The story Santa Rosa youth hear as they join activists in the streets to protest the killing of Andy Lopez is simple and compelling:
Andy was murdered by Deputy Erick Gelhaus, so justice must be demanded until the officer is held accountable. If Gelhaus is not charged with Andy's death, the narrative goes, that will be the next outrage.
Whether or not they want to hear it, young people incensed and anguished by Andy's death need to be told that most likely Deputy Gelhaus will not be charged with murder. Nor, most likely, should he be.
It serves the goals of some of the speakers at the current protests to declare that Gelhaus pulled his pistol and repeatedly shot a boy carrying what was obviously a harmless toy. But for that accusation to be true would be beyond extraordinary.
Unless proof is found to the contrary, Gelhaus almost certainly perceived and reacted to a threat that did not exist. He spotted Andy walking with a facsimile rifle and he made an error or errors in judgment.
Some don't want to hear that, that for a boy to be shot again and again could be deemed a mistake and not murder. But lives often are lost when people in responsible and critical jobs commit judgment errors — think of doctors, airline pilots, bridge builders, crane operators, train engineers.
If they err and people die it is horrendous, but it is not murder. Consequences are imperative, but vengeance is not acceptable.
Barring extraordinary findings, Andy Lopez died at the hands of a law-enforcement officer who was seeking to fulfill his duties but made a grievous error. And that doesn't fit with the script of some who address young marchers through bullhorns.
DUSTY WINGS: This may be the closest Sonoma County aviation buffs ever come to unearthing buried treasure.
A letter from out of the blue advised Christina Olds of the Pacific Coast Air Museum that a woman in Marin County wished to donate her airplane.
The other day, Olds and other members of the private airplane museum at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Museum received a set of keys from the donor, 85-year-old Marcia Dunn.
The key unlocked a hangar at the airport that no one in PCAM had ever seen open. Inside, shrouded in 40-plus years of dust, was a well-preserved silver-and-blue 1954 Cessna 170B. Marcia told Olds she'd bought it in '55 and flown it all over the country before she wheeled it into the hangar in 1971 and locked the door.
Olds has been wanting to add more civilian aircraft to a PCAM collection heavy with warplanes. She's eager to get this sweet little bird all cleaned up and its few blemishes repaired, then place it on display.
AND ON SATURDAY, a skyward rumble will announce the arrival of one other eagerly awaited addition to the air museum's collection.
The Navy is loaning PCAM a currently operable Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler, used for radar-jamming and electronic surveillance.
PCAM's Olds can't be certain when the Prowler will arrive from Washington State, but the Navy delivery crew aims for 1 p.m. Its pilot is expected to end its service with a couple of ceremonial passes before its final touchdown.