Charles Blow is a New York Times op-ed columnist. He has a son who attends Yale University.
On Monday, Mr. Blow\’s column was an impassioned account of his son being stopped, while walking from the library to his dorm, by an officer – with gun drawn – who told him to to identify himself, asked a number of other questions, and eventually let him continue on his way.
It turned out that a burglary had taken place and Mr. Blow\’s son matched the description given to police.
Charles Blow was scared out of his mind. What if his son, who, having never been in such a situation and probably scared out of his mind, had made the wrong move – maybe reached for his ID before being asked, or spontaneously jerked his body out of fear? He might have been shot dead on the spot.
I would have felt the same way if that were my son.
Mr. Blow was also furious because he felt the gun should not have been drawn at that time, only if the suspect/his son made some kind of threatening move.
I would have felt the same way about that too.
Mr. Blow did not mention the fact that his son is Black – though the fact that he is a Black man who writes almost exclusively from a Black perspective makes the racial angle implicit to any regular reader of his columns.
Perhaps that is why he did not mention that the police officer who accosted his son, gun drawn, was also Black.
I have a great deal of sympathy for Charles Blow\’s emotional account of what his son went through. As the parents of two children who went to out-of-town universities, My wife and I worried constantly about what might happen to them while they were far away from home. And, if I were the father of a Black child, I would have an extra worry – a huge one – to deal with that Mr. Blow knows and I can only imagine.
That said, I would love to hear the officer\’s side. Wouldn\’t you?
Was there a reason he was concerned/fearful enough to quickly – maybe prematurely – draw his gun; one which, for some reason, was not included in Charles Blow\’s column? For example, had there been recent incidents of violence involving young men matching Mr. Blow\’s son\’s description, which caused him to do so?
I hope we find out. But since I am guessing that everyone, on all sides, would like this incident to disappear into the memory hole as quickly as possible, I doubt we ever will.