Here at the house, I have a couple of decades plus of military experience. I have tools to dig in or out of natural disasters. I have extinguishers and hoses. I have a field trauma kit and bandages. I have weapons both melee and firearm. I know how to use them. I know how to trench, support and revet. I understand the fire triangle and appropriate approaches. I understand breathing, bleeding and shock. I know how to detain, restrain and control. I have done all of these at least occasionally, professionally. I’ve stood on top of a collapsing levee in a flood. I’ve fought a structure fire from inside so we could get everyone out before the fire department showed up, which only took two minutes, but people can die that fast. I’ve had structures collapse while I was working on them. I’ve been in an aircraft that had a “mechanical” on approach and had to be repaired in-flight before landing. I’ve helped control a brush fire. I’ve hauled disabled vehicles out of ditches in sub-zero weather.
My ex wife has over a decade or service and some of the same training.
We have trained our young adult children.
My wife is a rancher who knows her way around a shotgun, livestock, sutures and tools, hurricanes and floods, and works in investigations professionally.
Our current houseguest is another veteran.
This means if anything happens at the house–and last year we had a lightning strike, a tornado and a flood within 10 days–we’re pretty well prepared.
Now, we’re probably better off than 95% of the households out there. The level of disaster that necessitates backup varies.
If we find it necessary to call 911, it means the party is in progress and it’s bad.
You will probably not be going home safe at the end of your shift.
And you know what? If it gets to that point, I really don’t give a shit. I don’t give a shit if you get smoked. I don’t give a shit if you fall under a tree. I don’t give a shit if you get shot at.
Because at that point, I’ve done everything I can with that same circumstance, and run out of resources.
If my concern was “you going home safe,” then I’d just fucking hunker down and die. Because I wouldn’t want that poor responder to endanger himself.
Except…that’s what I pay taxes for, and that’s what you signed up for. Just like I signed up to walk into a potential nuke war in Germany and hold off the Soviets, and did walk into the Middle East and prepare to take fire while keeping expensive equipment functioning so our shooters could keep shooting.
There’s not a single set of orders I got that said my primary job was to “Come home safe.” They said it was to “support the mission” or “complete the objective.” Coming home safe was the ideal outcome, but entirely secondary to “supporting” or “completing.” Nor, once that started, did I get a choice to quit. Once in, all in.
When that 80 year old lady smells smoke or hears a noise outside her first floor bedroom in the ghetto, she doesn’t care if you go home safe, either. She’s afraid she or the kids next door won’t wake up in the morning.
If I call, I expect your ass to show up, sober, trained, professional. I expect you to wade in with me or in place of me, and drag a child out of a hole, our out from a burning room, or actually stand up and block bullets from hitting said child, because by the time you get there, I’ll have already done all that. And there will be field dressings, chainsawed trees, buckets and empty brass scattered about.
I don’t want to hear some drunk and confused guy squirming on the ground playing “Simon Says” terrified you so much you had to blow him away. I don’t want to hear that some random guy 35 yards away who you had no actual information on “may have reached toward his waist band. Or that “the tree might fall any moment” or that “the smoke makes it hard to see.”
Near as I can tell, I don’t hear the smokejumpers, or the firefighters, or the disaster rescue people say such things.
But it’s all I ever hear from the cops. If you and your five girlfriends in body armor, with rifles, are that terrified of actually risking your life for the theoretically dangerous job you volunteered for and can quit any time, then please do quit.
You can get a job doing pest control and go home safe every night.
Until a bunch of fucking pussies with big tattoos, small dicks, body armor and guns blow you away for minding your own business.
Because what you’re telling me with that statement is, your only concern is cashing a check. That’s fine. But if that’s your concern, don’t pretend you’re serving the public. If you wanted to help people at risk of life, you would be a firefighter, running into buildings, dragging people out, getting scorched regularly.
If you’re cool with writing tickets, then there’s jobs where you can do just that.
If you want to tangle with bad guys and blow them away, fair enough. But understand: That means they get to shoot first to prove their intent, just as happens with the military these days. Our ROE these days are usually “only if fired upon and no civilians are at risk.”
If your plan is “shoot first, shoot later, shoot some more, then if anyone is still alive try to ask questions,” and bleat, “But I was afeard fer mah lahf!” you’re absolutely no better than the thugs you claim to oppose. All you are is another combatant in a turf war I don’t care about.
Since I know your primary concern is “being safe,” then I’ll do you the favor of not calling. Cash your welfare check, and try not to shoot me at a “courtesy” sobriety checkpoint for twitching my eye “in a way that suggested range estimation.”
If you’re one of the vanishingly few cops who isn’t like that, then what the hell are you doing about it? If there’s going to be a lawsuit costing the city millions, isn’t it better that it be a labor suit from the union over the clown you fired, than a wrongful death suit over the poor bastard the clown shot? Both are expensive, but one has a dead victim you enabled. So how much do you actually care about that life?
How is the training so bad that it’s not clear who is the scene commander who gives the orders?
How is it that trigger happy bozos who, out of costume, look no different from the gangbangers you claim to oppose, get sent up front to fulfill their wish of hosing someone down because “I was afraid for my life!”?
Why does the rot exist in your department?
If you can’t do anything about it, why are you still in that department?
At some point, collective guilt is a thing.
You’ve probably not been a good cop for a long time.
And I still don’t care if you go home safe. I care that everyone you purport to “serve and protect” goes home safe.