Was It Karma?


I think I saw her this evening. My wife, Tos, and I were eating dinner before we heard sirens and saw the blue and red lights in front of our house.

The badges pulled over a car with three young Black adults. We moved from the living room window to the screened-in porch we kept dark,  sitting on the benches and watching it go down.

They pulled the driver, a woman, out of the car.

The passengers, guys, got out and complied. They were all searched then told to sit against the marked cruiser.

One flashlight watched them while the other three combed through the car. We watched them scan the dash, under the front seats and inner panel before moving their search to the back.

The young folks seemed more annoyed than scared.

The flashlights popped the trunk and went to work. They didn’t find anything. That was obvious, when they let the driver and her friends back in their car.

Then that’s when it happened.

Smoke. Lots of it. The young driver pulled off and left the badges to figure out how their cruiser overheated.

And all we knew, Tos and I, was that they better not come to our door, asking for water.

3 thoughts on “Was It Karma?

  1. That is a rough one Alan. As an individual I can speak to my behavior and the fact that I treat all with equal respect and dignity. Not to say, if I were a cop, I wouldn’t have stopped the car – there could easily have been a back story that made the stop inevitable regardless of the color of the occupants. On the other hand when an institution like the police have historically demonstrated prejudicial and hateful behavior based on race, i know it becomes impossible not to feel violated at every action. The problem is that this becomes an expected behavior and regardless of the motivations of the individuals involved, the actions will always be interpreted as prejudicial. In real life, in a perfect world, if 25% of the drivers are black, I would expect 25% of traffic stops to be of black drivers.

    In my experience you are a reasonable and thoughtful man Alan, and yet your automatic reaction to a black traffic stop was that it was prejudicial – with no knowledge of the surrounding circumstances. As an English speaking,white,Caucasian, male, adult, North American citizen of reasonable education and of non-remarkable physical traits – I have never felt the prejudice and hatred that you have felt in your life. Even so,I drove tractor-trailer for a living and so had many interactions with police. I have been treated wildly differently by different officers.Some have been kind and understanding and professional- some have been rotten pricks who were tripping on their power and should have never had a uniform and gun and, in my judgement, should have been in jail themselves. Knowing there was no prejudice, I have come away from traffic stops hating the officer for his arrogant, disrespectful, power-hungry behavior. That is a reality Alan. if I were to be black, I would blame that officer’s behavior on racial motivations – when in fact it was not. There is no way to tell why someone is acting hateful.

    Anyway, i fully understand your thoughts and behavior and would likely think and act that way myself. That said, it just perpetuates the problem – I know you can see that.

    1. My history with cops is the back story. If you’re interested in that back story, POINT BLANK, my new collection is coming either late 2016 or early 2017.

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