Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) wrote,
Joseph Abbott
faxpaladin

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Not quite sure how I feel about this story

http://randb.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/04/12/443c71ed40b94

The link is to an unofficial University of Georgia student newspaper's website. In a nutshell, a student jogging back to his dorm from a Wesleyan Foundation "pirates vs. ninja" costume event (he was dressed as a ninja) was chased down and pinned to the ground by ATF agents on campus for training. The ATF says they called for the student to halt, he fled, and they gave chase; the student says he was simply jogging, heard the command to halt and thought it was a joke -- until the badges and, more to the point, the guns came out. Then he stopped. (The agents, it should be noted, appear from the cell-phone picture accompanying the story to have been in plainclothes, making his story that he didn't immediately realize they were cops more plausible.) The student was released once university police arrived and established that he was what he claimed and not a threat; no charges were filed.

This strikes me as a classic wrong-place-wrong-time story; under normal circumstances, the paths of the student and the ATF agents would never have been expected to cross. It's not as though he's traveling across town, just across campus. If it had been me, I would have taken the bandannas he was using for a face mask off, but I can see how he would think he didn't need to, how he would believe the most likely reaction to his costume would be the intended reaction, laughter. I can also easily see how the ATF agents would perceive him as a threat and act accordingly. This actually is one of those it-was-all-a-misunderstanding situations.

But you read the response messages at least half are either fascist-ATF-agents-stomping-all-over-our-rights-with-their-jackboots or the-kid-was-an-absolute-moron-and-deserved-worse-than-he-got (one poster among the latter actually said the student was lucky he didn't get shipped off to Guantanamo Bay). And I worry a bit, as a fan who has occasionally indulged in costume -- these days, it seems, freaking the mundanes has much more potential to be lethal...
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