Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!
I warned you with the title... mad ramblings! It is 3 a.m. I cannot sleep. I have a headache. I feel stressed. For any of you who know me, you know that's not me. I'm usually quite happy-go-lucky-- downright flaky at times-- with a love and passion for life that is unparalleled. Tonight? Not so much. I am channeling my inner Grandma Rose (sweet little Rose's name sake) whose compassionate soul often took on the weight of the world with a quiet, inner strength.
Today began as any other. After the alarm went off, I reached for my phone to hop on FB to get all my latest news updates and make sure all is right with the world before I ventured out of bed. Little did I know that, over night, a video had gone viral. Curiosity got the better of me and I hit play. It's not a "good" video. The video shows a confrontation between a suspect and the police in which his dog got loose and was shot by one of the officers. Although, quite frankly, not a dog fan, I am a fan of life and respect for life, so of course I was affected by watching the dog be killed. However, what I could not really believe is the incredible BACKLASH against the officers involved in the video who were, according to most, displaying a gross use of force against this poor, innocent dog-owning man who was just minding his own business and recording the police situation. No one seemed to question the owner's responsibility in the whole showdown that occurred. It was immediate police bashing as those officers SURELY had neither no need to shoot, nor DARE to arrest the innocent dog-owner who was video-taping the situation. Oh, let me tell you, the police officer wife in me was OUTRAGED.
I like to think of myself as the perfect candidate to be a police officer's wife. I don't sweat the small things. I have great faith. Therefore, I don't lie awake at night when my husband is on duty obsessing that tonight could be the night that he won't come home to me. Most of the time those thoughts are compartmentalized and pushed to the recesses of my mind, where they exist, but don't consume me. Of course there are times, like this time when I was headed down Rt. 1 on my way to a playdate for my then only kiddo when I heard sirens and saw a police car speeding by me and, lo and behold, it was my husband turning into a townhouse community going full throttle. I must admit I was worried during that entire playdate and had a hard time focusing as I knew he wasn't going lights and sirens to do a wellness check on an elderly woman (He's been known to do that, you know, wellness checks on elderly folk. Once he did it on his day off, bringing our oldest, who was a baby at the time, because what old lady doesn't love babies, to bring her a new phone because hers was broken...police officers do these types of things all the time...it's who they are). But, it is not at all often when the reality of what my husband does is thrown in my face, so life went on.
Of course, there was that other time almost 5 years ago now that really affected me and that I struggled with for awhile. There was a local school shooting here: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Shots-Fired-at-Northern-Virginia-Community-College-78796192.html. Luckily I didn't know about any of it until I later talked with my husband as I was consumed with a busy day as a working momma. I was frustrated, though, because John was supposed to come pick our then 18 month old from me so that I could fully participate in the "Mommy and Me" soccer class with our then 3 year old. Little did I know his tardiness was the least of my troubles as he was held up because he was part of that first group of officers who responded and went straight INTO the shooting situation when most normal people were running out. Luckily, the shooter's gun jammed, so he was sitting there, peacefully awaiting arrest when they found him. I struggled for awhile after with the fact that, on his way to the call, his only thoughts were of GETTING there and stopping carnage... not of the wife and kids that he had at home or his own, personal safety. I'm sure I realized in my heart of hearts that this is who he was long ago when I married him. However, it's one thing to know something in your heart of hearts and another, completely, to be dashed with a bucket of cold water reality. I struggled for awhile with the reality of our situation and the knowledge that, in the heat of the moment, he would, again, run forward to save others without looking back. But, as will happen with my insomnia of tonight, life does go on and those realities get pushed back into the recesses.
It all came back to me today, however, with the harsh reality that the general public HATES police officers, DISTRUSTS police officers, JUDGES polices officers as if they have the first CLUE what it is like to wear a uniform and be put in situations where, guess what folks, THERE IS NO TIME TO THINK! You know what is keeping me up tonight? The fact that my husband (who is but one of many, but, of course my favorite and own, personal hero) would be running into dangerous situations such as a school shooting to rescue people, cowering for cover and suddenly finding God, who are the SAME people who responded to the Hawthorne video like this (here are just a few of my favorite)...
It's nice to know that my husband would lay down his life for people who have such high regard for him and his. It doesn't make me bitter at all or angry (insert sarcasm here).
Now, let me reiterate, I am not, at all, saying that the police officer should have or should not have shot the dog. I simply taking GREAT offense (I know I shouldn't, but I do) to the backlash on these officers because it very well COULD have been my husband in this situation. He has been in many situations where he has had to draw his weapon. One particularly insane situation comes to mind where he not only had to draw his weapon, but there was a real possibility that he was going to have to fire... all the while being filmed by a bystander who, I'm sure, was hiding behind his rights to "occupy a public place" and film when, in reality, he was probably just looking for his own 15 seconds of fame hoping that John did pull the trigger so that he could take his video to media outlets and crucify him. I don't know what it is like to be the officer in that situation. But I do know what it is like to help one decompress and it isn't pretty. Guess what folks? Police officers aren't gun-happy people who can't WAIT to shoot a moving target. Most pray that they never have to deploy their weapon. And, God forbid if they ever do, do people stop and think of the impact killing someone (or, in this case something) has on someone who is sworn to serve and protect? No. They jump to judgement and tell, from the comfort of their own home, how the officer surely didn't need to do what s/he did. Guess what people? Again, I've never been in the situation personally, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that in such high pressure situations, police officers aren't THINKING. They don't have TIME to think. It's life or death. It's kill or be killed. You take time to rationalize and draw up a t-chart on pros and cons of firing your gun and guess what? You're dead. It's instinct and adrenaline at that point. Does that always end in happily ever after? Of course not. But instead of sitting back in the comfort of your homes assuming what it's like, in this case, to have an 80lb rottweiler pissed off at YOU, why don't we look at what LED to the situation in the first place?? How about some personal responsibility for the dog owner?
What you don't see on the video, is that the police were responding to an ARMED ROBBERY situation that escalated into a barricade situation. They did not arrest this guy because he was filming as countless people would try to lead you to believe... there were plenty of other people filming. They went to arrest this guy because during the high stakes situation that they were handling, this guy was taunting them and blaring music and impeding their ability to respond to the dangerous situation at hand. That is not okay. THAT is why they went to arrest him. The dog owner made the conscious choice to be disruptive. He could have, at any time, walked away and stood, quietly filming, with the rest of the crowd for his shot at his 15 seconds of fame. But he did not. He CHOSE not to. The officers there were responding to him and, unfortunately, his poor dog who happened to be at the mercy of his thoughtless owner.
I'm done. I had to get all the toxins swirling around in my head OUT so that I may sleep. The purpose of this writing is NOT to get into the debate of whether or not the officer should have shot the dog. How can I make such a judgement, in good conscience, when I know nothing about what it was like to be in that situation? It is to get all those police haters out there to realize that police officers are human. They are good people, REAL people. I love my husband and am incredibly proud of what he does on a daily basis to help the community in which we raise our little family and of the example he sets for them. I am also blessed to know many of his co-workers who share that same ethic and willingness to rush into harms way to serve and protect. Please think before you rush to judge or criticize. And, only positive comments, please. If you want to assert your 1st amendment rights to free speech as I am here, find your own piece of internet. This one is mine.
Mad ramblings are over. Tomorrow I promise to be back to my chipper self... or, at the very least, cover the cra-cra a little better! ;)