Another in my series of fictional approaches to current issues, They pose intellectual, or theological, or partisan-based questions. Sometimes all three.
Everyone here mentioned is white. I wrote it that way to avoid the “What would the police do if either were black?” conundrum. In this case it would distract from my main point, though I admit that too could be an important question. If you think could it not happen this way, have already decided how it always happen, have already decided which side is always to blame; you’re missing the point.
I also added the suggestion of violence to even out the usual perspectives a little; the different sides.
I pose my question at the end of the story.
The year: 2026. Ron DeSantis is president, with Donald Trump as more than just an adviser. Some on the left compared it to when Putin stepped down for a term and had a stand in. Of course much of the right, and some progressives, dismiss such concerns as no more than, “Russia, Russia, Russia…” antiquated cold war-isms.
Rebecca had heard some windows had been smashed, whether it was some of her protesters or people posing as BLM she wasn’t sure yet. So she, and her boyfriend Ron, were trying to calm things down, keep themselves safe. That included checking out new people no one seemed to know. They approached someone who no one had seen before and they introduced themselves. The new guy said, “Hi, I’m Jeff.” Then she asked, “What’s in the bag, Jeff?”
Jeff just smiled and said, “I’m tired of the attacks on Black Lives Matter protests. I know our state is trying to ban them, made it illegal to block the streets, made it legal for drivers who claim they felt threatened to drive through a protest. If someone gets killed, well, it’s their fault.”
”Yeah, that makes me angry too. Really, what’s in the bag?”
Jeff pointed at the bag. “I’m protesting. This is my sign of protest. I’ll roll it out when the time is right, if the time even comes.”
”Roll it out? Must be a banner,” Becky thought. It seemed a strange way to phrase it, but a sign is a sign. Then music poured forth from her back pocket: her iPhone.
As she pulled out her iPhone Becky and Ron headed to the front of the group. They were two of the organizers so they wanted to get to the front of the group and make sure crossing the street happened quickly, safely. Jeff followed them. Becky answered her phone.
”Mom? Yes, I’m at a protest. Yes, I’ll be careful. That’s why we’re crossing the street to the other side: the sidewalk ends here and we don’t want to be caught blocking the road. Yeah, I know that law they passed, that’s why we’re going over to the other side. If we stay here, since there’s so many of us, someone could claim we were ‘blocking the road.’ Yes, Ron is here, and some new guy named Jeff. I hope Ron doesn’t get arrested. Why? Well, he’s taking a video of what’s happening and I know if the cops show up he’ll insisting on continuing to take the video. Yeah, I know, that’s illegal now too. YES, I TRIED to ‘talk to Ron.’ You KNOW how he gets. I love him, Mom, that’s ‘why I ‘put up with it.'”
Becky heard the roar of an engine.
”Mom, I have to go,” and she hung up.
She felt an absence so first she looked over at Jeff, then she looked down.
”Jeff? Oh, there you are. The time is right for your protest banner?”
Jeff had kneeled down, unzipping the bag.
”Yes, but my ‘protest’ is not a banner, Becky. I see you’re still holding your phone. Dial 911, NOW. Tell the police a car is about to plow into our group as we cross the street. Ron: camera on me and the car. ”
Becky, horrified, said, “Car?”
Looking towards where she had heard the roar she saw a guy with a big grin; to her it looked like a nasty sneer, driving fast towards the group at a high rate of speed. He was yelling out the window, “Get out of my way! You’re in my way! You’re threatening me!”
She turned her head, saw what Jeff was holding: a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun… pointed right at the driver who was almost upon them.
Before either of them could say a thing Jeff yelled out, “NO, I’m standing my ground!” And he pulled the trigger on both barrels. A big red hole appear in the windshield just before where the driver’s head used to be. The car veered to the left, missing the protesters and smashed into a pole.
Sirens. Jeff dropped the shotgun and held his hands up high. Ron kept taking the video until they arrested him. They smashed his Android.
As they arrested Jeff he repeated, over and over, “I stood my ground.”
That’s our story. Now here is some additional information…
What state this is in doesn’t matter because the point being made relies on that in this state Jeff’s gun is legal even though it was concealed, even though he displayed it in public, even though he took it out of concealment. This is a stand your ground state. What such a weapon can, or cannot do, is not the point here. He has a clear shot and points at nothing, no one else, other than the oncoming driver in the car. He poses a threat to no one else but the driver in this scenario.
So who do YOU ‘stand with?’
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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