In this day and age, should anyone be surprised that there's armed law enforcement at major sporting events?
Apparently, some people are. Several photos recently surfaced of a sniper's nest high above the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis before Super Bowl XLVI, showing a custom Remington M700 perched on an Alamo Four Star DCLW tripod.
According to Business Insider, the gun was unloaded, and according to U.S. Tactical Supply Inc.'s Facebook page, where the photos originated, it remained unloaded for the duration of the game; only binoculars were used for surveillance during the game, and the rifle was only there to display the tripod's locking system for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
It didn't take long for the debate to begin. Immediately, anti-gunners and tinfoil hat enthusiasts were all over the supposed ethical dilemma of an officer with a high-powered rifle -- which they assumed was loaded -- and pointing it at an unarmed crowd -- another assumed fact, considering the pictures were taken before the stadium had opened. Some were even brazen enough to guess the caliber, which proved to be pretty amusing -- some hilariously guessed .50-cal, but Eric Poole, editor-in-chief of InterMedia Outdoors' SIP division more accurately placed it as a .308 with an XLR Industries Evolution rifle chassis.
But these are facts the anti-gun crowd chooses to ignore, along with the possibility of a terrorist attack -- and sadly, we all know how that kind of ignorance works out. Over at the sports blog Deadspin, writer Barry Petchesky took a more sensible approach:
It's standard operating procedure to have an invisible law enforcement presence at any high-profile event, let alone one with the attendance and attention the Super Bowl receives. And remember, there are all kinds of politicians and other assorted rich people around. You never know what could happen, though the imagination conjures up increasingly insane and horrifying scenarios ... It's just never a bad idea to have a sniper rifle around.
We couldn't agree more. To some, particularly the anti-gun crowd, this may appear as absolute insanity and an infringement on the rights of unarmed citizens. However, we have a feeling that crowd would be singing a different tune if America's biggest game became a scene of carnage. That's a risk we absolutely cannot take.