It is getting so that the daily news is becoming almost more than one can bear. Unfortunately, it seems that being surrounded by all that bad news tends to make us somewhat numb and resigned to accepting it all as the new normal. While I realize that bad news has always been a part of life, it just seems that we keep finding more ways to cause further harm to our fellow man.
I once remarked, upon hearing a siren, “Someone’s life just changed.” Each time we hear a siren, whether it’s from a police car, an ambulance or a fire truck, there are lives involved that have forever been affected.
Granted, the change may be something as simple as someone receiving a traffic citation. That could be considered a small event that creates only a monetary penalty, points on a driver’s license and perhaps a car insurance rate increase. Fairly insignificant, it could be argued, but a life-changing experience nevertheless.
It’s the sound of sirens from passing fire trucks and ambulances that make me really ponder the affect on the lives involved. Is it a house fire, or perhaps a traffic accident, or is someone on the way to the hospital? Is the speeding ambulance rushing to save the life of a person in critical condition or perhaps taking an expectant mother to the delivery room?
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Life has a way of throwing us unexpected turns, as we have heard a couple of weeks ago in nearby Clinton. Officer Gary Michael, while conducting a routine traffic stop, was without warning gunned down. Another act of senseless violence against a police officer, like many others across our nation, but so close to home.
I have an extremely difficult time understanding how anyone can justify taking the life of another human being. During my entire lifetime, I can honestly say that I have never been angry enough or frightened enough or felt threatened enough to want to kill someone. And it is my prayer that it never happens.
On the other hand, if a person was causing harm to a loved one, particularly one of my grandchildren, that’s an entirely different matter. In fact, anyone harming a child would cause me to become quite angry, but angry enough to want to cause great pain or perhaps death? I don’t really ever want to know the answer to that one.
About a year ago, there seemed to be a lot focus on a very small percentage of police officers who were not acting in an honorable fashion. Yet we know that every day, brave men and women who have sworn to protect and serve do so. I’ll repeat a brief message that I had previously given to these fine people:
We each owe you a debt of gratitude and our highest respect. It seems that we need to be constantly reminded that you are a vital part of our society. Without your help and guidance maintaining law and order, this would most certainly be a miserable world in which to live.
It is my wish that my fellow citizens could all learn to show the proper respect for law and order and for those responsible for making it possible. We could take lessons from the respectful manner shown by each of you when you are called upon in various situations.
So as you begin each shift, respond to each call and prepare to interact with us in the general public, please remember that you are appreciated. Regardless of what is aired on the nightly news or printed in the daily papers, this is still a nation governed by laws for our protection. Well-trained officers of the law are a vital part of an orderly society and you are desperately needed.
Keep up the good work, remember your mission and always strive to be an officer above reproach. You will be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing that a job has been well done and receive the respect you deserve.
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.