‘Red flag laws’ just legitimize ‘swatting’

Perhaps you've heard of the "prank" known as "swatting." Perhaps you're even aware of the "swatting" incident that turned deadly. It took place in Wichita, KS back in December of 2017.

In a nutshell, a "prankster" in California made a call to the 9-1-1 operator in Wichita, claiming he was being held hostage at a Wichita home, and that a murder had already occurred there. The caller thought the address he gave was that of an online gamer with whom he was involved in a feud, but that person had tricked him into giving police the address of Andrew Finch, who was not involved in the feud and was at home minding his own business.

Long story short, the Wichita SWAT team responded, and when Andrew Finch stepped out his front door to see what all the commotion was about, the officers, thinking he was the murderer and hostage-taker and that he was reaching for a weapon, shot him dead.

Bodycam video of Wichita Police confronting Andrew Finch

YouTube screen grab

Everyone, all around the country and across the political spectrum, was outraged at this incident, and rightly so. The perpetrator of the hoax received a lengthy prison sentence, and Kansas passed a new law, the Andrew Finch Act, which increased penalties for such irresponsible hoaxes.

Why do I mention this? Because, even though it was easy enough for anyone to see how very wrong it was for someone to be able to make a call, even from halfway across the continent, that would result in a perfectly innocent person unexpectedly finding himself the target of a SWAT team at his front door, the "red flag laws" now being proposed to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable persons will actually legitimize and institutionalize "swatting." Such laws will enable anyone, anywhere, essentially to call down a police raid on another person, no matter how spurious the "evidence" of mental instability, for the purpose of seizing the "unstable" person's firearms.

Besides permitting and facilitating patent violations of the Second and Fourth Amendments, such "red flag laws" provide an avenue for vindictive persons (from jilted lovers to anyone with a real or imagined "beef") to use local police as surrogates for their own anger and resentment, with the potential for the confrontations to turn as deadly as that one in Wichita.

And yet, those on one end of the political spectrum, as exercised as they were over "swatting", haven't uttered a peep in disapproval of "red flag laws." They either fail to grasp the similarities, or they are unduly influenced by their own agenda, which ever more brazenly and shamelessly seeks to undermine our Constitution and Bill of Rights at every opportunity, with particular animus toward American ctizens' God-given right to keep and bear arms (arms of all types, but particularly those that can be deployed, not for hunting, but to resist tyranny, as was our Founders’ intent).

And even many on the other end of the political spectrum, who purport to cherish the Constitution and Bill of Rights, are advocating in favor of those same "red flag laws," wrong-headedly believing such laws will make our nation safer, and that  those whose intent is for Americans to be disarmed will be appeased. But appeasement never ends well.

Let's remember, also, that in the former Soviet Union, to criticize or even to so much as disagree with the government was, in and of itself, proof that a person was "mentally disturbed."

Author's Note: Stu Tarlowe is a septuagenarian whose education is a product of the NYC Public Schools.  He claims to have as much reverence for the Bill of Rights as for the Ten Commandments.  He has contributed over 150 pieces to American Thinker.  His personal pantheon of heroes and role models includes Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, Long John Nebel, Bob Grant, Aristide Bruant, Col. Jeff Cooper, Rabbi Meir Kahane, G. Gordon Liddy, Hunter S. Thompson, Emmett Grogan, Theo Kojak, Paladin, and Rin Tin Tin.