Good News: The ATF Doesn't Target The Mentally Disabled On Purpose

MichaelKolander by MichaelKolander on Apr. 02, 2014

Finally, some good news out of Washington.

Federal agents do not intentionally trick retarded people into committing crimes. At least that’s what Todd Jones, head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (a.k.a. The A.T.F.), is telling members of congress.

Wait, why are we even talking about this? Oh, right. Because federal agents have been intentionally tricking retarded people into committing crimes.

In undercover storefront operations across the country, the A.T.F. used people with mental disabilities as unwitting pawns, and in some cases even convinced these individuals to commit crimes themselves.

In one instance, agents convinced and paid for Aaron Key, a mentally disabled teenager, to get a squid tattoo on his neck in order to help promote their fictitious business, Squid's Smoke Shop. Key was later convicted of "selling a sawed-off shotgun and arranging for prostitutes to come to a party being thrown by the undercover agents." Sounds like a fun party.

In another, agents used Tony Bruner, who has an IQ in the 50’s, to set up gun deals with prospective buyers, and then paid him for his time in cigarettes. He was later charged “with more than 100 counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon.” I’d like to point out that in prison, cigarettes are often used as currency, so Bruner actually made out like a bandit on this deal.

When questioned about the fact that his agency was entrapping retarded people, Jones admitted that mistakes were made, but claimed people with mental disabilities were not intentionally targeted, adding that it’s a "huge challenge" for law enforcement to make a determination about someone's mental illness or mental capacity.” Of course, the fact that agents in Bruner’s case referred to him as "slow-headed" seems to contradict that claim, but in the agent’s defense, there is a big difference between “slow-headed” and “full retard.”

Other alleged abuses by the ATF during their various storefront operations include buying and selling guns near schools and churches, luring minors into their fictitious storefronts with video games, knowingly purchasing stolen items through fictitious pawn shops, allowing a violent felon to leave a store with a gun, and failing to properly secure a machine gun that was later stolen. That said, we still like the "entrapping retarded guys" story the best.