In the past 24 hours, there have been ambush shootings of police officers in Dallas, Texas, Valdosta, Georgia, and Ballwin, Missouri. Five officers are dead and at least 9 are wounded. Some in the law enforcement community are in shock, others are very angry.
Family, friends, and concerned citizens have been reaching out to those in our profession with support. Food arrived at our station today, donated by sympathetic locals in appreciation for what we do. A retired officer called and asked that we be careful out on the street. My cousin, an officer in New Jersey, Facebooked me a “watch your back” message.
The conversation as my guys arrived at work was not only about the shootings, but of the reactions by their loved ones as they departed from their homes this morning. Wives, husbands, and children reportedly had varying emotions. I know I lingered with my spouse a bit longer at the front door on my way out.
It was somber as we watched the news at lunch. Details were still unfolding about the tragedy in Dallas and we quietly poured out our thoughts, along with the occasional biting comment. It was as if our own family had been assaulted. I guess it was. All during the day, my thoughts returned to the downed officers and their families.
After many, many years in this job, the word “why” has faded from importance to me. Victims, especially of violent crimes, often seek to find solace, understanding, or closure in “why.” But the motivations of those driven by hate and darkness are inconsequential in my mind.
If criminals, terrorists, and zealots are unafraid to viciously attack the police, then what does that say about the safety of everyday citizens? We need to continue to watch over each other and those whom we are sworn to protect. I have nothing but admiration for the men and women who run toward the sound of gunfire. Dial up the officer safety and let’s get on with our work.