.

      WTF is wrong with you people?

      Now the police can go into everywhere and shoot dead anyone on "allegations" alone and come out saying they are sorry but the community would want us to shoot first and ask questions later?

      At least this one didn't die like the other poor sod in the tube.

       

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    Dreddsnik, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    " (and you thought they didn't carry them in the UK) "

    No, I was pretty sure that only the citizens of the UK don't have them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:43am

    What if he'd taken a picture of plastic dinosaurs? Would tanks have driven up to fight the dinosaurs?

     

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    Lord Binky, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    'We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon.'

    That is 'Shoot first, ask questions later' logic. I do not think the public prefers you to over react then analyze a situation. It is also dangerous to the Police.

    If you're against an strategic minded terrorist and they knew that's all it required for the police to charge in.... well that's call bait, and a REAL terrorist could have the house rigged, the street rigged, and any place the police would be when raiding a house (as stated in the police's own standard operating procedure). I guess it's just easier to ignore all that and pick on safe targets to pretend you're working.

     

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      Valkor (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      Or in other words, "Kill 'em all. Let God sort them out". Hey, if you've lived an upright and pure life, you've got nothing to worry about, right?

      If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 6:52am

    The Police really do have to justify those enormous budgets!

     

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    every government official ever, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    Rational behavior? That sounds hard, can't we just raise your taxes and treat you like you're too stupid to tie your shoes?

     

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    theDude, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    Inceasingly Poor Decisions

    Reminds of a scene from David Cross Todd Margeret if anyone has scene it "thats why were the best" explains the british officer after blowing up Todds luggage.

     

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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Stop the gun BS

    The gun snark was very annoying.

    They do not normally carry guns. Only when they think the person has a weapon.

    And you dumb attitude only makes thing worse rather than helping.

     

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      Dreddsnik, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:36am

      Re: Stop the gun BS

      I know that this is a sensitive issue in the UK ..

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323777204578195470446855466.html

      " The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. "

      What would you propose to 'help' ?
      Clearly panicky , over the top police actions don' help either.

       

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      Coogan (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:39am

      Re: Stop the gun BS

      They do not normally carry guns. Only when they think the person has a weapon.

      A mortar is not a weapon?

      And Techdirt isn't reporting that the cops had guns, the source article is saying it.

      And you dumb attitude only makes thing worse rather than helping.

      Pot, meet Kettle

       

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    McCrea (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Gun is too big

    I can only imagine what atrocities he would have been searched for if the picture was of his fake penis at 12x scale.

     

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    Gregg, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    It's everywhere

    Complete over the top Police reaction! We had a case in Canada last year similar to this reported incident. A girl in public school (kindergarten or grade 1) drew a picture of her dad shooting bad guys and monsters with a gun. The teacher and principal call Child Services and the Police to the school. When the father came to pick up his child, he was arrested, taken to the station and strip searched (not sure how you put a gun somewhere under your nards but hey they looked there) they searched his home and took his other children away for the time being. In the end they concluded there was no gun and the man got his life back the next day.

    But really, the over reaction to a child making a picture is ridiculous. The School Board, the Police and the City all state they did the appropriate response to the issue. This man most likely will not be allowed to ever go to many other countries as there are police records of him relating to a Gun search and investigation. Mere records of Police involvement is enough to bar someone from entering the US from Canada. Not to mention that he was stripped searched, home searched, lost 24 hours of his life, was helpless in protecting his children and basically had no protection or rights! and not even charged let alone any evidence at all.

    The bad guys will be bad guys, but the good guys are the ones taking the brunt from excessive policing. Where are our rights! where is the proportion!

    here is one link to the story

    http://www.examiner.com/article/canadian-father-arrested-strip-searched-after-child-draws-p icture-of-toy-gun

     

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:00am

      Re: It's everywhere

      I think it was back in 1999 here in Colorado, but the Denver Police Department got embroiled in a huge scandal over a no-knock raid gone bad.

      Not only was the warrant for the no-knock raid obtained with false info, the police raided the wrong house.

       

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        Gregg, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re: It's everywhere

        There are examples all over the place. A few years ago (I'm going from memory here) a home in Gatineau Quebec, was raided (no knock policy) and the owner of the home was startled and shot a cop coming through the door. The cop died and the individual (through 3 layers of courts) was finally released and charges dropped for murder (murder 1 when killing a police officer). Needless to say, the raid was done poorly and a life was lost. I'm not sure of the details, but this is an example where the police took a loss on a poorly ran raid.

        Raids put lives in danger, polices lives too. They can not be done without due process and proper checking or lives and property are put at risk for unnecessary reasons.

        Police don't need to really change how they do work, just stop being lazy on the investigation before rushing to perform a raid on a house.

        Wa co Texas rings a bell. That is an example where a raid went bad! and more force would not have helped in that case. Maybe a polite knock on the door and "may we speak to .." could have ended that situation without a loss of life?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    Raids need to stop

    You know, if police keep "raiding" houses like this, some innocent person is going to end up getting shot, possibly killed. How many have been maimed, killed, or had their lives ruined already, and how many are yet to come. How many more "raids" do we need to realize the error of our ways.

     

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    Altaree, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Look at it from the Gov't Employee's point of view.

    We either send someone around or, if the mortar is actually real and someone gets hurt, we get fired and lose our pension because this was a known threats. What choice would you make?

    This is the fault of the "scape goat" culture that pervades the government.

     

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      nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:14am

      Re: Look at it from the Gov't Employee's point of view.

      Look at it from the Gov't Employee's point of view.
      We either send someone around or, if the mortar is actually real


      Let's stop right there and think about this. Look at the picture again. There is no way, whatsoever, that this could be a picture of an actual mortar. There is no reasonable explanation for what happened, unless it's "The Daily Mail made it up".

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 2:55pm

      Re: Look at it from the Gov't Employee's point of view.

      Sorry but that is utter nonsense and has nothing to do with scape goat culture and everything to do with dumb arsehole police.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 7:52am

    For real! I just thought he was using 3 foot redwood border.

     

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    Titania Bonham-Smythe, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Big and Near, Big and Far Away, Small and Near, Small and Far Away

    British police training clearly needs to include this:

    Big and Near can not be confused with Big and Far Away

    But

    Small and Near can be confused with Big and Far Away

    The mnemonic for this is BANCNBCWBAFABSANCBCWBAFA. Easy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    'to make common-sense judgments common again.'

    no chance in hell of that! now that governments and law enforcement have begun to turn countries into Police States, do you really think they are going to stop, just because they dont know (or dont want to know) the difference between real and toy anything? get outta here!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Dude, you first problem is that you're giving the Daily Fail traffic.

    The second problem is the you're giving the Daily Fail traffic.

    Seriously, the only 'news source' more biased is Fox.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    "They do not normally carry guns. Only when they think the person has a weapon."

    So... these cops are so pitifully trained that they mistook a toy mortar for the real thing?

    Does this make anyone more confident in their abilities? lol

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    I'm sure the official police report would read something like "On (such and such a date) Law enforcement officials were alerted to a possible terrorist weapons cache. An armed team was sent out to investigate and contain the terrorist threat. The incident was resolved without any casualties. This is another great victory for our fine country and highly trained police force. We must remain vigilant in our fight against terrorism."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Morons in a hurry & all that!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Cry me a river. Toys have been misused as weapons forever, whatever the weapon type.

    If you thought the UK cops didn't carry automatic weapons, you need to go out more and stop watching CNN and FOX and Hollywood. Read a little and learn.

    "Then two weeks later, he used the mortar to bomb a school" and cops were heavily criticized for not going anything. See where this is going?

    Nothing about this was over the top and I would not expect anything less from any logical law enforcement. I guess in the states you're so used to illogical enforcement.... yeah.

     

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      Ruben, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      Part of the police's job is investigation. Last I checked, that doesn't require breaking out the M-16's.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      Well, in the US we're used to over-the-top SWAT raids based on the flimsiest of reasons, often involving the wrong house altogether, often resulting in the police killing innocent people. So perhaps we're just a bit overly sensitive about them knocking on people's doors based on flimsy evidence.

       

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      dennis deems (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      If this is satire it's bloody brilliant.

       

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      nasch (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      Nothing about this was over the top and I would not expect anything less from any logical law enforcement.

      So you're trolling, right?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      Sorry, Glyn is british.

       

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      Togashi (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      Even if that were a fully functional mortar, it's about the size of his TV remote, maybe just a touch bigger. What's it gonna shoot, small firecrackers?

       

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      Coogan (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      Nothing about this was over the top and I would not expect anything less from any logical law enforcement

      Let's make a little addition and see if your answer changes, shall we?

      Nothing about this was over the top and I would not expect anything less from any logical law enforcementeven if it was my house.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        I wouldn't own fake mortar or any fake weapons for that matter, especially not put them up on facebook. Yeah I wouldn't care if it was my house. I simply wouldn't give them any good reason to bust down the door.

        What are they supposed to do? Knock and hope you're just a nice person with toys as opposed to a nutcase that'll blast your way through cops? Nice try but no cigar.

         

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          nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wouldn't own fake mortar or any fake weapons for that matter, especially not put them up on facebook.

          Better to be safe than free, right?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh you're not free if you don't own weapons? Thanks for the insight. Typical United-Statesians mentality. Be armed or but but but FREEDOM!!

            Better be free and safe than dumb and get swat teams bursting in.

             

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              nasch (profile), Feb 21st, 2013 @ 1:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh you're not free if you don't own weapons?

              You're not free if you don't own toys because you're afraid of what your government will do to you if do.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 9:39am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It's not about owning toys, it's about posting replicas online that people could mistake for real ones. Way to twist things to rationalize. Bravo sir.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Feb 22nd, 2013 @ 11:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I wouldn't own fake mortar or any fake weapons for that matter

                  If you are deciding not to own *perfectly legal items* out of fear for what your government might do to you, there is a problem. I hope you can see that.

                   

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    Wally (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    My father's first telescope had a jery-rigged mortar stand. Judging by that picture, that tripod is specifically made for a telescope :-) Glyn Moody, is there any word out across the pond on whether on not Ian Driscoll was an armature astronomer?

     

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      DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      If he happens to be an amateur astronomer and has a "tube shaped" telescope, he should expect to get another "armed visit" by the police from someone reporting that he now has a tripod mounted rocket launcher.

       

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        Wally (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re:

        If it helps, the mirror housing on my dad's telescope has a 21 in diameter. I dubbed it the "French Cannon" because of how it mounts...of course it's more like a swiveling mortar akin to the type used in the US Civil War at its stand.

         

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          DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Then something close to this?

          I hope it is not painted olive drab, black, silver, white or any other threatening color, otherwise he might get a unwanted visit from the local constabulary.

          Perhaps he could get away with just painting around the front tip area "safety orange", so the cops will think it is only a toy telescope.

          Make sure to tell him not to point it toward planets, stars, nebula, galaxies or any other celestial phenomena, unless he plans to shoot them... with a camera, of course.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Small mortars...?

    Regardless of the model figure - given that base-boards (we call them skirting-boards) in older houses in England are often 8"-10" high, plus the relative height of what appears to be a window-ledge, I don't think it was at all unreasonable for the police to have surmised that it might have been a real mortar, such as one of the smaller 2" mortars - in which case their actions waere entirely justified and appropriate.

    Seems to me their actions were also pretty bloody mild compared with what we've come to expect from the US, Canada, or even New Zealand these days!

     

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      DogBreath, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:52am

      Re: Small mortars...?

      Regardless of the model figure - given that base-boards (we call them skirting-boards) in older houses in England are often 8"-10" high, plus the relative height of what appears to be a window-ledge,

      If that were the case, then they conveniently ignored the "would have to be gigantic remote" and even worse the Playstation 2 Slim to the right standing up on its side with known dimensions (230mm wide = 9 inches wide) right next to the skirting-board that would have immediately let them know the approximate height of said skirting-board, and use this to figure out how high the pictured mortar was in realty without having to set one foot inside this mans house.

      It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out, but in this day and age it's much easier to get a warrant and have law enforcement look like fools, than to do the simple math.

       

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    Jake, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    You know, on this occasion I can kind of see where the police are coming from. It's not so many years ago that there were people in this country chucking real mortar rounds at police stations, army barracks and on one occasion the Prime Minister's office.

     

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Overreacting? Are you kidding? Those Lilliputian mortars sting like HELL.

     

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    jdea (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 3:54pm

    "It's time to scale the rhetoric back, and to make common-sense judgments common again."

    The problem with common sense is that sense isn't very common.

     

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    4THOT, Feb 20th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    This is a good thing

    Frankly, if there was a presumed mortar in my city I'd LOVE police to overreact to that! Everyone condescends police for not "doing their job" when a tragedy happens, but when they DO their job in this case they are told by the internet "oh god what idiots, man I could have told anyone that wasn't real!" but here's the thing, it's their call to make and in my opinion they made the right one. Yes, it COULD have been fake, yes, they COULD have taken a bit more time to investigate the photo. However, it COULD have been real, and lives COULD have been in grave danger and from the point that they receive that information forward it was their responsibility to protect their people from potential threats of this nature.


    Stop condemning police who do their job, this is EXACTLY what they should be doing, they didn't shoot anyone but they IMMEDIATELY resolved the situation.

     

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    dudhit (profile), Feb 20th, 2013 @ 9:32pm

    This only shows the scaremongering propaganda that is being used to perpetuate the fear, and implanting itself in my subconscious.

    Every time I catch the train and see the sign telling me to call the police if I see an unattended bag, which I never see. unattended rubbish on the other hand...


    When I see unattended rubbish on the train, or at the train station I really am tempted to call the bomb squad, cause;
    i) without touching the seemingly placed object, how can i assume it's just rubbish, and it COULD be an explosive
    (there was a news piece on a tabloid show a year ago about kids selling a chemical mix that fits in a drinking can and gets serious flamage when it goes off)
    ii) if there wasn't all this garbage lying around, then a bomb would be suspicious. so now we're pretty numb to any real threats
    iii) gotta get the these people to work for their money and I'm sure they're not getting enough calls. thus perpetuating the taxes put aside to justify the department.

     

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