Friday, November 20, 2015

Heroes, Horrors and Hope

The news hasn't been very good for us, lately. The events in Paris have reinforced a fact - the fight against Radical Islamic-based terror, if it really is that, may be global and involve the military, but cops end up being the ones shooting back when the attacks begin. France had several of her cops get wounded, and a police dog died when a terrorist blew herself up. The ferocity of the firefights is reflected in a shield used to protect officers entering the concert hall.

Here at home, a State Trooper was killed in a hit and run DUI accident. She was married, and had a small child at home. The suspect is a retired military veteran. He was briefly held in jail, but will probably spend some period of years in prison for his act. Suspects also murdered a California cop, apparently in an effort to rob him. He was a combat veteran described by his chief as the kind of guy you'd like to clone. Three people are in custody, perhaps to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Amid the tumult, I read a Facebook post yesterday. It is the story of a young officer I know, who responded to a shoplifting call. This petty crime opens an array of doors, from encountering professional thieves, hardened criminals and those who steal because it their nature to the true hardship cases and everything in between. It really does happen that a person, down on their luck, steals because they have no money and are hungry. Sometimes, they are taking something for someone else in need. Illegal, but as a human being the "choice of evils" is evident.

My friend encountered a "person in need" situation and reacted the way good officers do. She investigated, did what she had to do and then bought the item for the individual with her own money.

It is the second such response in recent memory. Another of our officers arranged social services for a homeless man living with his young child in a vehicle. That situation included the officer digging into his own pocket to pay for lodging.

It is not unusual for officers working among homeless to pay for their lunch from time to time. Most us us carried a "Throwdown Five" for those situations where someone we knew was hungry and totally broke.

In a world filled with horrors there is hope. People behind the badge continue to be human beings who reach out to others, and each other, in tough times. If those of us in blue stand together, it is because we represent, at our core, the notion that service to our communities, be it running to the sound of guns or to the sound of a citizen in need of a few bucks, raises us all up.

Nice job. Everyone.

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