Sunday morning here in the Seattle area four Law Enforcement Officers were shot down in cold blood as they prepared for their day shifts by stopping at a local coffee shop. The shop, owned by a former officer, was well known as a gathering place for Law Enforcement Officers from a variety of nearby towns & from the State Patrol. I am so unbelievably saddened by this senseless tragedy. Four good people lost - for nothing other than one person's sheer, unexpurgated,evil insanity (and do not get me going on the insanity plea!). Yes, I do believe that some people are just born evil. These shooting come on the heels of another murder of a Police Officer on October 31st in which a second officer was badly wounded as well.
Law Enforcement Officers have affected my life and always for the better really. My first experience with a police officer was when I was six years old and a drunken family member began to shoot people at a dinner party. Several other children and I had been asleep in a back bedroom when this began and it was the calming voice of an officer who helped all of us youngsters understand what happened and why the house was filled with police. It was a difficult time, but he helped make it less so.
The second time was when I was about 15 years old. Feeling older than my years and having more freedom than most kids did I had felt no compunction about attending a night a concert at the Fillmore East in New York City - in the cities East Village. It must have let out around midnight and I was waiting for a bus to come to take me back uptown when an officer came up and asked my what a young girl was doing out so late and in that part of town. I am sure I answered with far more bravado than I felt - and I am also sure that I had felt invincible at that point in my life. That kind man waited with me until the next, safe, bus arrived to take me home. His kindness and words of caution remained with me - and I have been grateful to him all these years.
I was a part of the 'Woodstock generation' as I have mentioned in the past. Although I was not the sort to get into any trouble I felt my generation's ubiquitous distrust of Law Enforcement & I managed to do my best to stay clear of any situations that would warrant police presence! That was a good thing I suppose. I am not saying that I was an 'goody two-shoes' rather I am saying that I was a careful adventurer! My career in aviation manged to keep me on the straight and narrow - and I am always grateful that it did! I am sure that I managed to avoid a lot of potential heart ache by being in aviation with it's inherent drug and alcohol testing programs & it's relatively strong code of ethics in general. Despite what you may hear in the news, people in aviation are generally quite conservative and most pilots that I knew take their responsibilities very seriously.
My next exposure to Law Enforcement came at a very difficult time in my life when an ex was causing difficulties. Once again, it was two special officers who managed to help me hold it all together and get through it all.
Fast forward a bit. I married a deputy! Now, this caused some of my oldest friends to react with a moment of dead silence and an overheard 'gulp' when I told them that I had remarried, a police person but they all gradually have come to accept my more mature, conservative nature. I have been happily married to a wonderful, kind man who happens to also be a career Deputy for many years now. He never brings the work home.
What I am trying to get at, I suppose, is that for a great part of their time Law Enforcement Officers are the peace keepers, the ones who mange stressful situations on our behalf, the ones who offer a calm voice & a helping hand. For most of their careers, thank God, most officers are not involved in daily dealings with hardened criminals - but evil people are out there lurking - and so is the potential for danger. Sometimes, like today, brave men and women do pay the ultimate price for keeping us all safe, for holding our hands and for dealing with the stumbling down drunks and misdemeanor offenders. It sickens me - it really does.
So many families are now forever changed. The holidays will always bring sadness and the children will grow up with scars from the loss of their mothers and fathers. All death is sad. All death brings heart ache & pain. I know that people are killed senselessly in car accidents, sports accidents, odd quirks of fate but no one should die the way these officers did - preparing for work at a local coffee shop.
I am not generally a person who wishes ill on another - nor do I generally wish anything bad to happen to another person if I can stop myself. I pray however that they capture the perpetrator of this heinous crime right away and that the full extent of the legal system is brought to bear against this insane , evil criminal - and that the system works quickly & effectively.
No person, no law enforcement officer should have to risk their lives by buying a cup of coffee and preparing for work. No one should have to pay this price and it speaks so horribly about our society. I abhor violence - perhaps that's why this incident has left me with such a heavy heart today.
In another bit of sad personal news. Our 'boy', 'Chance' left the house after Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and never returned home. We don't know if the raccoons or fox got him, or if he slipped and went into the rushing creek. We are bother very sad and find it difficult to understand how we can be the 'parents' of only one cat - after having had 9 cats and our big, fluffy dog all at once not too long ago,
I named him "Chance" because he came to the vet I was working at at the time as a kitten. Someone had found him in their driveway. He had been poisoned - but the vet did not know by what. Possible anti-freeze. We did not expect him to last the night - but he did. I couldn't turn him away after that and so he joined my family which at the time consisted of 4 other felines. He became the special 'boy' for my spouse and they enjoyed many evenings together watching TV. It was mutual admiration I think! It's oddly much more quiet without him and I think we both half expect him to see him walk in the door - but after this long & this much cold & rain - we know it won't be happening. He was 16 and, having lost a lot of his sight as a result of the poison he still managed to be the stellar hunter of the group. His claws were very sharp. He will be missed.