There’s a story out of Canada about a guy who was arrested and told by officers that he was being charged with possession of a firearm. Normally, you would expect this to happen after they found someone in possession of a firearm.
He was given an attorney who was informed of the charges and even had a date set with a judge for a bail hearing for this charge. At no point did he ever possess a firearm, but they kept him locked up and moved forward with the charges.
With his wife hauled down to the station and his children taken in for questioning by the relevant agency for possible endangerment issues, he signed a document that allowed police to search his home. They did and there was still no firearm found in his possession. Finally, they let him go free.
The evidence seems to come from a he said/she said scenario because his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a firearm and said the guy holding it was her daddy who would fight off bad guys and monsters. Yes, a child who thinks monsters are real was used as evidence for the arrest instead of, you know, actual possession of a firearm.
Sebastian and I were talking about this, and it’s not actually that easy to pinpoint where things broke down beyond what seems to be an irrational fear of firearms and the mandate to report everything to authorities before anyone stops to ask logical questions.
Blame the police? They definitely take the blame for actually arresting the guy without question, but I don’t know the standards of arresting people in Canada.
Blame the social services workers who called police? They have to report it to them if they think a crime may have happened. What if they were told the little girl was drawing graphic scenes of her father killing “bad guys” that came along with a story of how he does this around her? If they didn’t see the drawing yet or actually overhear the interaction with the teacher, then that can sound pretty damn bad and very criminal in nature.
Blame the principal who called the social services workers who were then required to call police? What if she was told something similar to what I outline for the social services worker? Or, maybe it is her fault for misrepresenting what the teacher told her?
Ultimately, I do think that someone should have stopped the process and really inquired just what the hell actually happened in regards to the drawing and how the teacher asked questions about it. However, depending on how stories are passed along, concerns about a potential crime could continue to be blown way out of proportion. Ever played a game of telephone? Yeah, same thing, only with real lives on the line.
But, when we have a bunch of bureaucrats who believe they are there to do good no matter what impact it might have on innocent people and who fear not following an exact protocol that makes no accommodation for stopping to ask questions, then things like this will happen more often regardless of the country. At some point, we have to demand accountability from those who allow these things to get out of hand. Unfortunately, that’s not something that’s easy to do, especially with many protections in place for staff in these various jobs.