If McKinney Cop Drew Pistol On My Sons

Update: for an excellent treatment of the event in question, please read this NY Times article.

I am white, as are my wife and five children. I have three boys whom I call "my nut-brown boys". They are tall and bold and generous and I thank God for them every day. The oldest is ten.

Recently, in the process of brutalizing a young woman, a McKinney, Texas police officer pulled a gun on two teenage boys. The story has exploded, and most of you are probably familiar with it. The officer is on paid leave while his department and the city decide what to do with him.

As this story made the social media rounds, I saw constant reiterations of this thought: "Those teenagers were being disrespectful. If they had just lain down and obeyed the police officer, none of this would have happened." This comment seems to fly in the face of the evidence, what with the officer viciously attacking a young woman who was obeying his last command, and who ended up not being charged with anything at all. But whatever.

Let's focus on the teens being disrespectful. The officer, Eric Casebolt, drew his pistol when two young men got closer to him than he liked. The boys did the right thing at that point, which was to stop trying to help the two young women (the one on the ground, the other standing off) under the threat of deadly force.

Over and over again we hear that [black] people should submit to the police, even when faced with unlawful arrest, and wait for due process to vindicate them. The massive assumptions and uncertainties in that thought aside, let us simply consider the two Texas boys and their actions.

I imagine that they are my sons. They come home and tell me that there was a huge dust-up at a pool party they'd been invited to in some other neighborhood. There were cops and running teenagers and crazed parents and "concerned citizens" everywhere.

"Wow, my sons. I'm glad you're okay. Is everyone okay?"

"No, a bunch of kids were detained and arrested. There was this one policeman running around everywhere, yelling at everyone to do different things and we were all scared. Then more cops came."

"Did anyone I know get in trouble?"

"Well, we did. And the crazy cop grabbed Dajerria by the hair and twisted her arm and got on top of her."

"What did you do?"

"Well, a bunch of the kids stayed around to yell at the policeman, he was really rough. Then he started barking at one of the other girls."

"What did you guys do?"

"Nothing, dad. We got the hell out of there."

Is that what you'd want from your sons, fathers? Would you want them to abandon friends who had been caught going to a pool party they were actually invited to, who might have been guilty of being a bit rowdy (the police were called because a mother and daughter got in an altercation at the pool)? And if they had stayed, would you want them to not have the instincts to protect the girls they were with?

The boys were wise enough to realize how terrible for everyone it would have been if they'd attacked the cop. Heck, Casebolt pulled a weapon on them when they'd merely instinctively moved to protect another female in their group.

Given the circumstances, I would have been proud if my sons had been those boys. Their instinct was to protect their females in the face of armed aggression. Those boys did well, and I think most white fathers would rather have sons like that than sons who did not think to put themselves between their friends and trouble.

And I pray to God they don't grow to become like that craven suburban slob who assisted officer Casebolt in the brutalizing of some teens. Who does he imagine he is? What would he have done if the teens had attacked the cop? If the cop had begun to fire into the crowd? Did he imagine he was lowering tensions by his presence? Fathers, you don't want your children to grow into assholes. You want them to be the kind of boys who get into a little trouble when there's injustice.

Seriously. Try it right now. Imagine those boys are your kids and their classmates. What then? Would you have them simply walk away when a police officer grabbed Denise or Emily's long blonde hair and dragged her to the ground?