In light of recent events, I wanted to share a few other thoughts in Little Bits of Life. There was and is much more weighing on my mind that I wanted to share but here is some of it…
It takes a very special type of person to go into any type of service related field. By the service related field (and there are many occupations that fall under this heading), I’m talking medical personnel, firefighters, and police officers. I don’t think that I would ever have made a good nurse or nurse’s aid. I know I would never have made a good doctor. I am just not cut out for that type of work. I don’t think I could have ever made a firefighter. I run away from flames, not into them. And I know I could not have made a good police officer, especially in today’s day and age. But these people volunteer for these types of jobs. It has to be some sort of a “calling,” to be truly able to put everyone else first and rush into situations that everyone around is fleeing.
I have been thinking so much about all of these types of workers, these first responders who arrive onto the scene of a terrible traffic accident where many are hurt or worse. Those who make life and death decisions in a split second to try to save my life, or your life, or if neither of us can be saved, they move on to another that can be. Those members of our society that run into hundred story buildings, even as they are falling down around them, to try to save as many human lives as possible, all while knowing they are most likely not getting out of the situation alive. And now, those who run into the gunfire to protect innocent lives around them, instead of running for their own lives and their own safety.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve known “many” police officers in my lifetime. But I am, and have been acquainted with a few. I’ve known County Sheriff’s deputies, State Troopers, even local town and city police, and even some retired officers. They are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends, companions, wives and husbands; they are human beings! Some of them are very humble people, not seeking any recognition for themselves, but all honor to the job, to the brotherhood. I’ve met a few that have, for lack of a better way of putting it, “terrible attitudes;” infact, one Retired State Trooper that I met many years ago, I took him aside and asked him if they took all Troopers to special classes at the Police Academy to make them smart-asses, because at that time, every trooper that I’d met (which was like a grand total of like 3) were jerks. I’ve also met some officers who were the epitome of the Barney Fife character from Andy Griffith, and were afraid of their own shadow. All of them, regardless of attitude though, have the same oaths that they take at the beginning of their careers. “On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, the community, and the agency I serve, so help me God.” (Found online at http://www.vachiefs.org/index.php/programs/oath_of_honor/) Regardless of what I think about a certain officer’s personallity, those words say a lot to me. Honor, Integrity, Courage, Accountable for our Actions, uphold the Constitution. Wow! Individually the words aren’t much, but together this way, they hold a lot of meaning and a lot of power.
Almost 2 years ago, I was pulled over for speeding on the interstate by a State Trooper. When he approached my car, he had no idea what he was getting into or who he would find behind the wheel of that little red car. He wasn’t really what I would call a nice man. He had attitude. He was very gruff, very stern. And in all honesty, his attitude kind of hurt my feelings a bit, not because he gave me a ticket (which he reduced to a reasonable amount of speed over the posted limit - by the way - and he didn’t have to do that), but more because I was trying my best to be kind and there really wasn’t any kindness coming back in return. After that incident though, I have pondered the day and that moment many times. I have no way of knowing what that man had seen that day, or the day or week before. I don’t know if he’d just come from a horrible wreck and was hoping and praying that I wouldn’t be the cause of or involved in another one. I don’t know if his kid had been up sick all night long. I don’t know if maybe that is just this guy’s normal attitude, and in all actuality, it’s not my place to question that Trooper’s attitude. Do I wish he could have been a bit nicer, yes, but I was speeding. I was the one in the wrong. I was the one who had broken a law with which he’d been sworn to uphold. Now my attitude in return to this man could have seriously changed the outcome of the whole encounter. Had I been hateful or a smart-elic back to him, or had I shown some type of aggression (even though I’m 5’3” and he was like 6’1” or 6’2”), then the situation could have escalated to the point that I would have received a ride in the back of that car with the pretty flashing lights. By my choosing to address him as “Sir,” because that’s how I was raised to talk to elders and authority figures, and by my being honest and upfront with him, yes, he still ticketed me, but it could have cost me a reckless driving charge and it didn’t. He did not have to do that, but he did, with a firm warning, which I have heeded up to this day. Now I know, you’re saying “yeah right, Laura, you’ve not sped in over 2 years.” Well, no, I’ve sped, but nothing like I was that day, and I try to set my cruise control and maintain a steady speed so as not to have any more of these encounters.
Yes, I still get jumpy when I see a police car sitting in the median. Yes, I still get nervous when I see one driving behind me - I’m paranoid that I’ll do something wrong. Yes, I still get nervous when I see blue lights, even if it is just a traffic check. I don’t get nervous because I think I’ve done something wrong or that the police are going to be mean to me. I get nervous because it’s the same feeling that I got in school if I ever got called the Principal’s office - it’s a respect for those in a position of authority. Do I think that all police officers are 100%, stand-up, class-act, in it for the honor of the job, etc. people? No, but I don’t think that all ordinary humans fall into that category either. There have been cases where firefighters enjoyed the thrill of fighting a fire so much that they themselves became the arsonist so that they could go fight that fire. There are cases of people in all walks of life, abusing their jobs and their positions in life, in order to make themselves feel or seem more important than they are. So no, not all police officers are good, but there are more of them that are those stand-up, class-acts, than there are the reverse. They are tasked, each and every day, with upholding the law, and enforcing the law. They’re not writing the laws as they go. Those laws are in writing, made by legislators that we as citizens voted into offices and some of those laws are ones we voted into being.Those laws are there for a reason. The posted speed limit of 70mph on the interstate isn’t there to impede or inconvenience me, it’s there because according to research and recommendations, that is the maximum speed with which travel can be safely made along that stretch of road with the amount of traffic, etc. on it. The other laws - don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t do all the other bad stuff that people do - well guys, those are just no brainers. We shouldn’t have to have someone watching us so that we don’t do these things, or if we did, to bring us to justice, but there again, even God knew that man needed laws to abide by. Man today also needs to learn respect. This is something that has been lost amongst society. It’s evident in all areas of society. From rudeness and aggressiveness on the highways by people that go nuts behind the wheel of a car, to just plain rudeness and utter lack of manners that you see with people in stores. I see it every day in the school aged kids that I deal with. Some would rather walk over top of you than to say excuse me if they run into you. Some have no idea at what point to just sit down and be quiet when an authority figure tells them to be quiet. Some have some type of rude and smart-elic come back when anyone tries to correct them. This world is now full of a whole generation - and it’s even in some older folks too, so I am in no way blaming this all on the kids - of individuals that think they deserve the world to be handed to them on a silver platter just because they’re breathing. And we’ve become a country, and a world for that matter, filled with absolutely no respect for human life - regardless of color, creed, nationality, religion, freckle patterns, hair color - whatever makes us all different. That has GOT to change and we as a human race have got to learn that wrong-doings deserve punishment and that ALL HUMAN LIVES MATTER. We have all got to get along. Wouldn’t it be a sad, sad world if we all looked the same or all liked the same things? Differences can be ok.
The moral of my ramblings here is love. As I’ve said many times before, the problem lies within the hearts of all those out there that would bring harm to others just because they can. It is truly a heart problem. Thank you to those first responders, you EMT’s, firefighters, rescue squad volunteers, and Police Officers. Thank you for running toward the danger for me and all that you were sworn to protect. Thank you for what you do. You’re in my prayers.