Cops and Robbers

Cops and Robbers
by Brandon Duong

Jail is where you go if you’re a bad person.

Jail is where you go if you robbed banks, it’s where you go if you punch Wilbert in the nose for eating your ring pop, it’s where you go if you hit your wife, it’s where people who shoot guns at people.

Right? That’s what mom told you right? Well why is Jamycheal in jail? Jamycheal is sick. Sick people go to the hospital right? Why did they put him there? He looks so skinny. He’s yelling, like, like there’s someone else there with him. Like his schizophrenia is yelling at him and he’s just trying to get rid of it. Whatever it is. He didn’t hurt anybody. He didn’t mean to take the snickers bar. Why did you starve him for it? There has to be a mistake. Can’t we talk to the police?

You go to the police when you’re in trouble, and they’ll help you. It’s their job to help you. I wonder if that’s what Ethan Saylor thought when they stole the air out of his lungs.

Thieves go to jail don’t they mom?

Ethan just wanted to see a movie. Down syndrome doesn’t stop you from enjoying movies, from laughing or crying, from loving your mom or feeling pain when they punch you. When they punch your throat for not getting up from your seat in time.

They only kill bad people right? Like death sentence is for the bad of bad. It’s for robbers with guns.

But they were ones with the guns! They were the ones who robbed him of his life.

So why’d they kill Ethan? He just really wanted to see the movie again. He already bought a ticket. When you buy a ticket, that means you can watch a movie right? You have to buy a ticket. Ethan bought a ticket. He watched the movie and he laughed and clapped, because that’s what you do when you like something, you laugh and clap and maybe you want to see it again. Maybe you think that since you bought a ticket you can watch it again. Maybe you get scared when big men with guns start yelling at you to get out. Maybe you’re too scared to move. Maybe all you can do is shield yourself when they jump on you. Maybe you hear them say stop resisting, but their bodies are on your torso and it’s getting so hard to breathe, maybe you need to get them off. Maybe. Maybe.

What would you guard with your life? What artifact would you regard so holy that you are justified to kill for it? The Holy Grail? A City of Gold? An ancient scepter? What about a movie ticket?

We live in a world where people with mental diseases are worth less than movie tickets. Locked in asylums then thrown onto the street. Nobody wants them so they throw them in jail.

My sister reads a lot. She’s got autism. She asked me what it’s like driving. She wants to drive. She wants to go places. Explore everything beautiful that’s in this world. I’m just scared that someone, someone’s going to stop her along the way.

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