I will die in battle. Of that I’m certain. Now hopefully, a battle of my choosing. But, if it be this one, grant me a favor: don’t bury me in our sad little cemetery. Burn me. Burn me, and cast my ashes to a strong east wind.
I rarely speak of things in my professional life in a social media setting. But today, my heart is heavy. Today, I have to get these feelings out of my heart.
This month marks the anniversary of two Deputy US Marshals killed in the line of duty. Last month was another anniversary. I’ve lost count of the number of Task Force Officers, (LEOs from other departments, sworn in to work with USMS) who have been gunned down in the line of duty… I literally cannot remember how many have been killed in the past five years since DUSM Derek Hotsinpiller was killed.
Derek was just a kid…. 24 years old, freshly engaged. Killed less than one year on with the department. EOW: 2/16/11
John Perry, a seasoned DUSM, on 10 years. Killed less than a month after Derek. EOW: 3/11/11
Josie Wells, 4 years on. He left behind a pregnant wife…. I can only imagion her pain. EOW 3/10/15
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
These gents are not the first names I’ve known, that I have watched added to a memorial… Sadly, I know they will not be the last. My heart breaks for the family members and loved ones left behind to mourn.
If you have not attended the funeral of a police officer or military service memeber, then the experience cannot be explained. While all funerals are sad; there is something so utterly gut wrenching and raw about a police officer or military service member’s; it will steal your breath, rob your soul and cause your heart to crumble like shards of glass inside your chest.
This year 2016 has seen on average an officer killed every two to three days. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page there have been 29 deaths this year (God it seems so much higher), only one of these deaths has been the result of a heart attack. Also 10, TEN, K9 deaths -1 by asphyxiation, 1 drowned, 1 was stabbed, 3 were struck by vehicles and 4 were killed by gunfire.
It is gut wrenching to see the constant stream of uniforms with different faces posted on social media -the story of conducting a traffic stop, responding to another call, getting lunch, one was walking out of his house when he was attacked… I can no longer read these. I have become like my mother. Anything reading of a police officer’s death, I have to skip it completely or skim it quickly. Each one breaks my heart and my hands are tied from doing anything. The most I can do is offer my conodolences and wish for a speedy recovery of the broken hearts and emptiness the family and loved ones now feel.
I think it is a mutal agreement amongst most who wear a badge. The biggest fear is not death itself. It is the death of fellow officer because we were not ‘enough.’ Fast enough. Strong enough. The fear of having to tell their mother or wife, their father or husband… I wasn’t enough… I wasn’t enough to bring them home.
I could scream with anger and rage on who is to blame for the rise in law enforcement fatalities. But what good does it do? None. I can only continue as I do every day, remember those we have lost, and continuing to do my job every day. It’s what they would want from us. Their memory to be carried in our hearts and for their sacrifice to never be forgotten.
-Inked Amazon Warrior