This seems like a good day for some news on the lighter side. I assume that by now you’ve heard of the mannequin challenge? It’s that pointless trend on social media where you film a group of people standing still for a while and then everyone begins moving again. Heck, even Hillary Clinton got in on the act back when she still planned on being president. But did you know it could get you arrested? Turns out it can. Take a gander at this group of light hearted individuals performing the feat in Alabama and see if you can guess where they might have gone astray.
If you watched the video I’m willing to bet you’ve already guessed. All of the young men pointing what are apparently real firearms at each other, the camera operator and anyone else withing sight, drew many thousands of views on social media for the performance. But as the Washington Post reported today, some of the viewers worked for the local police. They were, to put it mildly, not amused.
From one angle, it appeared to be a Madame Tussauds wax museum exhibit — a re-eneacted modern-day gunfight in rural Alabama involving at least 19 guns and 22 young men, frozen in time, scored by the pulsating beat of pounding rap music.
It was a version, albeit an edgy and ultimately inadvisable one, of the mannequin challenge — that Internet craze of filming a scene of stark-still people, generally with the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing over it. It has become so popular that everyone from Taylor Swift to NFL players to Alabama inmates have recorded a version.
Those inmates might be able to film a version with a larger cast now, as two of the men in the firearm-studded mannequin challenge have, perhaps unsurprisingly, been arrested; one of them for — you guessed it — possessing guns.
The police were able to identify the home and at least one person in the video with no problem. They obtained a warrant and showed up at the house, broke down the door and scored a major haul including handguns, long rifles, a tactical vest, ammunition, drugs and drug paraphernalia. Two men are under arrest and others are currently being sought.
Yes, I’ll confess that I laughed when I read the story, but in the interest of fairness I was left with a question. The cops wound up finding firearms in the possession of a felon as well as the drugs, so there was clearly someone in need of arrest. But on what basis did they manage to get the warrant? If they had been working on a case involving that address and those people it’s easy enough to understand, but that’s not mentioned in the report. If all they had to go on was the video, all we really see is some very stupid people with no idea how to properly handle a firearm safely standing around on private property. You can’t simply assume that they didn’t own the weapons legally and begin busting in the door for no other reason. True, pointing the handguns at each other and the person operating the camera is horribly dangerous handling of a firearm, but is that enough to get a warrant?
If it’s not I’m sure we’ll find out about it when they go to trial. (Assuming they have a lawyer who stayed awake for at least ten minutes in law school.) But still, whether it was a legal bust or not it was worth a chuckle on Hump Day.