Thursday, November 27, 2014 police think they have the authority to kill a minority

 (reposted and slightly expanded from facebook.  I apologize for the overly on-the-nose post title.)

So the one time a cop pointed a gun at me, I was in graduate school and just taking a walk, and at first I didn't even notice him because it was cold and I had on a heavy overcoat with a hood which blocked my peripheral vision so I couldn't see him and headphones so I couldn't hear him and wasn't aware of his presence until he was SCREAMING at me to put my hands up. Apparently, the story was that I resembled the description of some guy who'd robbed a gas station. Some other cops came and they drove me off to the scene of the crime and when they saw that my footprints (it was snowy) didn't match the perpetrator's, they apologized and drove me home. The cop who initially stopped me was definitely acting like a dick, but what's notable is that at no time during this incident was I actually even a tiny bit afraid. The idea that I could be shot by a cop was just alien to me--totally unreal. This obviously has a lot to do with general upbringing and social class; not that my occasional interactions with cops for traffic violations and the like have been anymore pleasant than anyone's, but I just never, in my own experience, have associated the police with lawless violence. I somehow have this WEIRD FEELING like that might not be the case were I not a white guy.

I don't want to over-dramatize: there's a temptation to take an incident like this and blow it up so you can be perversely proud that OMG something SO SERIOUS happened to me; it was a sleepy, small-town kind of police force with, as far as I know (ha), no significant history of racially-motivated behavior. In spite of that, though, in light of recent events, it's nonetheless hard not to wonder: I mean, I DID ignore the cop for however long before I realized he was addressing me; it's fairly unlikely I'd actually have been shot if I were black, but it's very easy to imagine a young gun with a chip on his shoulder about insufficient respect for HIS AUTHORITAH making things a lot more unpleasant for me than they were.

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful that I'm unlikely to be murdered in cold blood because of my skin color! How about you?


Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Oh man, I totally missed this comment from some racist weirdo. What fun!

6:15 AM  

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