We lost another brother, the latest on a growing list in a year that’s just begun.
But that’s “his job,” isn’t it? It’s “what he signed up for.” “He knew what he was getting into.”
I suppose in a way he did.
He knew that his life would be on the line, that his time would never be his own, and that the smallest human error could lead to tragedy. He knew that his mistakes would never be forgotten and that his quiet sacrifice would be ignored. He knew that his uniform would be both blessing and curse, and that there would be times he doubted what it was worth.
His brothers and sisters carry on, and the battle of good vs. evil continues.
The good will fight the evil – always – but now we are living in a time when evil often seems encouraged, when it is the good who must fight to survive against all odds; when the court of public opinion works so fast and so viciously that the facts almost seem irrelevant.
It is a time when a uniform that once meant honor and respect is now a target. Not only a target for a criminal with a gun, but a target for ignorant minds, deceptive tongues, and hateful hearts.
More times than he can count, he answers a call, only to be cursed and spit on, and many times he has been told, “I wish someone would shoot YOU!”
And yet, when that call comes – he answers.
He answers to the battered woman who has finally found the strength to walk away. He answers the cry of the little girl, whose father has put her in hell on earth. He holds the tiny body of a baby lost amid the chaos and torment of drugs and crime, and as the lifeless little fingers touch his, he thinks of his babies at home.
His heart will never be the same.
He fights the man three times his size who just violently beat an elderly man… but when he cuffs him, the crowd screams “brutality” and curses his name.
He sees demons on the streets, and relives their presence in his dreams.
He listens to the chatter around him, and he knows they cannot understand his thoughts.
He walks alone, even in a crowd, always watching, always listening, always so painfully aware of that side of humanity most of us are never near.
They keep it away from us. Those men and women, weighed down by so much more than the gear they carry – they are the reason we live the way we do. That criminal never made it into your home because they stopped him, and that little girl has a chance to heal her broken mind and body because they pulled her out of hell. It’s a losing battle, some would say, against crime and against evil, but it’s a battle they will never stop fighting.
They are quite literally giving their lives for your safety.
They are facing nightmares you never will, and are tormented by memories you can’t imagine.
They are leaving their own babies and spouses and families behind, at a greater risk than you will ever take.
They are crying for a brother lost, whose name you will not remember.
But they are still here, heads held high, ready to put on that uniform and carry that shield, to fight the fight again today.
Remember all of them.
They are giving their lives for you.