1- My neighborhood rocks and I appreciate the fact that concerned citizens took action to protect our community.
2- In light of recent events, I recognize that this may not seem like a laughing matter to some. I am in no way making light of the horrible shooting tragedies that have struck our nation.
3- I'm not interested in gun (neither real nor "toy") debates as a result of this blog entry...
Ben: Mom, I'm heading to the woods to go shooting with Collin (name changed).
Me (still in bed sleeping): Mumble... hmm...okay... have fun...be safe...mumble.. (Roll over and resume snoozing.)
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
Me: (yawn) Hello?
Ben: Mom! I think Collin just got stopped by the cops!!!
Me: (more alert) What? Where are you?
Ben: I'm down at the end of the street waiting for Collin. But there are like 5 cop cars pulled over by one guy on the side of the road. I think it's Collin!
Me: Don't panic Ben. As long as he's not acting belligerent there's nothing to worry about. He's not doing anything wrong by carrying his air soft gun down the road to meet you.
Ben: Mom! They're making him get in the car!!! I'm coming home!
TEN MINUTES LATER
Knock knock knock.
Willy (assuming it's Ben, he hollers to the kids jokingly): It's the police! Don't open it! (chuckle chuckle)
THIRTY SECONDS LATER
Brady (having opened the front door and then hustled to our bedroom in a complete panic): Mommy! Daddy! There's a cop at the door!!!!!! Ben is outside with a whole bunch of cops!
Willy and I scramble out of bed and get dressed, shaking our heads and rolling our eyes a bit, while of course feeling a twinge of panic and unease.
FIVE MINUTES LATER
Laughing quite hysterically after these pictures were taken and the front door closed, we got the whole story from the boys.
Turns out that Ben's friend had his air soft rifle covered and was walking over to meet Ben and had to cross a busy street to get here. As he crossed the street his radio fell to the ground and he tried to set his gun down and it was no longer covered up as he scrambled to grab what he'd dropped. Someone who witnessed it panicked and called 911 about the boy wandering down a busy road with a gun and acting suspiciously. Several officers responded. Ben's friend was not in any trouble, just given a reminder that it's not prudent to wander down the road with a gun that way, "toy" or not. The officers admired his rifle and chatted with him for a few minutes. He explained that he was meeting his friend who had been waiting for him at the corner. The officers wanted to talk to Ben about being prudent too, and they didn't want the boy continuing down the road with his gun causing more alarm or concern to other neighbors so they had him hop in the car with them to direct them toward our house. Ben's friend and the officers joked about giving Ben a hard time and making him sweat a bit.
Meanwhile, Ben had seen some of this transpiring and panicked and called me. Naive, never-in-trouble, not-thinking-logically child ran towards home. With his air soft gun in his hands. SIXTEEN 911 calls from nervous neighbors later... the officers had caught up with Ben and chirped the siren at him (he was no longer running when they met up with him) and used their speakers to tell him to stop walking. He threw his gun down on the ground and raised his hands in the air (bwahahahahahah! My poor panicked child.) After a good chuckle I'm sure, the officers told Ben to keep walking toward home and escorted him to his destination where they knocked on the door and let us know that Ben wasn't in any trouble and wasn't doing anything wrong per se but they wanted us to know that they had talked with him about not wandering around with the air soft guns and that they ought to be driven to the woods where they were going to use the guns rather than walking there looking suspicious. The officers were very friendly, not at all condemning or threatening, and they even grinned as they mentioned all the 911 calls that had come in so quickly.
What a way to get everyone's adrenalin pumping first thing on a Saturday morning! I can't wait to mercilessly tease Ben about this for years to come...