Did you ever wonder what it might be like to constantly meet people on what could possibly be the worst day of their lives? Human nature dictates that at some point during our daily lives, laughter and feel-good vibes are part of being alive. A stressful job, after all, has breaks from the grind, either for lunch or early morning and afternoon timeouts for a spell. A cop on the beat in the City rarely is afforded that routine expectation. At any given time our routine of 95% alert patrol can and does in lots of cases escalate quickly to sheer terror. Being a Cop sometimes entails being a Counselor, a guardian, a priest, a social worker, a mind reader, an empath, a Seal or a trained Ninja. That feeling of being just one radio call away from never returning home again is a constant that never goes away.
After watching the Academy Awards and listening to some of those folks take shots at the police, I could not help to think how a bunch of folks who play other people, including cops for a living, in movies that are written and directed for entertainment, could possibly know what the everyday life of a cop was about. Imagine just this weekend there were two attempts to assassinate multiple cops in New York, leaving two cops wounded. In Chicago, a police officer was confronted immediately by a gunman who opened fire as the officer was exiting his car after a radio call of a disturbance in a bar at 5 AM. Killing another human being no matter the circumstances is a traumatic event and yet that's what the officer had to do. Three hours earlier 3 people were confronted in Chicago's Chinatown by an armed robber. Two men who did not respond to the robbers liking were shot and killed on the spot. An alert cop on patrol chased down the subject and took him into custody. The night before a veteran Chicago Police Detective committed suicide with her own gun. Thus becoming the 8th Chicago cop to commit suicide in the last year. At an earlier scene, officers were confronted with a 7-year-old child wounded on the street laying next to her dead father, fatally wounded in the same hale of gunfire.
Lots of people barely glance at the few stories I mentioned here. Who doesn't get that? Most folks would rather concentrate on the positive side of life and unless it's a heater story most of what a cop deals with goes unnoticed. For them, the stress, and the constant pounding of negativity, violence, and suffering take a toll that is difficult to register in others. Police officers cannot and do not turn away from ugly and grotesque situations because it's what the profession demands. Sometimes you shine a light on it just to keep it from bottling up inside. Most of us I would confess are of the thick skin variety but at times we wonder who doesn't know that cops are subject to human frailty as the population in general, even more so probably due to the constant exposure to violence and negativity and having that front seat to all that human suffering. There is just no escaping it. There are demons to fight off without question.
Friedrich Nietzsche the great German philosopher may as well been talking to cops and warriors when he said, " THOSE WHO FIGHT WITH MONSTERS MIGHT TAKE CARE LEST HE/SHE THEREBY BECOMES A MONSTER. AND IF YOU GAZE LONG INTO THE ABYSS, THE ABYSS GAZES ALSO INTO YOU." This quote I kept in every office I had as a police supervisor. No matter how educated or how much a candidate is screened and trained when applying for a position in law enforcement, we still have to deal with what exists, THE HUMAN ELEMENT. I didn't write this for any type of sympathy or as an excuse for bad behavior. I hoped that maybe when somebody when talking to millions of people, such as a Hollywood actor, maybe you'll have a little more of an understanding of just what we are about.
Police officers, as well as soldiers and health professionals, people who stand on the front lines of humanity, know something about life. The human condition that others or most people couldn't grasp. Lots of people think the world is a better place than it actually is or was. We have to deal with the world as it is not how we would like it. The oldest and most intuitive of all biological decisions "Do Battle or Flee." Cops don't flee, they could use a little support. Serving and Protecting at times gets complicated especially to outsiders, no matter how much they think they know.
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