By Mikey, Retired LAPD
Today is June 15, 2017, a day after the shooting in Virginia and the near massacre that was thwarted. Everyone there, the politicians, the aides, the whosevers, and the coppers heard their calling. Our politicians are huddled in a dug-out knowing that “this is it.” The last good byes, the argument not finished because the point was not made, the question about a bill to in act, the next appointment, a staffer you’d like to complement and now this, the end? The end of your calling as a politician?
NO, one of you said, “a gun stopped a gun.” Let me rephrase that, a “calling” stopped that. The coppers,’ CNN calls them LEOs or Law Enforcement Officers–but they are coppers, true and blue. Trained like no others. You go into the valley of death because that is what you do, trained to do, and you don’t look for an exit, the way back, or the cavalry. You are the cavalry, the troops, or just the one solider. You may ask for back up, or you don’t have the time, but it doesn’t, matter, the whole thing just landed on you.
So now you work the problem and everything that implies. You face it head on, frame by frame, still shots, video, very little audio because all your adrenalin is focused on viewing what you are up against. When those coppers put the shooter down, it wasn’t over, in their minds things were still being processed: “Is he the only one, is there a lay off shooter, why here, why now,” and on and on. If being a LEO was easy, everyone could do it, but it’s not and not everyone can.
Why the bonds are so tight among coppers says reams about the calling. And it does not end after you “pull the pin” (retire). Back in ’08, the year I retired, Rick Alatorre along with Joe Gonzalez and Art Placencia and I started meeting for breakfast once a month at a local restaurant in the Inland Empire. Hal Collier and I started one at about the same time in the Glendale area. As time went on, the “gathering or roll call,” caused both groups to seek larger haunts. Work, (yup, couldn’t stay at home) caused me to focus on the local gathering and Hal ran with the valley group. The local group now has 85+ attendees and we meet the fourth Thursday of the month.
There are coppers in attendance of Ed, Hal’s and my generation and our common thoughts and conversations are the exact same! Just read Ed’s stories and compare them to Hal’s and mine, different incidents and years to be sure but the calling is interred woven in the “Themes.” I have a commercial pilot rating, multi-engine and helicopter. Yup, was gonna be a zoomie for life. I got to do what I wanted to do with that, but ended up doing what I was supposed to do. I answered the calling, my calling. What was, is yours? How fortunate to have been chosen to do and be something bigger than yourself, to mean something to so many and still, today be able to share that others who heard and surrendered to it.