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Be careful walking after dark
Glenn Mollette
Glenn Mollette

Freedom to move about the country is a wonderful privilege. 

Let us be appreciative of our freedom.

Recently, I was taking a late night walk in Owenton, Ky. Owenton is a little town of maybe 600 people in rural north central Kentucky. I had just finished watching the sad Biden-Trump debate and decided that a walk and some ice cream sounded good 

I walked to our local convenience store which is about a half mile from where I was staying in Owenton. It was a beautiful summer night and I only saw two cars on the road in route to the store. I bought an ice cream bar and had it eaten within 20 steps of the store when the only car I saw on the way home pulled up beside me and someone asked, “Sir, are you alright?” It was the local city police. I responded, “Yes sir, I’m doing fine.” He asked, “Would you like a ride home?” To which I replied, “No sir, I’m just out for a walk.” He then asked, “Have you been drinking?” I replied, “No sir, just been eating a Snicker’s ice cream bar.” He continued, “Are you sure?” “Yes sir, I’m sure.” He then asked, “Where are you going?” I told him the street which was only about five more minutes of walking time.  

I thought all was well as he and another policeman drove off but they made a U-turn and pulled right back up in front of me. The cop got out of the car and told me he wanted to do a breathalyzer test. I’ve never had one in my life. I agreed to it. He was right in the middle of the street. I walked out to meet him and he told me to blow into the straw. I complied. He shook his head because, of course, the test was negative. He told me his name and I responded by telling him mine and we shook hands. He told me to be safe walking home. He then wanted to know exactly where I lived and I gave him the street name and house number.

As I walked up the street and neared home, I looked up. Once again, he and the other officer passed by. I suppose they were checking to see if I went where I said I was going.

This was really dramatic and over the top. I was simply taking a walk. I wasn’t falling into the street or staggering from one side to the other. I was walking. He had no cause to stop and embarrass me but called me out into the middle of the street for a breathalyzer. Fortunately, not one car drove by while he was doing that. It’s a small town and no one was out at 11:10 at night. 

Almost no one gets out and walks in this town. If anybody has to go to the local convenience store, they drive their car even it’s just a block or two. Thus, maybe the police thought if someone was out walking then surely the person had to be up to no good or intoxicated. 

I’m, very supportive of the police. I’m appreciative of all who work to keep us safe. We need good police officers protecting us. However, this was ridiculous. Don’t harass people just because you are bored and have nothing else to do. I feel sorry for the many people in this nation who have been racially profiled for years. They are often pulled over because they are black or a different nationality. Sometimes people are pulled over if they are driving a red sports car or if they are someone who is an “outsider.” Often small towns can be very cliquish. If they don’t know who you are or if you are not “one” of the community residents then you are immediately profiled as an outsider and outsiders are often disliked, shunned or just treated badly. 

Be very careful if you are out walking after dark. The police may be scary. 

—  Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published in over 600 publications in all 50 states.