The other day, my middle son and I found ourselves in the midst of an armed takedown involving not one, not two, but five police cruisers (and when we finally got out of there, we saw another en route).
I was immobilized with one hand over my mouth, stiff-arming the steering wheel. All I could say was “Oh my God” repeatedly and once “Hon, get a video of this.” I had goosebumps on my arms and legs.
My son was also saying, “Oh my God,” but in a less help-me-Jesus type of way. He was like, “Oh my God, look at their Glocks!” and “Oh my God, I wonder what that guy did!?” and “Oh my God, I have to post this on Snapchat!” He was really excited about the whole thing. (He didn’t get more than a couple of pictures though.)
We were just on our way to camp to pick up his older brother who had to work late that Saturday. Mere moments before we had been discussing how Pokemon Go works when I heard sirens. I saw a cruiser with lights flashing, blocking an intersection up ahead of us, but that wasn’t the source of the sirens.
I pulled over just before the intersection. I hate being first in line because I never know what I am supposed to do in unusual traffic circumstances, or should I stay or should I go now. But I also hate doing the wrong thing, like if I went through the intersection and didn’t pull over, in front of a policeman, isn’t that almost as bad as passing a school bus?
Just a few days before that, I had been honked at by a big pick up truck behind me because I was stopped at a red arrow before making the left onto the highway. There was a policeman directing traffic but it wasn’t clear to me that he was overriding the left-turn arrow, just guiding people going straight through his construction zone. I didn’t want to commit a red-light violation right in front of the officer, but when the truck honked, I went, and so did he, so I guessed that if I did something wrong, at least I wasn’t alone.
So I found myself at the head of a long and getting longer by the moment line of cars, with sirens blazing, not knowing where they were coming from and no idea what was going on. My son opened the passenger window and leaned out to see if he could hear over the country station he’d put on the radio. “I think they’re coming from behind,” he announced. But still, to me a siren is a siren. Was it police, fire, ambulance…?
All of a sudden a guy on a motorcycle came to a stop behind and parallel to our car. My son and I both initially thought that he hadn’t realized we were all pulled over and had come upon the line of cars and avoided hitting them by veering off the road to the right.
But no, it was at that moment that the cruiser from the intersection across the street peeled out and pulled up right in front of us, and the other two who were in pursuit of motorcycle guy pulled up in front and behind us. Ahead of us, we saw two policemen with big black guns drawn (Glocks, I guess…my son must know this from Call of Duty, which he plays on the XBox, much to my disdain). They were so close as they came around our car, one on either side (I think), we could have touched them. I don’t know what the policeman from the cruiser behind was doing.
I don’t even remember much else, which often happens to me in traumatic times — I have memory lapses. I was in a car accident about a month ago, and this is something I planned to write about, but haven’t found the time. The car that hit me ran a red light and I did all I could to avoid it but it still dinged my car up pretty well and even though I was at the accident scene for 30 or more minutes, I could not remember the color, never mind the make and model, of the other car when I was telling my husband about the incident later.
I don’t even remember which direction cruisers four and five came from and if they were town or state police. The guy surrendered himself but didn’t have much time before being ordered to the ground at gunpoint and cuffed. All I remembered about him was that he had earbuds that went through his tank top and into whatever device he was listening to in his pocket. I really couldn’t watch the arrest; the picture above is the one my son took and put on Snapchat and later texted me.
I was paralyzed. If I were a turtle, I would have been in my shell. What if the motorcycle guy had a gun? He looked harmless to me but you can’t judge a book by its cover. What if there was a firefight and we were in the middle of it, which we no doubt would be. Cruisers in front of us and bad buy behind us…uhm, yes, we would be right in the middle. We were right in the middle of this whole armed takedown.
When we finally got to go pick up my other son, all the boys wanted to talk about was Pokemon Go, after a brief (polite?), “Wait, what? You were right there? How do you know they were Glocks!?” I told my sons they were desensitized to violence and it must be the XBox. They told me, “Mah-ahm! It’s not like the other guy had a gun or anything!?”
But he could have!
I could not seem to convey adequately to just about anyone else I told this story to, either, how scary it was to be smack-dab in the middle of an armed arrest. I have knots in my stomach now just writing about it.
I guess you had to be there?