This is a picture I did not take

of a chain of events where I found myself holding the chain's end, or some strange set of links grafted to the original chain, where the slack gets taken-up and whips about in unpredictable ways, as unpredictable as where it began: a Thursday in July on Bay Street in Staten Island, where Eric Garner told police officers he was tired of it, that "it stops today" & then found himself taken by a chokehold launched from Officer Pantaleo, and while that chokehold had its own logic about what exactly would stop that day, no one on Bay Street knew how Garner's death (when coupled with the year's events in Ferguson, Cleveland, Dayton and elsewhere) would build into protests and marches all across the country, and how Americans would see the failures of two grand juries as sparks to kindle a spirited, new civil rights movement which would inspire many to stand-up & take to the streets and shout or even fall to their feet and die-in for the kinds of things Americans make noise about when so much has gone gradually and suddenly wrong; and devastatingly, one of those inspired would travel to New York a month after the failure to indict Pantaleo, carrying a semi-automatic Taurus pistol last sold legally at a pawn shop I occasionally drive by on my way to my mother-in-law's house, and today, Christmas Day, 2014, driving past its glaring yellow windows advertising GOLD & GUNS and FAST CASH, I saw a man standing with his hands in the air, standing in the median of the road on Christmas Day, in front of the store that last legally sold the gun used to murder two NYPD officers in Brooklyn a month after a grand jury failed to indict Eric Garner's killer; this man standing in the median across from the pawn shop with his hands in the air, flagging down a police car driving in front of me, in my lane, the man waving his hands in the air as if to say this whole thing is crazy, this day is crazy, this year -- people do crazy things in this world like walk down highways on Christmas with their hands in the air, and as he waved down the cop I was focused on the cop's brake lights so I could prepare to slow-down and I kept watching his brake lights, rolling right behind him and we passed the pawn shop and the man turned with us, and as he turned he lowered his arms and brought his wrists together as if to show the cop all he wanted for Christmas was to wear hand-cuffs and neither the cop nor I ever touched our brakes.