I was ordering a morning beverage at our local cafe, and tears nearly started flowing when I looked over and saw the fire/paramedic uniformed officer ordering at the adjacent register. This sight hasn't moved me so deeply in the past, but after the Aurora, Colorado shooting, my feelings have spontaneously and irrevocably deepened.
Last Friday, I was on the freeway early in the morning when I began hearing the radio news unfold the violence of the night before. I felt stunned, horrified, and sickened as the reporter's voice rattled off casualties, and told of the terror that had transpired. But when the reporter began to describe in detail the 25 officers who were there less than 90 seconds after being called, tears started rolling down my cheeks. I tried to fight it, but had to pull over as the tears turned into full sobs, and I could no longer see the road.
Upon hearing of police officers who first stopped the violence, and then began carrying the fallen, not on stretchers, but in their arms, sometimes wrapped in their jackets, to their vehicles with urgency and speed, that's when I began to really weep. The violence is saddening, numbing, but the goodness that arrives in the face of such shocking madness is another story.
That there are humans who have devoted themselves to keeping the peace, who respond so quickly and effectively to the call for help, restores my faith in human beings altogether.
I don't know about you, but as a consumer of "media," I have completely lost interest -- no, that's too weak a word -- I am sickened and disinterested at the prospect of learning anything more about the perpetrators of violence, or watching their court process.
I am, however, fascinated by those who are keeping the peace. Why are we not looking at photos of the 25 first responders to the Colorado event? I want to know their stories. How did they come to serve their communities? What events in their lives led them to be so good? Why is the media not giving them some attention?
The woman in uniform must have felt my gaze, and she initiated idle early morning chit chat. What was in my heart was gratitude and respect. Would I make her uncomfortable if I began to gush and praise her for aligning herself with peace and care? Would she feel embarrassed if I expressed my respect for her career choice, and her daily commitment to protecting and serving without discrimination? Probably. Who wouldn't? I stuck to idle chit chat, and my intense gratitude remained in my heart. I may have slipped in a casual, "I think what you do is amazing," but I tried to keep it low key.
However, I know that after this incident in Aurora, I will never be able to look at someone who protects, cares, and maintains peace without intense respect, thankfulness, and admiration. It is easy to destroy, it is not complicated to remain apathetic and unresponsive, but it takes strength, spirit, and love to make a positive contribution to this world we all share. Thank you to the public servants in Colorado, and everywhere, who help so many, and who sustain faith in the goodness of human beings.