As I write this, there have been 14 officers slain in the line of duty, 9 from gunfire (plus 1 accidental). Once Officer David Moore is “official”, it becomes 15/10. In the last 24 hours, 11 police officers have been shot at (that we know of, likely numerous others). Deputies, officers, campus police, federal agents. What they all hold in common is “the thin blue line”.
Their job is ” not just protecting and serving. It’s preserving that buffer that exists in the space between what you think the world is, and what the world really is.” (I quoted that here) I’ve heard that death “is just part of their job” when it was remarked about another officer who GAVE their lives (they did not lose it, they intentionally gave it to protect their citizens). No one says that to tellers, convenient store clerks, or soldiers when they die. So why with officers? Is it because we do not care? Is it because we are so angry with the speeding ticket that we don’t feel we deserved that we can callously ignore the death of an officer? I really want to think I live in a better world. But it’s gradually proving me faulty to hope in humanity’s decency.
I’ve needed cops before. When I had a car stolen in 1996 in Moraine, they came out. When I panicked and could not remember my alarm code fast enough in Dayton in 2000, they came out then too. When my grandmother’s house was broken into all those years ago, the KSP came out. And the list goes on. I hope I never need them again. But they are there when life goes bad. And they are there for us all. They are the ones who have to inform you that a loved one was in an accident…and didn’t make it. They are the ones who have to investigate why someone hit a tree at 70 MPH and try to find the missing body parts. They are the ones who have to go to the crime scene and figure out that the drive did not see the pedestrian because they were going too fast because they were 5 minutes late. They are the ones who start CPR until the paramedics arrive (and I have SEEN that happen). They are the ones who have to calmly explain your ticket and explain that 52 in a 35 is speeding no matter how good the excuse, maybe after just getting shot at. They try to cram lunch/dinner and typing up endless reports and redundant paperwork into a 30 minute lunch (which they can NOT take if it is busy). They are the ones who are suffering with PTSD (its estimated that 15-20%) and feel it every time the computer sends them on a call. And they are the ones who have the horror they’ve seen haunt them in their dreams.
I don’t say this to make you feel sorry for them. As Officer Mark Bruns told me once, “Don’t feel sorry for us. We chose this life”. I tell you this to make you FEEL.
I’m setting my profile picture to the thin blue line. Not because I am a cop. I do it to honor the dead, as well as the living.
Also, for those of you who are Christians and believe in the power of prayer, here are some prayer points I posted last spring.