Which is to say that, whether or not the allegedly well-intentioned reformers of Moms Demand Action and GunFreeZone.net are aware of it, they are flirting with disaster. On the surface, Ann Marie’s grubby little hope that police will eventually “have a run in with one of these clowns” may appear to be less threatening than was Ronald Ritchie’s fatal mendacity. But, if Marie were successful, the end result would likely be the same. There is no kind way of putting this, I’m afraid: Ultimately, what we are seeing on the fringes of the gun-control movement is the suggestion that American citizens be “SWATted” for their choices — that, in the name of a political disagreement, one party calls the cops on another and, under false pretenses, puts them in harm’s way. Is this reconcilable with “common sense” change?
“You’re putting the police in a situation where to the best of their knowledge the call is coming from inside the house,” Owens explains. “In the worst case, the perpetrator will say, ‘I’ve killed my wife and kids; come get me if you can.’” In other instances, he will exaggerate or twist the truth to lure authorities into a situation that is not at all as it has been described. In all cases, however, the intention is the same: To harm or to scare the target. Real-world examples abound. Sometimes, as in the cases of conservative activists Erick Erickson and Aaron Worthing, attacks have been contrived by those seeking political or legal revenge. At other times, they have been ordered purely as entertainment. (Earlier this year, a video-gamer who was streaming himself playing Counter Strike was SWATted by a jealous opponent. The incident, which was filmed, makes rough viewing: One moment, the player is enjoying his game; the next, he is being thrown to the ground by armed officers, their guns drawn.)