If the reports we've heard are accurate, I can't say I blame Ransom for considering this option. Upon further reflection, though, I believe I know why the various players in this little drama reacted as they did.
Meanwhile, where was the A.T.F. when Sheriff Buford T. Justice was trying to apprehend that beer-trucking scofflaw, the Bandit?
University officials responded with outrage not because they don't want bullying government functionaries pushing people around on campus, but because Michael Adams and his minions believe they, not the A.T.F., should be the bullying government functionaries in question.
Just imagine what would have happened to this poor kid if he had gone to a tailgate dressed as a ninja or had parked his pirate ship on campus before 7:00 a.m. Heck, Doug Gillett was followed around by a campus police officer at Bloggerpalooza and all he did was wear flip-flops with a sweater vest.
As for the federal agents, this sort of behavior was right up their alley. Indeed, it was part of their job description.
Can't we all just get along?
Think about it. The D.E.A. enforces laws criminalizing narcotics and other dangerous drugs. The F.B.I. investigates violations of the federal criminal law. The C.I.A. gathers intelligence about threats to our national security. The I.N.S. tries to prevent illegal immigration.
While we may argue about how well or poorly these agencies do their jobs, at least their mission statements articulate legitimate law enforcement objectives.
The guys who "detained" Jeremiah Ransom, though, work for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
They're law enforcement officers whose mission concerns three things that are legal. For crying out loud, one of the things they're out to prosecute people for is the exercise of a specifically enumerated Constitutional right.
When your job description involves trying to stamp out lawful behavior, pointing a gun at a guy who did nothing wrong and pinning a kid to the ground after he broke no laws is par for the course.
Whatever happened to throwing rocks at bottles or receiving visitations from dwarves and giants as methods of solving crimes?
What do we expect from a bunch of Marshal Willenhollys who, like Will Ferrell's character from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," are frustrated would-be law enforcement officers who couldn't get into the F.B.I.?