Guy's Gun Tattoo Draws SWAT Team
Tree workers in Maine thought it was real, called the cops
By John Johnson, Newser Staff | Suggested by Amanda.Matznick
Posted Mar 19, 2014 2:45 PM CDT
Michael Smith, left, stands beside a Somerset County Sheriff deputy outside his home in Norridgewock, Maine.   (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, David Leaming)

(Newser) – He'd worked the night shift and was trying to get some sleep. So when a bunch of tree-service workers woke Michael Smith of Maine yesterday morning, he went outside shirtless and hollered at them to get off his property, recounts the Morning Sentinel. Now would be the time to point out that Smith has the tattoo of a holstered gun on his waist. From the tree workers' perspective, then, he looked for all the world like an armed crazy guy shouting threats they couldn't quite make out.

They left and called the cops, and a full contingent of state troopers armed with assault rifles then converged on Smith's house in Norridgewock and woke him up again, this time with a megaphone ordering him to come outside.

  • Trooper quote: “Obviously it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t have a weapon, but we had to respond to the initial report as if he did."
  • Smith quote: Recalling that after a cop asked him if he had any weapons, "I said, ‘Yeah, I got this gun on me all the time. It’s tattooed on."
No charges were filed. The lesson drawn from this by Time: "Always keep your shirt on."

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Kay Moses
Mar 21, 2014 10:59 AM CDT
Again, I say is everyone forgetting about that three dimensional thing? I'm hard pressed to believe this tattoo could have been mistaken for a real gun. Maybe it he was in shape and his abs gave the gun some dimension but that clearly is not the case.
Kay Moses
Mar 21, 2014 10:54 AM CDT
Ok, I'm looking at this tattoo which is two dimensional; aren't guns three dimensional? Or maybe they thought is was a flat gun.
Mar 21, 2014 1:02 AM CDT
Before you get that tattoo, ask yourself a few questions. How will this look when I age? Will it incriminate me? Or in this case, "will it lead to harm and pandemonium?" This guy clearly wasn't thinking when he got the tattoo. Either that, or he was to drunk to make a good decision.