I have a nephew who got into big trouble years ago by waving a realistic toy gun out of a car window. Today he likely would get shot, and even more likely if he were black or of some other non-white tonality. Nevertheless, I expect that if he had pointed that deadly looking make-believe at a cop, he’d have gotten drilled.

Policemen and policewomen are, like all of us, people who want to stay alive. Are we surprised that some unfortunate and tragic confrontations occur in our age of the adoration of guns. Add to that Hollywood’s endless spewing forth of “action” films that pretend to portray life as it is; young people infatuated with blowing away people in video games and actually blowing away real people in schools; laws that allow essentially anybody to carry concealed weapons and weapons that individually have the firepower of a hundred of our Colonial militia men; pop songs calling for the killing of police, and many instances of the cold-blooded killing of police; and toy manufacturers making playthings that look just like deadly weapons.

In the streets, pop culture “reality” is likely to rule. It’s an environment of our own creation. While most people may be no threat, some of them are sure to be, right? We see it constantly on TV and in the news, right?

So let all of us — red and yellow, black and white — remember that when the cop says, “Hands over your head,” just do it. Don’t try to show him that the gun is a toy. Don’t reach for your driver’s license. Don’t walk toward him singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Stick ’em up and stand still.

Abbott Meader, Oakland


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.