Someone in Springfield, Ohio called 911 on a musician after being so unable to tell whether the bassoon he was playing was a gun or not. I kid you negative!
Twenty-two-year-old Eric Barga had given three music lessons at Kenton Ridge High School on April 5, 2018 and then drove to Covenant Presbyterian Church for practices of the bell choir.
Barga had arrived at the church about half an hour early. Since the weather was nice outside, he decided to enjoy it a bit in the parking lot while playing his custom-made Fox 610 red maple bassoon.
Apparently, the ignorance of someone in Springfield is so great that they not only couldn’t distinguish a bassoon from a gun but couldn’t hear the music he was playing either.
“There was a nice orange sky in the background,” he recalled. “It was one of the first nice days.”
The Springfield News-Sun reports what happened next:
About seven minutes later, Springfield police received a 911 call reporting that a white male in a jacket and jeans was sitting on the back of his car in the church lot with what looked not like an oboe, the instrument Barga says it’s most often confused with, but a long rifle. Listed under “additional information” on the dispatch form is what, in retrospect, must be considered a grace note: “Unknown of it was for sure.”
In an unofficial review of the incident at the request of the Springfield News-Sun, Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said the difference in how police calls turn out in this era of heightened awareness of the danger of firearms begins with the dispatchers.
“They’re filtering everything through their experience,” he said.
Among the filters is the emotional state of the caller.
“In this case, you have a citizen saying, ‘Hey, it doesn’t look right to me,’” along with a stated uncertainty about whether the object was a rifle, he said.
With this information, “The officers know it’s possible” that there is a threat, he said, “but it could be something innocent.” Another piece of information on the dispatch records communicates a lower level of threat, he said. Instead of being classified as a call involving a weapon, the call was dispatched as a “possible suspicious activity.”
Barga said he saw the police van roll up, but he wasn’t bothered because he wasn’t doing anything wrong and they didn’t seem intent on getting out at first.
“I wasn’t concerned that I was doing anything wrong,” he said.
He failed to notice a second police vehicle arrive behind the van.
The officers began to approach him and they were coming towards him in what Graf described as tactical fashion.
All of the officers were wearing bulletproof vests, which to be honest I would do too. However, Barga seemed to acknowledge their confrontation, copped a smile and asked, “Did somebody call the cops on me?”
“I didn’t really feel threatened,” he said, adding, “I don’t get nervous. Years of music school (performance) beats that out of you.”
He said it never crossed his mind that someone might have mistaken his bassoon for a rifle.
“In the right kind of light, it looks like a bazooka,” he said, “but I don’t think it was the right kind of light.”
In any case, the officers began to laugh a little at what was taking place after they responded to the call.
One of them even asked, “Is that a bassoon or an oboe?”
Graf said the officers still wanted to follow through on the call even though they were keenly aware that there was no threat.
He said the officers try to see the scene through the lens of the citizens’ eyes and ask citizens to do the same for officers.
However, this brings up a very important issue, and that is how our culture is being manipulated by politicians who can’t distinguish an alleged “assault rifle” from a semi-automatic rifle. They really don’t have a clue as to what the Founders had in mind when they penned the Second Amendment, and so they garble all that up and present it to a dumbed down population in hopes that it will be received.
For many, it is well received. For those who educate themselves on these issues, their efforts are rejected.
While this ended well for Barga and the officers, there are many times where no gun is present and a nervous officer ends up killing a perfectly innocent person based on a lie.
I’m glad this worked out well for both and quite possibly it might be a fun story for Barga to tell his kids one day.
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