My Children are Insane: The Unexpected Need for a “No Killing Police Officers” Rule

By: Jacob Lewis

I was resting on the couch last Saturday afternoon while my daughters played some sort of make believe action figure game on the floor beside me. I was wondering if I would have any death bed regrets about playing games on my phone when I could instead be sharing in my children’s finite youth (I won’t, their game seemed boring.  If anything they will have the regrets about not playing more interesting games) when I overhead a snippet of their game dialogue.

“I’ll call the police and they’ll shoot the bad guy” Juliet shouted at her sister.

Athena responded with the calm mental superiority of an older sibling, “That won’t happen, the police aren’t allowed to shoot anyone.”

I felt this comment trigger something deep down in the core of my soul. Some sort of primal instinct that must have existed in fathers since the dawn of time, like 5,000 year ago. I felt an intense desire to immediately correct a child who has done something wrong. The purpose of this instinct I’m sure is evolutionary in nature; making sure your offspring has correct information so when they enter society they know how to survive and prosper, and to establish an illusion of mental dominance in case they would ever try to conspire to overthrow your seat of power and absorb your essence through the devouring of various vital organs. Two of my biggest concerns as a parent.

Acting on this instinct, I got up from the couch, stopped the game and explained, using my best all-knowing father voice, that police officers are only supposed to shoot people if they think they are going to harm them or someone else. Also, since not all officers are very good at this part of their job, that’s why you never point a gun or something that looks like a gun at them. I finished my lecture and returned to the couch with the knowledge that I had imparted wisdom to my…

“What if it’s a water gun” asked Athena.

“Excuse me” I responded, snapping out of my parental victory daze.

“What if I have a water gun. Can I point a water gun at an officer”

“No.”

“What about a toy gun”

“It looks like a gun.  No you can’t”

Juliet decided she needed to interject in this conversation, “What if it’s a gun that shoots bullets”

“That’s just a gun Juliet, and no. You shouldn’t even have one of those.”

Juliet thought about that for a moment. “What if it’s a gun that shoots knives?”

“What…that’s not a thing Juliet…no you can’t. No guns.”

I was becoming more certain that my children weren’t just being inquisitive and were instead trying to find a loophole in the new “don’t point guns at officers” rule I had just established.

“What if….” Athena started.

“No guns. Of any kind. Ever”

Juliet accepted this response and returned to her game. Since she had no desire to point a gun at an officer at this instant I knew the issue was moot to her. If she was ever in the position where she wanted to do this, she would just take the issue up again. Athena, on the other hand, did not feel this matter had been closed.

“So if we can be shot for pointing a gun at a police officer” Athena reasoned, stopping only for a second to let her last mental gear click into place, “then if we do, we need to shoot the officer first.”

The only response I could muster to this comment, given the sudden dark turn this conversation had taken, was “Athena, no. You don’t shoot officers.”

“Well you said they were going to shoot me.” She responded.

My first impulse was to say “it would have been the right call since you were obviously pointing a real gun at them. They may even get a medal.” However, I didn’t go with that one. I probably should have since my actual rebuttal was not much better.

“If you did that than the other officers are going to shoot you.”

Athena paused to think. She had obviously not considered that there could be other officers in this scenario and that she might not be able to shoot all of them. This was a true pickle for her. Unfortunately, in a rare moment of sisterly comradery, Juliet reentered the debate, which really should not have ever been a debate. “Athena, I’ll shoot them for you!”

Athena took to that idea immediately. “Yeah, Juliet will shoot them before they can shoot me! If some try to shoot her then I’ll shoot them first.” She then smiled like she had both solved a particularly hard puzzle and proved to me that she could work together with her sister. In her mind, she had just won daughter of the year.

My brain was suddenly filled with mental images of my daughters going out in a blaze of glory that resembled the final scene from the wild bunch. At this, the initial fatherly instinct to protect/dominate my children said “I’m done”, tapped out, and left the rest of this mess for me to clean up.

“Just…please just stop talking about shooting officers!”

“Why?” Athena responded. Never has the use of a single word more reflected a parent’s complete failing to properly guide their children through life.

“You shouldn’t talk about killing other people with guns.”

“I know. We don’t have any guns”

“Yes, and you’re not going to get any.” This came off too much like I was informing her she wasn’t going to get dessert anymore, so I started over. “That was not the point. Just don’t talk about shooting anyone.”

“Wh…?”

“Because it’s wrong to do that.”

Athena relented. “Okay, I promise.”

“Good.” I looked around for my other daughter. “Wait, where’s Juliet?”

“She got bored and went upstairs to play with puzzles. I’ll go tell her she isn’t allowed to shoot any officers.”

I sighed, “Thank you Athena.”

Athena left to deliver the message and I went back to the couch. It took me a few minutes before I started reflecting on this conversation, particularly the ghost chapter narrative my daughters had created. What crime were they committing in this scenario that necessitated them having fake guns? Did I just help their scheme by informing them that officers are allowed to shoot them, leading to their conclusion that real guns would be necessary. Was I an accomplice in something now.

Or, did I just bring my two daughters closer together and give them a scenario where they would need to help each other out. Did they just learn that they can solve anything when they work together. Did I intentionally create a tighter knit family unit and by doing so become the best father in the world?

“Nah”, I thought, “they’re planning a crime”. I got off the couch and went to confirm that Athena had delivered the additional details about the new “no officer killing rule” to Juliet.

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