What I would consider a busybody Toronto neighbor saw an executive standing by a window holding what appeared to be a pistol, and phoned the local police who responded with a Swat team raid. The frightening weapon proved to be 277 lego blocks assembled into roughly the outline of a Glock 17.
(Jeremy Bell a) partner at digital marketing company Teehan+Lax was surrounded by heavily armed tactical officers, cuffed and held against the wall of his Richmond St. W. office — until, that is, the cops found the gun he had been holding in front of the window about 90 minutes earlier was a pile of blocks.
The BrickGun Semi-Automatic gun (purchased online from BrickGun, “designers and builders of the world’s most realistic custom Lego weapon models”) arrived at Bell’s office Wednesday.
The lifetime Lego fan finished assembling his toy — complete with build-it-yourself magazine — at 5:40 p.m.
It was in one piece for about 10 minutes before it fell apart, he recalled yesterday.
But the tenant in an apartment about six metres across the way didn’t see that last part. And so the tenant called the cops.
At about 7 p.m., as Bell and some colleagues played a video game, the Emergency Task Force moved in.
“They were screaming in the hallway for me to come out,” Bell said. “When I went out there and I saw there was an officer kind of crouched down in the stairwell, it was clear what was going on.”
Despite the very real guns pointed at him, Bell said he didn’t fret.
“I’m not trafficking guns or selling drugs or anything like that, so as soon as I saw that these cops were legit, I was like, all right, this has got to be about this stupid gun.”
Pressed up against the wall, his hands thrown in cuffs, Bell directed the cops to the pieces of fake gun sitting in a box by the window. Moments later, he was free.
“At least you have a story to tell now,” he quoted one cop as saying.
I think this case is a classic example illustrating the exaggerated fear of weapons characteristic of today’s deracinated urban masses. Put a badge on someone and sprinkle the authority of the state upon his head and he suddenly magically is supposed to acquire powers of judgment and responsibility beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. It seems to me that Jeremy Bell came fairly close to proving, along with Amadou Diallo, just how foolish that theory is.