Obama misses a chance to be heard from
It seems that some mental giant in L.A., an "online gamer," thought it would be a great prank to have the SWAT team called out in Wichita, Kan. to surround the home of an acquaintance he knew only through online gaming and with whom he had some kind of online beef. So, from the comfort of his home some 1,400 miles away, he made the call. And the Wichita cops rolled out their "major incident force," cordoned off the neighborhood, and prepared for an armed standoff.
The victim of the prank, at home and minding his own business, became aware that anything was wrong only when he saw lights flashing outside his house. Having no idea that he was the object of all the commotion, he opened his front door and was ordered by the cops to raise his hands, turn around, and back out. Apparently, he didn't comply to the cops' satisfaction, and one of them, alleging that he made a furtive movement, shot and killed him.
Only then did the cops determine that the phone call to 911, in which the aforementioned mastermind in L.A. identified himself as the Wichita man and claimed to have already shot one person, to be holding hostages, and to be ready to set the house on fire, was absolutely and entirely bogus.
And apparently, none of the marvelous technology that enables calls to be identified and traced was employed in this case. If some other cretin had tried to send a pizza to someone's house as a prank, the order-taker at Pizza Hut would probably have a way to verify the call and the order before sending a large pepperoni with extra cheese and no anchovies out to the wrong house. But not the Wichita cops.
The genius in L.A. (who apparently tweeted and posted on YouTube about his cleverness) has been arrested, but of course, that doesn't help the poor victim in Wichita, who is still dead. We've yet to see how all this is going to shake out and where the responsibility for an innocent man's death, on his own front doorstep, at the hands of the police, will fall.
In the midst of this still developing story, it's hard – for me, at least – to not notice the silence from former president Barack H. Obama on this matter. Because if ever there were a time for somebody to loudly proclaim that "the police acted stupidly," this would be that time.