Monday, November 30, 2009

Washington Cop Killer

I hope someone finds this piece of shit and that they throw him in solitary confinement somewhere to live out his days thinking about nothing, doing nothing, looking at nothing, laughing at nothing ... one of those 6 x 9 ft cells with a bed and a pisser ... Or a bed and a drain. I could give a shit what he does. I hope he's bored. I hope it's too loud to sleep and too dark to do anything but sit awake. Sit and think. And go insane. And to die knowing that he was a piece of shit.

I usually try to present my opinions on serious matters with a measure of even-handedness. I try to remove all possible judgment from my mind and my hands as they write. I am fascinated with the legal system and our laws and how we apply them to society. And in studying this area of knowledge, I have learned how important it is to keep an open and objective mind when thinking about the big answers in life. In a court of law, as in a written piece for a blog or publication, it is extremely important to keep personal and emotionally - charged words and rhetoric out of what we present. Once it gets "down and dirty" in the court room or in any other debate, people fail to take seriously what the impassioned speaker/writer is saying. Plainly speaking, I think that when we start hurling insults and personal slurs, we lose our credibility as an opinion-holder on issues that carry huge weight within our society.

Hearing this story about this asshole today pushed me to the limits of what I believe. My immediate instinct upon hearing about the crime is to think Let's hunt down that motherf*cker and kill it (yes, IT). My anger and rage and personal experience, personal relationships, and personal values produced that reaction in me. But I have come to know myself well enough and to know my own mind enough, that eventually I was able to think of what I truly believe and well, think. I simply don't believe that anyone has the right to decide whether or not another human being should live. My main reason is not rooted in religious or moral values (although I have my own faith and values, for sure) as much as it is in my observation that none among us living today is intelligent enough to hold so much deciding-power over another. When I say "intelligent," I mean intelligent in enough ways, while also being compassionate enough, while also being passionate enough about doing what is right for the self and the society, while also being fortunate enough and diligent enough to have been educated thoroughly in ALL the myriad issues that can be involved in such a decision. That is what I mean with the meager word: Intelligent. I think that if such a person existed, well, that would be our God. There is no human being who holds enough talent and skill and feeling, who is also able to weigh those things out in the proper measure for each individual case, for that person to be nominated Decider of Fate.

That being said, what happened to the slain officers and their loved ones, has long been one of my worst nightmares. I grew up in a law-enforcement family. I was raised by a police deputy - turned - 911 operator. A great number of family and friends served and are serving as police officers or civilian staff around our country. I know what it looks like, what it feels like, what life is all about when you are the family of a police officer. Just about six years ago, I fell in love with someone who is to this day a sheriff's officer. I know how it feels to wonder, to worry, and to learn to live with those feelings.

I know what it's like to see the clock approaching midnight, then passing it, when I haven't received a phone call yet ... wondering whether this could be the day that we all dread. I have sat and wondered whether I should go to sleep knowing the odds are in our favor that tomorrow will dawn as it always does, that he will have arrived home safely, just busy, just late. I have woken up on such a morning many, many times. "My" sheriff's officer had wanted to do that job since he could remember, since he was a boy. He admired his late uncle who had done the job. He loves his work, rarely complains about even the worst nights on the job, even the worst atrocities and ugliness that he sees in people, and he remains dedicated to his work. As partner to someone like that, I knew that I could never ask him to leave it. I knew that I would either have to accept it, learn to live with the down side of it, or I could leave. In most situations in life, I don't believe in asking those we love to choose. Besides, I wanted this person to do what he loves and what makes him happy. Learning to live with the job was part of learning to love him.

And most of us do learn. We learn to revel in the wonderful moments that also come with the job our police officers do. I was so very proud to go to a reception at the County Sheriff's Office one day to see my boyfriend accept an award for saving a life (an accident victim on whom he had successfully performed CPR). I love his "gallows" sense of humor, which is clever and dark and devastatingly funny. And I love him for being someone who wanted to help others, while being willing to accept the fact that most days on his job would not be opportunities to achieve awards and accolades; in fact, most days will be thankless and difficult. Some days are boring. There are politics and gossip and pettiness, as with most of our jobs and careers. For every life saved with CPR and other techniques, there are many who cannot be saved. It's difficult to face life and death and violence and ugliness and appreciating and expectation and fear and courage and fighting and drunkenness and always, always the unexpected; it is difficult to face these day after day and still come home to loved ones and family laughing at cartoons on TV and wanting to you to mow the grass. Life "out there" is something that no one who hasn't lived it can never fully understand. Sometimes it's hard to come home to the rest of us and BE one of us. Sometimes, I imagine, it's easier, even fun, to be the one who does just that.

So today, knowing all of this and having lived as the partner of a policeman, I could feel the horror that must have surged through the hearts of these victims' families. When that phone rang, or when someone appeared at their doors (I don't know how it went down), the fear and recognition of what was happening must have sunk thick and deep into their souls. This is the Thing that we all pray will not happen. This is the Thing that we try to prepare for, mentally, even knowing one can never really prepare. I made up my own mind long ago that this was my life if I was going to love this person. I made up my mind that, while it was unlikely this day would come for me (the odds are stilll much better that it won't), I would prepare as best as I could, and then I would let it be. I made up my mind to trust in the training and skillfulness and dedication of the one I loved and appreciate every day. And so it goes. For most of us, the dreaded call does not ever come. For most of us, life does go on, with all the daily joys and failures and tasks and events. For most of us, we do live with it in the back of our minds, but we do not dwell or live in fear and panic. For most of us, we kiss our loved one goodbye and make plans for when that person comes home. After all, there is always a chance that anything could happen to anyone. We all have only this moment Now, always.

But for the families of four suburban Seattle, WA officers today, that moment did come. Their loved ones were murdered this morning in cold blood by a psycho who should not have been allowed on our streets again, ever. I know how I would feel if I were them. I know that I would want to go murder the piece of shit with my own bare hands. That is anger. That reaction is hurt and pain and worry and loss and grief. Up until this morning, I knew exactly how the families felt, but now only a handful of us knows. I pray for all four families tonight, as I pray for law enforcement workers and their beloved every night. May God grant them peace and some measure of understanding in time.

Update 12-01-2009: Associated Press has received confirmation that the shooter has been apprehended by police and killed.

Update #2: A memorial service will be held for all four of the deceased officers at the Tacoma Dome. The service will begin at 1 p.m. on December 8. At press time organizers have said they expect more than 20,000 mourners and representatives of the national law enforcement community to attend.
**If you wish to make a charitable donation to the families of all or any of these officers, it can be sent directly to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild Fund; P.O. Box 99579; Lakewood, WA 98499. Those seeking further information may contact

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your words today.I'm keeping all those families in my prayers. It was interesting to hear about your feelings and what you have to do with them when you love a person in danger.I'm impressed with how you are able to articulate your feelings. Love to you,'s Aunt Lee. I can't seem to post under anything but Anonymous.