If you see something, say something. Even these.

Here in New York (and in other parts of the country), there’s a major ad campaign that says, “If you see something, say something.” It’s an anti-terrorism campaign, and it works. Whether you are dealing with terrorists — international or domestic — or just random crazies, being vigilant is necessary in our violent world.

Which is too bad, because back in the day “mind your own business” used to be a fine rule. “If you see something, stop being so goddamn nosy,” is the age-old reason people move out of small towns and into big cities. Who wants to live around a bunch of busybodies? With all due respect to Kitty Genovese, my pre-9/11 inclination was “Snitches get Stitches.”

But we can’t live like that anymore. So I guess we need to applaud the law student who thought he saw a gun and contacted the proper authorities. The fact that he was wrong, completely wrong, and mistook an office supply for a firearm is, I guess, incidental to his nosy, busybody, good intention…

There was a bit of a scare at on-campus housing at William and Mary School of Law. A student called in a report that there was a gun in campus housing, which is not allowed. Even toy guns are not allowed. The report led to this agitated community alert from W&M staff:

Dear W&M community:

I am writing to inform you about a reported incident last night involving a gun replica. While there was not an immediate threat to the campus community, we wanted make you aware of the incident and provide you accurate information so that false rumors do not spread.

About 11:30 p.m., a student near the Grad Complex reported hearing a series of “popping noises” similar to the sound of a cap pistol. The student also witnessed someone in the parking lot near the Green Line bus stop brandishing what appeared to be a gun. The person pointed the “gun” at the witness and then left the area. William & Mary Police responded and officers searched the surrounding area. After investigating the scene, they are confident the person was holding a gun replica and not a real firearm. There was no evidence that a gun had been fired and the witness told police he/she was also certain the person was not shooting a real gun.

We appreciate the student’s contacting us about this incident. Brandishing a firearm – toy or real – is against the law. Replica guns are also included in our campus’ policy regarding Weapons on Campus.

The William & Mary Police would like to talk with the person involved in this incident. The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, muscular build, tall and bald. He was wearing a grey shirt and khaki pants. He left the area in a grey or silver Mini Cooper with Virginia license tags. If you have information on this incident please contact William & Mary Police at [Redacted].

Thank you.

I mean, I’m as anti-gun as it gets, and even I think anti-gun replica laws are a bit ridiculous. Calling the cops on somebody for brandishing a toy gun seems is one of those things that places a bright-line rule where common sense should reside.

And that’s assuming that the tipster was actually right that it was a toy gun. In reality, the muscular bald dude wasn’t brandishing a gun, or a fake gun. The dude had a stapler.

NOT A STAPLE GUN… just a regular freaking black stapler. From a tipster:

[A]n initial report that a “gun replica” was “brandish[ed]” in our graduate housing complex (GradPlex to students) parking lot turned out to be someone using a stapler. No, not a staple gun. Just a stapler. The GradPlex is right next to the law school and housed mainly by new 1Ls. One of them must be from Berkeley, the only place liberal enough to want to squash the 2nd Amendment, but sheltered enough to be unable to distinguish a stapler from a 9mm replica.

Hey, don’t blame this on liberals. I can tell a gun from a stapler just like I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin.

Anyway, check out the somewhat sheepish update from William and Mary. They still praise the stapler reporting student. Again, that’s the world we’re living in. Better for there to be ten stapler reports than one unreported deadly weapon.


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