Anti-weapon hysteria — for instance, suspending children from school for using their fingers as guns, talking about shooting a bubble gun, or even throwing an imaginary grenade — is not confined to the United States, nor is it confined to children. A British man was recently visited by armed police for the offense of posting a picture of an action figure with a weapon on Facebook.
According to the Daily Mail, on December 7, 43-year-old Ian Driscoll of Gloucestershire posted a photograph of an Action Man figure, the British equivalent of G.I. Joe, along with a toy Alsatian dog, on Facebook.
“The Action Man looked a bit like me so I decided to put it as my Facebook picture,” Driscoll told the paper. He added the dog, he explained, because he also owns an Alsatian.
Unnoticed by Driscoll, in the background of the picture was one of Action Man’s weapons: a mortar. Real-life mortars, the Mail notes, “are portable, short-range weapons used to fire shells or bombs at a steep angle to drop them on to enemy lines.”
The mortar did not, however, escape the notice of those viewing his Facebook page, one of whom apparently reported him to the police for his possession of this “deadly” weapon. On January 28, five officers, two carrying submachine guns, arrived at Driscoll’s home in unmarked cars.
“I was stunned,” Driscoll told the Mail. “It was just mad.”
“They flashed the search warrant in my face and said it was lucky I was in so they didn’t have to break my door down.”
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Image: cropped screen grab of Ian Driscoll's Facebook photo showing Action Man and toy mortar