Revisted: April 7, 2002 / by Justin Merriman

This photo is from 2002 and was shot while I was working for the Valley News Dispatch. In the photo, Vincent Green, 11, (left), Christian Maroni, 6, (center), and Brandon Bachman, 9, (right) all of Tarentum, play cops and robbers outside of Christian's home in Tarentum. I had been driving around feature hunting for awhile, as we do often in the newspaper business. When I turned a corner in Tarentum I saw these kids playing. I quickly pulled my car over and got out and began shooting. I only got off about a half dozen frames off before the kids noticed me and the moment was lost. When I went back to the newspaper my friend and colleague Jeff Swensen helped me edit through the series of photos. We picked the one we liked best, decided it looked best in black & white and I showed it to the city editor. He quickly told me that because of the content it would never run in the paper. Kids playing with guns isn't something the newspaper wants to condone. I argued that the photo has to run because of its content. I've always felt the photo was innocent in nature but spoke to a larger issue of our times.