'I Don't Want You to Get Shooted': A Perspective From an Expat

by Paulie Rhyme

This conversation from the article above is a similar one I had with my own daughter (who was a similar age) when we were walking pass police in San Francisco a little over 2 years ago. She was just finishing up with her Soccer practice and we were walking back to the car like always. There were a group of officers just chilling by the entrance talking. Now as I am with my daughter in a public park, I am totally oblivious to whatever it is that is going on outside of the bubble that is Maya and I. We were laughing and talking as usual, and the day was as regular as it usually was. Then as we walked pass the officers, Maya turns to me and says, "Watch out daddy, they might kill you..."

It was one of those moments that still tends to put my emotions into a state of array because the more I reflect and try to break down what was really going on that she would feel like that was a thing to say to me, it makes me feel like something provoked her. Something was either building up to this point or something happened that she picked up on in that small window and I missed it. And the scary part is that she might have also said it to save us. Needless to say, luckily I am alive to tell it, and it that it was time to go.

To this day I am not sure what she saw/felt and what I missed, but when your children realize that your life is in danger, it brings a host of emotions, to you as a parent, that are hard to really put in words. I was already feeling like the states was not really a safe place to be, but the ideal that my daughter could possibly be collateral damage was just too much for me to fathom. When it does not seem to matter if you are a law abiding citizen or not, then you are putting your life into the hands of a system that was not ever designed for you to survive as a free person.

As we are coming up on our 2 year anniversary of moving out of  the United States to Japan, I feel more sure of our decision, not only for our economic health, but for our physical and mental as well. Japan comes with a host of its own challenges, but at least I can`t get stopped by the cops and get shot. At least my wife does not have the possibility of having this type of conversation (again) with Maya, as Diamond Reynolds tragically had with her daughter in handcuffs after Philando Castile was shot in front of them both. .

I have been in Japan 2 years and haven`t technically gotten stopped by the police one time. The time that Moto got stopped (because I was not wearing a seat belt), they followed us to a rest stop, was super nice, and I think they might have even apologized to us on our way out.

Either way, so far so good. My mind is at ease and that particular stress is off the table for now.

We are happy and we are alive. #blackandabroad

Paulie Rhyme