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Answers To Charles Blow's Questions
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January 27, 2015, 01:55 PM
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Apropos of James Fulford’s piece on Charles Blow’s son, columnist Blow asked a few questions in his piece that deserve answers.

Blow generously allows that the cop might not have been wrong to stop his son: “If indeed my son matched the description of a suspect, I would have had no problem with him being questioned appropriately.”

But ...

Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?

What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a “suspicious” movement? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.

Library Visit, Then Held at Gunpoint, Charles Blow: At Yale, the Police Detained My Son, January 26, 2015

I’m not a cop, and I don’t play one on TV, but I can venture some answers. The cop drew his gun because he was facing a black burglary suspect. The cop didn’t tell the son anything or ask for ID and apprehended him the way he did because thought young Blow would run or pull a piece.

If his son had panicked, it could have been trouble. But he had no reason to panic, which is why he didn’t, having followed Blow’s advice about how to handle an encounter with police. Chris Rock explained it humorously some time ago. So no, if Blow reported the encounter accurately, he did not come close to losing his son.

The armchair critics who second-guess cops on the beat have never been in a combat situation, where a decision must be made in a split-second. That is why, for instance, they don’t understand why it isn’t overkill when a cop shoots a suspect seven or eight times, when one shot, the critics conclude, would serve the purpose.

A friend of mine went through a police combat scenario. After it was over, the instructor asked him how many times he fired his weapon. My friend answered once or twice. No, the instructor told him, it was seven or eight. In other words, you don’t know how much you’re shooting because you are defending life and limb. In the blink of an eye, it’s over.

That applies to Blow in his case. He can’t understand the cop’s behavior because Blow isn’t a cop.

He’s an anti-cop, leftist newspaperman who warms a seat at The New York Times.

Blow closed his lament with this:

The dean of Yale College and the campus police chief have apologized and promised an internal investigation, and I appreciate that. But the scars cannot be unmade. My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him.
Scars? Seriously? Blow just told the entire planet his son is a wimp. Nice job, Dad.