This year I had a student who dealt with her feelings in some not-so-great ways. Together we decided when she didn’t know how to deal with those feelings and was frustrated, she would write. It didn’t matter what she wrote. It could be her words. It could be someone else’s words. One day she gave me something she wrote about me. Several days would go by, I wouldn’t get anything. Other days I would get stacks of papers. In some ways, I believe her writing things down helped her. So, today, I practice what I preach.
This morning around 10:15 a.m. I received the following text message from my brother:
“FYI we had an officer shot in District 2. Not me. Just letting you know I’m ok.”
No, he’s not participating in some weird, real life version of the Hunger Games. You see, my brother, he’s a Cincinnati police officer. That officer shot, Officer Kim, was one of their people.
I remember talking to one of Brandon’s friends when they graduated from the police academy; he assured me they would all take care of each other. “Don’t worry, I’ve got your brother’s back,” he said. It’s then that I knew my brother was entering a whole new family I would only know little about.
When Brandon first started working the streets, I was that freak-o sister that asked him to send me an I’m safe and on my way home text when he was off work. There were mornings I would wake up, heart pounding, because I didn’t have a text. Come to find out, it was a long night and he just forgot to text on his way home. That lasted for about a year until I got used to the fact that my brother was a police officer. My sister in law quit watching the news. Brandon and I would go a few days between talking with each other. We all didn’t sit around waiting for our phones to go off, good or bad. Having a police officer brother became normal. Normal stays normal until days like today.
That man’s family isn’t going to receive the I’m safe text message. His wife and sons aren’t going to spend Sunday, Father’s Day, celebrating with their father. This is the silent fear of every.single.person. who loves someone who wears a badge.
My question is, why? Why is this the silent fear? Why has our society made it okay for things like this to happen? Why do these people who protect us deal with so much negativity when they are willing to risk their lives day in and day out to keep us safe? Yes, there are bad cops. There are bad doctors. Do we still trust doctors, as a whole, with our lives when something is wrong? Why do all officers get lumped into the bad category if we don’t do this for other professions? Why did this man show up to do his job today but he doesn’t get to send the I’m safe text?
I have no idea how to find an answer for every why. What I do know is this…Love can do big things. If we all loved a little more, maybe there would fewer days like today. If you love your people, then your people will spread the love to their people. And maybe, just maybe, we can have fewer days like today. Love can beat hate.