Friday, June 17, 2016

And Then the Gun Came Out.....

I’d never had a gun pulled near me—and with the owner looking at me—until yesterday.

Considering that I’m from Lumberton, listed by a variety of sources as the most dangerous town in North Carolina, you’d think it wouldn’t be the first time, but it was. I’ve had knives pulled on me a couple of times, but mostly it was because I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been or I had done something I shouldn’t have done. Luckily, the events didn't escalate.

It was such an innocent thing. I was at a stop sign and a law enforcement car pulled up behind me. I needed directions to a government office and immediately thought, “Here’s someone who’ll know.”

So, I hopped out of the car, held up my hands to show I had nothing in them,gabegave ga and quickly walked back to the officer’s car. He rolled the window down and when I leaned over to speak to him I noticed that he already had his weapon out of the holster and resting on his thigh.

I kinda offered a half-hearted laugh and joked, “You’re not going to need that! I just need to know where the town administrative offices are.”

He gave me what looked like a nervous smile and was open enough to say, “When you got out of the car and started walking back I thought, ‘This isn’t good.’”

He was wonderfully courteous, gave me the directions I needed, and wished me a good day.

I was back in my car and had driven a couple of blocks when I started thinking how different the whole episode could have gone if…it was at night, he wasn’t extremely professional, I was African-American/Hispanic/Middle-Eastern-looking/bigger and rougher looking, or any of a number of other variables about him/me/the situation.

Again, let me emphasize that he was very professional, exactly what I’ve always expected from his agency. And, considering what seems to pass for public behavior today, I could absolutely see his point. 

But, I also thought: If our society has come to a point at which law enforcement officers are so on edge that they pull a weapon when someone who looks pretty innocent (which I think I do) walks up to their car in broad daylight…well, we need to calm down and start asking who we really have become…and why?

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