No False Alarm

I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment when I received a call from my security systems company. They informed me that my alarm was going off, and asked if I wanted them to send the police. I said, “Yes!!!” I was nowhere near home and my house was burglarized around this time of year a few years back, so queue my blood pressure increasing! I rescheduled my doctor’s appointment and I rushed home. On the way home I was imagining what items had been stolen this time. Oh, lord I just wrapped all my Christmas gifts and put them around the tree. Damn it! I just switched homeowner’s insurance companies and upped my deductible. I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario. I get to my house and the police were not there. I grabbed a hammer and walked the perimeter of my home. I was ready if I saw my TV walking out my door to bust a head. Everything looked ok, no windows broken, all doors closed. I called my security company and asked if the police had come. They connected me with an officer. He informs me that they were close and asked what kind of car I’m in. I tell him I pulled into my garage and was sitting on my silver Saturn VUE holding a hammer. The police finally pulled up. Officer #1 approached and said, “Hello.” I said, “Hi, I am the homeowner. The security company called because my alarm went off. I didn’t want to go in until you guys got here.” Officer #2 approaches and said to me, “Who are you?” I say again, “I’m the homeowner; I live here.” Officer #2 then said, “Can you put the hammer down? You are making me nervous.” I am completely flabbergasted by his request, but I put the hammer down and we walked to the front door. It’s still locked! This is a great sign cause who wants to have all their shit stolen. I open the door and they motioned for me to go in. Although the coast seems clear, I am not going in first! Y’all got the guns and bulletproof vests. You applied, was hired and trained to be a police officer. I did not. So I motioned for them to go in. They enter and announced, “CMPD, is anyone here?” Officer #1 goes up stairs to check things out. I followed him after turning off the alarm. He say, “It’s clear.” I share with Officer #1 that I’ve been robbed before. He says, “I’m sorry.” He tells me to call my alarm company because they have had 3 of these calls today. As we walk out Officer # 2 says “You get 2 false alarms a year; on the third one you get fined.” Now I am done with Mr. Nervous. I didn’t know it was a false alarm until we got here. I tell him to take that up with the security company. They gave me a little false alarm notice and went on their way.

Now I am happy that nothing was stolen. That is a huge relief. But I am stuck on officer #2 saying I made him nervous. HOW??? I am 5’2 and dressed like a J. Crew mannequin. (Side note: Not that how I am dressed should matter but we all know it does.) I have on khakis and loafers and glasses. Only thing I look like I could intimate is an excel spreadsheet. But I was making him nervous. I didn’t raise my voice. I was extremely calm despite the circumstances. I was holding a hammer. Not welding it like a sword. Just holding it. If the hammer made you nervous, explain to me how I was going to attack two police officers both with guns and teasers. I called you! You knew I was there. If the sight of me made you nervous, you should not be a police officer. “You’re making me nervous.” It’s my house that has been potentially robbed but you nervous. Not nervous that the burglar might run out of the house. But I make you nervous. SMH- Now I have to dampen my anxiety and make sure I don’t make any sudden move that will make you feel more nervous. Even though I am the victim. My house’s alarm is going off and someone could very well be sitting on my couch eating my Captain Crunch waiting for me to come home and murder me but I’m making you nervous. (Side note: I watch a lot of Crime shows, people are crazy!)

This was a harsh reminder of how easy it is for me to become the next Black Lives Matter hashtag. I called the police to protect and serve me, and Officer #1 did yet Officer #2 approached with suspicion and nervousness. “You’re making me nervous.” I can only deduce that my black skin and a hammer (a dangerous weapon) is enough to cause alarm. What if I would have sent my Dad or my young black male cousin who lives with me? Or my uncle who has a concealed carry license and carries a gun with him at all times. LEGALLY! How nervous would Officer #2 have been? And what did I do to cause the nervousness? Hold a hammer. Did you think I was going to attack you? I called to check and see if y’all were coming. I was waiting on the police. I just can’t understand!!!! Officer #2 showed up with an issue. At best he is an asshole. At worst he is a racist, sexist, power tripping asshole with a badge and gun. And an entire system that would let him kill me and get away with it. All he would have to say is: “She made me nervous.”- “I feared for my life.” No matter how outlandish it sounds, his nervousness is my burden to bare. A burden that my people have been carrying for centuries. The feeling of hopelessness and fear, of being reminded that sometimes my mere presence is enough to make someone fear for their life. Even someone who is paid (with my tax dollars) to show up in dangerous situation and to protect and serve. What is the correct way to behave in this situation? How should I have acted under the circumstances? How could I make him feel less nervous? When my security is already in jeopardy, I have to figure how not set off his alarms. But I refuse to take on an inferiority complex because of someone else’s superiority complex. My feeling of fear, frustration, anger and hopelessness has been felt by countless others. Some names we all know; most names we never will know. There is nothing isolated about this incident.  I’m just glad this encounter ended with only my hurt feelings and not my hurt body. I am aware that a thief can steal my things at any time. I have insurance and an alarm to make me feel more secure and protected. When and if this happens again there is no insurance policy or alarm systems that protects me from the police officer that will arrive. I will have to hope and pray that an officer like Officer #2 doesn’t answer the call. I have always had a respect and fear of the police. I totally understand why some people avoid the police at all cost. I know that their fear and mine is no false alarm.

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