John Hyndman / by Michael Falco

Who is John Hyndman

John was raised in East Lansing, Michigan in an exclusive all-white neighborhood (one of his neighbors was Governor Mitt Romney's family). John went to an all-white elementary school and only began interacting with people of color in middle school. John began working for a water treatment facility and moved to Battle Creek sixteen years ago for the job. John is politically libertarian and believes in very limited federal government, if any. He voted for Donald Trump in the recent election. He has three children and one granddaughter who is seventeen. He is not religious and believes strongly in the right to carry firearms and in using the metric system.

Excerpt from interview with John Hyndman by Whitney Dow, 2017

Q: We have no issues with people who carry guns here. But do you think that—because when you think about everybody’s being pulled over, and you think about that, do you think you would be—if you got pulled over by a police with your gun, would you feel safe being pulled over by the police, being pulled over with a gun? And versus do you think that a black person would have the same experience being pulled over by the police, and/or they’re carrying a gun?

Hyndman: [18:33:52] No, I would feel safe, but I also know how to behave myself when pulled over. If I’m getting pulled over, chances are I deserved it, but not necessarily. But the very first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to turn on my—well let’s say it’s night, okay. Well, either way, day or night, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to turn on my four-way flashers, and I’m going to move very slowly and deliberately, and I’m going to put my window down. If it’s night time I’m going to turn on my dome light, so the officer can clearly see me, and I might even just sit there and kind of place my hands right there on the window to greet the officer, “Hello officer.” Now, here in Michigan, we’re required to, if you’re a concealed carry holder, we’re required on first contact with the Police Department to inform them that we’re a holder, and whether or not we are carrying at the time. So, I would say “Hello, officer. I have a concealed carry permit and I either do have a firearm with me or I don’t have a firearm with me.”

Now, I think a lot—not always, okay; I’ve seen the horrible videos of somewhere down South where some guy literally walking or jogging away from an officer and the officer shoots him three times in the back or whatever it was. You know, everyone has seen those videos. And I’ve also seen handcuffed people, videos of handcuffed people just sitting on the ground, getting pummeled with nightsticks for no apparent reason. I feel, however, a lot of the people who have trouble with law enforcement basically bring it on themselves, with the attitude they present to the officers on their first encounter. What happens in that first fifteen seconds sets the tone, and I feel everybody should just basically be on their best behavior and answer “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” “Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” and not be argumentative, and everyone should know to, like, not make quick moves. Don’t go reaching underneath the seat of your car. Maybe that’s where you keep your proof of insurance, but if that’s where it is, and the officer asks for it, then you inform them, “Officer, my proof of insurance is underneath my seat. May I please reach underneath and get it?”

Most of the problems that happened are brought on by the occupants of the vehicle, regardless of race, but not always. I do think—you know, there is what’s referred to as “driving while black.” That does exist, I’m certain it does exist, not a stereotype. However, I don’t know if that’s—is that because the police officers are racially profiling, or is it because in whatever particular neighborhood or wherever this is occurring, chances are that whatever crime it is—? You know, if it’s an African American neighborhood, if there’s nine blacks and one white, obviously blacks are going to be pulled over more than whites. So, it depends on the demographics of that particular city or portion of the city where this is occurring.

Interview Transcript