Of all the recent developments in American life arising from state lockdown orders, perhaps none is so sinister as public officials encouraging people to inform on their neighbors and community members for perceived violations of supposed safety protocols. This trend is made all the worse by the fact that people are getting an unprecedented glimpse into each others’ homes through pervasive online video conferences now being used to facilitate activities like work, school, and religious worship. For one family in Pennsylvania, the “discomfort” a schoolmate’s parent felt about seeing a toy gun in a Zoom call even resulted in police showing up at their home.
A segment on the May 15 edition of the Todd Starnes Radio Show included an interview with Sheila Perez Smith, the mother of a 7–year—old first grader. Perez Smith recounted how the child had received a plastic toy gun as a gift, which quickly became the boy’s “favorite new thing.”
During a school-related Zoom call with his classmates and teacher at the Cumberland Valley School District, she said, the boy was seated with the toy next to him. He was not, however, interacting with it in any way.
After the call concluded, the family received an email from the child’s teacher “basically saying that another parent of another classmate had been very uncomfortable by the fact that the gun had been in view of the Zoom call.”
But that was not the end of the incident.
Within a couple of hours, Perez Smith said, an officer from the Hampden Township Police Department came to their home and asked the family to step outside so he could question them about a complaint involving a child and a gun.
ht/ jd hasty