This is an especially poignant and disturbing story because Charles Blow has written so eloquently about how he fears for his son's safety, especially with regard to the police.
All of the details are in his column, but the short version is that there had been a robbery reported in the area where his son was, police saw a black kid walking and stopped him at gunpoint.
Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?
What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a “suspicious” movement? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.
My son was unarmed, possessed no plunder, obeyed all instructions, answered all questions, did not attempt to flee or resist in any way.
This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete. I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious “club.”
When that moment came, I was exceedingly happy I had talked to him about how to conduct himself if a situation like this ever occurred. Yet I was brewing with sadness and anger that he had to use that advice.
Unsaid but known: If that kid had been white the stop would not have been conducted in the same way, robbery or no.