When I was a senior in college, the run-up to the Iraq War was in full swing. There was talk that it was going to happen - we didn't know exactly when - and there was a pretty big protest against it that was being held on College Green and the main street that passed through downtown. I didn't have finals to worry about - one of the benefits of taking strictly journalism classes for a quarter is that you have projects and papers, not tests, during finals week - and I figured I'd attend, being that I was against the war and all. I called Dad to let him know what was up, and we joked about him posting my bail if I was arrested for civil disobedience by way of simply being in the area. He told me to have fun, then got quiet. He may not remember what he said next, but I'll never forget it.
"Good for you for standing up for your beliefs, kiddo. Just do me a favor - if things get out of hand, I want you to leave. And if the cops start getting anxious, I want you to run. Don't stick around. Get the hell out of there. Or get down."
We both knew what he meant. We didn't say anything, though. We didn't have to. It happened just down the road. Today, I read that it may not have been just a tragic accident.
I can't believe that all of that wasn't present in Dad's mind, even as he was telling me to do what I thought was right.
I would have run. There's no question. I'm the only child he has.