Knock, Knock Who’s There? But This Isn’t A Joke!

Have you read the story about the 14-year-old Michigan boy who overslept, missed his school bus and started to walk to school, when he realized he was lost and knocked on a door to ask for directions. The woman who appeared began screaming that someone was trying to break into the house, which awoke her husband, who ran downstairs, armed with a shotgun. When he spotted the weapon, the young teen immediately (and smartly) sprinted off, then hid. He heard shots, but luckily he wasn’t hurt.

“There’s a lot more to the story than what’s being told, and I believe that will all come out in court,” the man with the gun told the judge after his arrest. “I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying… ” The judge didn’t let him finish. The man was charged with assault with intent to murder and a felony firearm charge, local news outlets reported, and his bond was set at $50,000. He faces as much as life in prison.

Can you guess the races of the teen and the couple? Of course you can. Do you think the husband is going to concoct a tale that justifies his actions? Of course he is.

A video of the incident taken by a security camera reportedly reveals exactly what happened. I didn’t see the video, but the mother of the teen did see it.  Interviewed for a local news show, she said she heard the woman who answered the door say, “Why did they have to choose our house?” How despicable is that? The young boy was so rattled by the incident that he broke down in tears. Coming across as an unassuming kid, he said he rang that doorbell because he saw a neighborhood watch sticker on the house, so he assumed it would be safe to knock on the door.

The frantic, screaming, and undoubtedly bigoted woman who answered the door sure helped get her husband in a heap of trouble. Imagine if the teen hadn’t reacted as quickly as he did when he saw the shotgun; he might have been murdered, simply because he knocked on a door to ask for directions. He was glad he didn’t become a statistic, he told the TV reporter who interviewed him and his mom.

My daughter is married to an African American man. It is unnerving to think that their five-year-old son–my darling, innocent grandson–could ever come into contact with people who have knee-jerk reactions like the Michigan couple.    



Two men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, in an upscale part of town, because they asked to use the men’s room, but didn’t order anything. The store manager called the police. The police arrested the men. Just. Like. That.

The woman manager was fired. The CEO of Starbucks met with the men and apologized. But what are we going to do about people who simply look at a black-skinned man and treat him like he doesn’t deserve to inhale the same air? Or even to ask for directions.

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9 Responses to “Knock, Knock Who’s There? But This Isn’t A Joke!”

  1. İzmit Kurye says:

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  2. Harmony Mercedes says:

    I agree that the first incident was deplorable – just awful. Should never have happened, and I hope the man with the shotgun is prosecuted.

    However, the Starbucks situation is completely different. Starbucks is a business, not a public playground. This situation had nothing to do with race. It was about two men who wanted to use Starbucks as their personal office – without buying anything.

    The two men were politely asked THREE times to buy something or leave – so that the seats could be used by paying customers – and they refused. And since they refused to leave after repeated requests, police were called and also asked them to buy something or leave – and again, they ignored the police requests! What kind of a person does that? It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, pink, orange or purple – you have no right to loiter around a business (which is private property) if you aren’t a paying customer. It’s a no-brainer.

    Why should a business be forced to allow non-paying customers to occupy its tables? Most “normal” human beings, when asked to leave a business when they’re a non-paying customer, will leave without hesitation. But these two men were just rude, disrespectful and thug-like by refusing to give up their table for paying customers. Just despicable.

    So, please, don’t lump these two – entirely different – situations together. They’re NOT the same at all.

    • Marilyn Scher says:

      Not one person in any article that I’ve read asked if the 2 men were homeless men and probably didn’t even have any money. Were they?

      • Geri Brin says:

        Hi Marilyn,

        I don’t believe they were homeless. They were waiting for a friend.


      • Harmony Mercedes says:

        @Marilyn. They weren’t homeless. They claimed they were meeting a friend for a “life-changing” real estate business meeting. Yet, they showed up at this “life-changing” meeting in old jeans and sweats. (When they appeared on TV today though, they were all dressed up in nice shirts. Go figure).

        • Marilyn Scher says:

          I thought the same thing. They looked on the shabby side and the one that you can see wearing sweats looked a bit dirty. In the photo today they were all cleaned up. I smell a rat!

    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi, Harmony, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. But, I do believe the incident was racially motivated, as does the CEO of Starbucks, who fired the manager and is closing all the stores for one day of bias training.

      People often sit for hours on end in Starbucks, working on their computers and nursing one cup of coffee, even when the stores are packed. No one asks them to leave so someone else can have a seat.

      Best, Geri

      • Harmony Mercedes says:

        @Geri. I respectfully disagree. This had absolutely NOTHING to do with race. I guess you missed the article a while back about the police officer in Philadelphia (who was white) who was told he couldn’t use the Starbucks restroom because it was for customers only. And guess what? He abided by the manager’s decision. He didn’t force his way in and use it anyway – he just left. That’s what “normal sane’ people do when they go to a business and aren’t paying customers. … I find the behavior of these two men – refusing to respect the polite requests of both the store manager and the police officers – to be deplorable. …

        As for the Starbucks CEO – he overreacted to the protests and fired the employee without knowing the facts – which is shameful. He should have stood up for his employee – after all, he’s running a business, not a public playground for non-paying customers. I lost a lot of respect for this CEO over his reaction.

        Starbucks is a business – just like any other business in Manhattan. If I walked into – “Per Se,” or “Le Bernardin” or “Gramercy Cafe” – and didn’t order anything, how long do you think it would take before they threw me out in the street? Should I hold a protest when they do? .. It’s just ludicrous that these defiant, rude, arrogant men – who had zero respect for the manager or the police officers who politely asked them THREE times to buy something or leave – could FORCE a business to allow non-paying customers to take over their seating. And none of the taking heads on television question the men about their thug-like behavior.

        Crying “race” – when race plays no part – is deplorable and divisive. And it hurts everybody.

      • Harmony Mercedes says:

        And one more thing – yes, some people spend hours there – but they BUY something – even if it’s one cup of coffee. That’s all these two men needed to do – was purchase a single cup of coffee. Yet, they refused repeated requests to do this. They felt they didn’t have to abide by any rules, let alone common courtesy, respect and decency. Just shameful thug-like behavior.


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