Wednesday, February 24, 2016

No Routine Calls

If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that's pretty good. I think that's what the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too.”
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

Law enforcement officer death.

Each time an officer falls, whether by an act of a madman or of happenstance, it represents an individual loss, a singular sacrifice. No matter how many... Each man or woman leaves behind grieving friends and family, struggling to make sense of why them, why their cop.

Today's loss - Park County Corporal Nate Carrigan - looks, at first blush, like an unusual situation. It wasn't. It is the bread and butter call, the ordinary delivery of a court order after a long and acrimonious legal battle.

Without knowing all of the facts (I do not pretend to possess inside information) this is an example of what law enforcement officers encounter on a fairly regular basis. The murderer appears to have been known to the small community. He was not bashful about his views, nor about his associations. He was linked with a fringe group. He made representations that suggest he had conflated his protections under our Constitution with a peculiar opinion that he need not pay his mortgage for obscure and convoluted reasons. His protestations of persecution included a lurid (and almost certainly embellished) encounter with law enforcement. He owned at least one firearm. When deputies arrived to serve him with paperwork he opened fire.

This call, and many thousands like it, are what police officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers do for a living. An ordered society has laws. Enforcement of those laws ensures that citizens who obey them have the advantage of safety, security and freedom. Dealing with those who presume to suggest that the laws don't apply to them falls to...

Law enforcement. Eventually, cops are sent to deal with assholes like this guy. That's what the job is all about. The good people of a community know that there are men and women who will go someplace and deal with something that represents grave risk. They can go about their own productive lives in peace, secure in the understanding that men like Corporal Carrigan are on duty.

Another mask on the badge. Another good and decent person taken from his community. For nothing? For something mundane and routine?

There is no such thing as a routine call. Every time an officer faces danger, they are doing it for one simple reason.

They serve the higher calling that says "Pick me. I'll go."

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