For the past two weeks I have been a mess of emotions- sad, confused, hurt- but, mostly angry. I am angry that things have gotten so out of hand. I am angry that people continue to punish police as a whole for the actions of those who are corrupt. I am angry that five innocent officers' lives were ended by someone who held nothing but hatred in their body. I am angry that those officers' children will now have to grow up without a father. I am angry that there are so many who have the audacity to say that those five men deserved it. I am angry that so many speak without truly checking their facts. I am angry that the actions of these people are making those who once loved being in law enforcement, begin to lose their love for the job. I am angry.
I will never understand how something so horrible could happen. How someone could hold so much hatred in their body for someone they've never even met. It just doesn't make sense to me. Michael Smith. Lorne Ahrens. Michael Krol. Patrick Zamarripa. Brent Thompson. None of these men deserved to lose their lives. They were all good men with wives, and children, and friends, and pets, and hobbies. They joined this career to protect and serve. To help make the world a little bit safer of a place, so the fact that their lives were ended so senselessly makes me sick. The pain and suffering that has been inflicted upon their friends and families is unbearable to think about. Whenever I see the faces of the children of these officers I can feel the knots begin to form in my stomach. I want to tell them how sorry I am for their loss, and how much my heart is breaking for them. I want them to know that their fathers will never be forgotten. That they will always be remembered as heroes, because that is exactly what they are.
My dad has been a police officer longer than I've been alive, and the thought of how easily that could have been him shakes me to my core. I have been aware of the growing tensions between citizens and law enforcement for awhile now, but this made it real. It showed me the pure hatred that some people possess for law enforcement, and made me realize just how dangerous my dad's job truly is. Every time he leaves for work now, I feel a little bit more anxious that he won't make it home the next morning. This is a risk that I have always known is there, but now it sits closer to the front of my mind at all times. Right now the world feels all twisted up, and although there is not much that I am sure of at the moment, there is one thing... I am sure that I will not let radicals scare me into being ashamed of my connection to law enforcement. I have always been and will always be proud of my dad for what he does.
So, the next time you see a police officer please keep this in mind... That they have kids to drop off at school. That they have pets to take care of. That they have daddy-daughter dates to go on. That they have lectures to give to their teenagers. That they have bad dad jokes to tell. That they have their kids' graduations to attend. That they are human. To you they may just be the officer that pulled you over and wrote you a ticket, but trust me... They are so much more than just that to someone else.
-Melissa P. Cooper