Sunday, November 01, 2009

Too Close To Home...

It happened just after 10:00PM last night...10:05 to be nearly exact. I had been spending my Hallows in meditation, fasting, and in introspect, when I heard the first volley of gunfire. Seven shots...I counted them. Then, a brief pause followed by 10 more. I know THIS, too, because I counted them (contrary to what the local news is reporting).

The sound of gunfire is NOT all that unfamiliar in the part of Seattle where I live...frankly, I'm not sure it is unfamiliar in MOST areas of any city these days. But THIS particular gunfire was not that far away from my home...within minutes, maybe two, I heard the sounds of multiple sirens racing over the streets and saw the Seattle Police Department zipping up and down the road. There was a frantic quality to the response last night...not that SPD doesn't ALWAYS respond quickly to most calls. But this was no ordinary call of "shots fired".


Last night, a Seattle Police officer was gunned down while sitting in his cruiser less than 1/2 mile from my home. He was killed in the first volley of seven shots I heard. News reports say an unknown gunman simply pulled up along side the police cruiser and opened fire...there was no provocation and no warning. This officer was literally assasinated for no particular reason...other than he was wearing the familiar blue uniform and badge.


I don't personally know the murdered officer...news reports say he was a training officer and was in the middle of a training shift with a rookie only one month on the job. Of course, the news is ALSO reporting a variance in the number of shots fired. I KNOW the exact count...I listened to it, looked at my watch, and waited to hear the sounds of sirens in hopeful response. The sound seemed too far away for me to identify a location for a 911 operator.


The words, "senseless crime", seem like SUCH a completely strange combination of words when trying to make sense of this tragedy. After all, isn't ALL crime senseless? But to literally assasinate a police officer, or ANY human being for that matter, leaves me speechless...and very, very sad.


I work very closely with the Seattle Police force in my "govmet" job...time and time again, these officers have covered MY arse when dealing with a potentially violent mentally ill patient. They go in first, securing the way for ME to enter to do my job. They cover MY back...keeping me safe so that I might ALSO protect the public in the role I have...whether that be protecting a suicidal individual or someone who's mental illness causes them to want to harm others.


It was through my job I learned about the "black stripe" on an officer's badge...an SPD officer kindly told me what the piece of tape meant that he was wearing on his badge when I somewhat dumbly inquired, not knowing the depth of the significance. I was told whenever an officer is killed in the line of duty, the force dons their badges with a black stripe to signify the mourning of the fallen officer...it is their "memorial" of sorts to their commrade.


The killing of the SPD officer last night hits too close to home, not just on a geographical level, but a personal/emotional one as well. I am keenly reminded of the inherent dangers of working as a public servant myself. I am often tasked with making safety decisions in MY job whether or not to request a police escort into a situation or whether I feel "safe" entering with only my work partner and the sole weapon we carry...our brains. The majority of the time, we make the appropriate decision about our safety and the safety of the population we serve. But there is always a margin of possibility we might miscalculate our sense of safety and find ourselves in dangerous situations. These are the risks we take...every day. And EVERY DAY at the end of the day, I am quite thankful yet another has gone by without injury or harm to myself, my colleagues, or the population we serve.


And EVERY DAY, I am always thankful the men and women in blue of the Seattle Police Department are available to me if I need them...willing to "go in" first so that I might safely do my job. I don't have a *badge* to carry in my job...so today, I'm simply putting a black piece of tape across my heart and honoring these courageous officers...

8 comments:

Have Myelin? said...

....putting a black tape across my heart too, Du.

The Pitter Patter Boutique said...

Me too.

Such a tragedy. Your post has really made me thankful for my husband. He's an Officer of the war I guess you can say. Deployed four times so far. I need to show my appreciation to him for doing what he does everyday for me, and everyone else.

Denver Refashionista said...

Tha's scary, crazy...

Blindbeard said...

They are trying to cut back money to the FD and PD here and I can't think of a dumber thing to cut back on. When you call 911 don't you want someone there to come help you? Or would you prefer an automated menu of options? My brother-in-law is a fireman and puts himself in harms way everyday. He even saved a bunch of kittens the other day, so we treated him to a nice dinner.

Sara said...

My mum just started volunteering at her local ambulance corps, she'll start off driving the ambulance and next year she'll take the EMT course. I wish there were more people like my mum out there helping out the PD & FD!

Michelle said...

Tears in my eyes, tugs in my heart for the officer, for you and still hope for mankind.

Stay inspired!
Michelle
Expand your mind ~ visit my brain

pUNKrOCKfairy said...

Stories like these hit me harder now that my little brother is a cop, and I feel guilty that not ALL the horrible stories out there hit as hard. I suppose if they did the pain would be unbearable and overwhelming, and fear would paralyze us all. Congratulations on your courage to carry on with the work that you do, and thank God for the courageous men and women of our police and armed forces.

Grandpa Oddball said...

Been off the computer for awhile so infortunately missed this poignant story which hits home because my son-in-law is a Seattle fire fighter and as Blindbeard notes this is just as dangerous. I see they caught the guy but it's no solace for the family. As you say; too close to home.