CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Police: Why we reacted to Facebook pic of boy with rifle

Authorities in New Jersey say a heightened sensitivity to guns necessitated they go with child protection workers to the home of a man who posted a Facebook photo of his gun-toting 11-year-old.

The Facebook photo that started it all. Shawn Moore/Facebook

We tend to react with feelings first and thoughts a little later.

Many in the last 24 hours have reacted with feeling (and the occasional thoughtfulness) to the visit paid by police to the New Jersey home of Shawn Moore.

Should you have been hospitalized after accidentally impaling yourself on a deer antler at your local gun club recently, here's the back story: Moore posted a picture to Facebook of his 11-year-old son, Josh, clutching (very properly) a .22-caliber rifle that looked like a little more than a .22-caliber rifle.

It was his birthday present.

As is ever more often the case these days, someone saw it, was perturbed by it and contacted the police.

Moore, in an appearance on Fox News, explained that he stood his ground, even though the police allegedly wanted to go into his safe to check all his guns.

The police and the Mayor of Carneys Point, N.J., have now issued a joint statement (PDF) in which they said: "In light of some of the recent school shootings across our nation, the Carneys Point Police Department takes these types of calls seriously."

The police explained that it was their job to visit the house to accompany members of child protection services.

The tip they had received reportedly said that a boy might have had access to guns and ammunition, according to the Associated Press.

It does seem odd, however, that the police allegedly demanded entry into Moore's house without a warrant. This seems especially odd, given that Moore claims that several of the officers actually knew him from his local gun club.

Did they think that because they knew him, he would be more malleable?

The Carneys Point authorities, meanwhile say they behaved correctly -- "At no time did the police attempt to unlawfully search this residence" -- and dressed in appropriate evening attire: "The police officers were not dressed in SWAT gear, they were dressed in their Class B uniforms with their body armor in a outer cover as they do every evening."

And the authorities confirmed that Shawn Moore would face no charges, according to the AP.

However, one thing for him to ponder might be who among his alleged Facebook friends might have made the initial call to police.

There is little point in trusting people. Even if you're the one with the gun.