Monday, December 1, 2014

To Protect and Serve: The one in which I call bullshit

I spent a week away from social media. I needed time to sort this out. I needed time to feel less defensive and grow a gentle heart towards those who can never understand my situation. I prayed, I read reports, I asked my husband a million questions, I pondered all the sides, I prayed some more, I wrote, rewrote, deleted and tried again. Here's where I stand today: 

Today, my children are too young to be aware of the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. Yet, I must prepare myself today, because someday they will no longer be too young. Someday the questions will come flooding out of them, and when that happens it's too late for me to start trying to figure it out. 

I can hear them already. Every time I see the news, every time I read a Facebook post, every time I read an article, every time I overhear a conversation. I hear my children's tiny voices and what they will say when they are old enough to be aware of national events. 

I have sympathy for the momma who is without her son. I have compassion for an entire race of God's creation who feels like they have to fight for their right to basic human respect. I don't pretend to be blind to the fact that racism is real and this world is a sad and fallen place. But, I also can't go along pretending that your police bashing posts have no effect on me. 

I don't know Darren Wilson. I only know what the rest of the world has been told about him by the media. But here's what you may not know. Darren Wilson is my husband. No, not literally. But because I love a Law Enforcement Officer, every single word spoken about Officer Wilson hits my heart as though it's spoken about MY OFFICER. 

MY OFFICER, whom I hug and kiss before whispering, "I love you. Be safe," as he heads out the door every day knowing full well he may never make it back to my arms. 

MY OFFICER, who kisses my babies' booboos when they fall down. The one who snuggles them to sleep on his rare nights off. The one who held my hands and prayed like crazy, and was the perfect source of strength and comfort for me, as I groaned and cried and brought their little bodies into this world. 

MY OFFICER, who tackled a man who was stupid and reckless enough to intentionally light himself on fire. My husband who rolled around with him on the ground until the fool was put out and safe.

MY OFFICER, who bear hugged the guy who was high on bath salts and hell bent on destroying himself and anything in his path. Who called me on his way home and said, "I'm covered in blood, but most of it isn't mine," while I started the shower and turned the washer on hot to attempt to rid his uniform of the damage left behind. My husband, who waited with me for 72 nervous hours for the blood results to come back clearing him of any...well, you can only imagine. 
MY OFFICER, who turned around and put his bare hand on an open stab wound to help save a victim of a horrible crime. The love of my life, who didn't say, "Uh, hang on a minute while I run and grab some gloves. Uh, try not to bleed out." 

MY OFFICER, who fought back the tears as he wrote the case notes required of him, taking down the time of death while standing in the back of the ER watching a momma sob because her tiny baby was gone without any explanation at all. 

MY OFFICER, who has worked all hours, all holidays, all horrible circumstances you could possibly imagine, not for his own benefit, but because of the duty to which he has promised. 

I met him on "TP&S" was his username. "To Protect & Serve." It's who he is. It's every beat of his heart. He leaves his wife and children, whom he is crazy in love with, to go out and serve a world that hates him.  A world that damns him Monday for a traffic stop and calls him Tuesday for a domestic. He does it because he is determined to make the world a better place. 

Yes, there are awful cops out there. Just like there are awful doctors, awful teachers, and awful anything else. Read the statistics and you will see in an instant that the good FAR outweigh the bad. I can't account for any other man, but mine is good. Damn good. I'm telling you, if they were to perform open heart surgery on the man, I would quite literally expect to see gold. His heart is truly that kind. 

I want to tell you to imagine, just for a minute, that it was your husband. Imagine the love of your life stuck inside his car by someone else's body weight against him, being battered, and unable to escape, attempts being made to disarm him, to turn his own weapon against him. Then tell me you wish he would've just sprayed some mace in the guy's eye. Tell me, honestly, that you'd be there cheering through the window, "Honey, be gentle with him!" Go ahead and tell me, and I'll tell you...BULLSHIT. 

I can't speak for Officer Wilson, but I can hope that MY OFFICER will make it home to me. I can hope that whether his offender is black, white, purple, or family, that he will do what he needs to do. I can hope that if someone is battering him, confining him, and attempting to disarm him and use his own weapon to harm him that he will put an end to that nonsense and come home and kiss me. After all, his promise to protect and serve doesn't remove the value from his life. His life holds value, too. 

What about the other case that's not receiving quite as much screen time, the 12 year old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police. We can entertain those ideas, too. Go ahead and imagine your husband asking a male, reported as looking to be about 20 years old, to show his hands and being faced with a gun instead. Did you see that gun? I see weapons everyday and would never have guessed it to be anything besides a handgun. Can you tell me you would want your husband to stop to ask politely if the gun was real? Or perhaps the age of the person wielding it? "Well, since you're only 12, I'm just going to stand here and hope you don't shoot?"  BULLSHIT. 

I want to tell you to imagine, but I realize that you probably can't. So, let me tell you...

He is a good man. Nearly all of them are good men and women. I know. I've read the statistics, and more importantly, they are my friends. I've delivered food to their homes after the birth of a baby, I've laughed at their parties, and cried at their funerals, I've prayed for their safety with their spouse's hand in mine. They've show up at my house when my husband was gone and I needed help, they've cleaned my house when I was too sick to stand. They know my babies nicknames, and their favorite treats. 

They make a promise to protect and serve, and all too often, at the price of their own lives. But that promise is  to be a servant, not a martyr. They WANT to make it home. It's mind boggling to me to live in a world that clearly demonstrates the selfish nature of so many people, and yet it's made out to be inappropriate for my husband to desire to protect his own life. 

And let's not even get started on the fact that when this world isn't so self absorbed to be taking countless "selfies" that they can find a minute to turn their phones around and video record every move an officer makes. We live in a world where a man or woman in uniform is required to make a split second decision in the face of immediate danger, knowing full well the video will be ultra-zoomed and super-slowed to allow all of the nation to nitpick the very hairs in their nose. If you don't have the balls to strap Kevlar to your chest everyday, I wish you'd turn off your damned camera and shut your mouth. But, alas...America, so I know better. 

See, the problem isn't "racism" alone. The problem is hate. When you are hated because of your skin color it's called racism. But , what's it called when you are hated because of your profession? It's called the life of law enforcement. And hate is a learned behavior, one I absolutely refuse to teach my children. 

So, all of this leads me here, to what I will tell my babies when they inevitably need to know, because none if my adult language above will be fit for their ears. 

"Your Daddy is a good man. He made the very best decision he could at the time. I believe in him even when it's hard and unpopular.  He didn't do a "bad thing," but there's a chance that what he did didn't turn out the best way.  Sometimes people make really bad decisions, and even though Daddy tries to help them, sometimes they just keep being mean and nasty. There are so many people in this town who need Daddy's help, that part of his job is making sure he is able to go on tomorrow and help more people. Sometimes that means that someone who is trying to hurt him has to be stopped. If they won't respect his words, he has to use his other tools to do his job. So, we'll go on doing the same thing we always do. We'll pray for God to be with Daddy every breath and every step, because God is in control of this, and He loves your Daddy, and He always does what's right."

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