This is a true story.

One afternoon this past summer, my 19-year-old son was walking down the middle of the street in a neighborhood here in our town. 

A car pulled up behind him. 

My son did not move out of the road, just kept walking.

After a moment the driver honked his horn.

Without turning around, without missing a beat, my son flipped the bird over his shoulder and kept walking.

I have no doubt that, had the car behind him been a police car, my son would’ve had a pretty uncomfortable afternoon after that.

I also have no doubt that my son would not have been arrested, let alone shot. 

Because my son is white.

As the news comes in from Ferguson that a grand jury has declined to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, I am reminded that context is everything. 

And I am profoundly dejected.