I had just finished working my third double of the week.  Most people would be complaining.  But I’m going to be straight up with you, I was considering myself blessed.

Just three years ago, they didn’t think I’d ever be able to work as a police officer again.  I took a bullet just below my vest.  Doctors told me I might not walk again and I’d DEFINITELY never be a cop again.

I didn’t accept that.  Policing was everything I’ve ever known.  It’s how I provide for my family.  There wasn’t a choice – I would overcome it.

And I did.  So to be able to be back on the road earning that overtime for my family was a blessing.

We have four kids under the age of 14.  That’s a lot of mouths to feed.  And we don’t do handouts.  We eat what we kill, and for my wife and I, that means you hunt down any work you can get.

I changed into my street clothes and stopped at Target on the way home.  The wifey wanted me to pick up some cleaning supplies for the house.

Listen, we’re not particularly well off, if you didn’t already pick up on that.  But we’re proud of what we have.  This particular day, I was wearing a pair of gym shorts (what I love about the south while the rest of you are stuck in winter in March still) a Fallen Officers Thin Blue Line t-shirt, along with my MAGA hat.

Donald Trump MAGA

President Trump wears a MAGA hat at one of his rallies. Courtesy: Wikipedia

I went into the store and was just wrapping up when it happened.

“Hey, buddy – how about you and your fascist hat get the f*#k out of here.”

Oh.  Here we go.  I turned around, half expecting to see a 20-something year old hipster with skinny jeans and a man bun.

(Above: Fusion’s Tim Pool shot video of the violent attack on Trump supporter.)

 

I didn’t.  I saw a well-dressed, middle age couple with what looked like a 5-year-old girl with them.

I must have heard wrong.  Surely I didn’t just hear a woman talk like that in front of a little girl.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” I asked.  

“Oh, so you’re deaf AND stupid I see,” responded the woman.

I was speechless.  Literally speechless.  I could feel my cheeks start to change color.  My vision narrowed.  I could see red and could feel myself entering into the tunnel.

Attack on off duty cop wearing MAGA hat

MAGA hats have been the source of hatred from those Anti-Trumpers who believe it is symbolic of hate.

 

Words… where were they?  Where were my words?

“What the f&$% are you staring at?” the man asked me.  “You going to gawk at my wife now?  Get the f&$% out of here before you have a problem.”


(Above: Trump supporters were sucker punched and pelted with eggs.)

 

I’m not going to lie to those of you reading this.  I have post-traumatic stress from the shooting.  95% of the time, I’m totally fine.  But you put me in a fight or flight situation, and I prepare to fight.  Everything else fades away.  I become extremely singular since that shooting.  I retain every detail… but only the detail of the threat in front of me.  And when that man took two steps towards me, he was the threat.

But the little girl.  God, that little girl.  She looked sweet.  And scared.  And confused.  

Frozen.  I was still frozen.

Until dad reached up and tried to take my hat.

“We don’t need people like…” he began.

He didn’t finish the sentence.  Once he reached for my head, my training kicked in.  Before he realized what happened, he was up against the shelf.  His arm was behind his back.  I wasn’t applying pressure – simply holding him in place.

He, however, was letting how this high pitched shriek.  Sort of like a dying cat.

(Above: A Trump supporter was surrounded in a skirmish with protesters in El Cajon, one of whom appeared to steal his “Make America Great Again” hat.)

 

When you’re in that tunnel, it’s funny the things you remember.

I remember the smell of his cologne.  It smelled like something from a 80’s high school dance.

I remember the sounds of someone laughing a few aisles over.  It sounded like a drunk giggle.

And I remember feeling the irony of wearing a MAGA hat while pushing this guy’s face against the shelf filled with bleach.

That’s when his wife started screaming at the top of her lungs.  “He’s assaulting my husband!  Help!  Help!  My child is in danger!  Please, someone help!”

(Above: Rally-goer describes the violence, speaks out against the San Jose mayor on ‘The Kelly File’)

 

Flash forward 30 minutes.  The four of us are sitting in what appears to be an employee break room with the manager and two guys from the Sheriff’s office.

The woman was insisting that I attacked her husband out of the blue.

But as they say in sports – “let’s go to the tapes!”

“Well, ma’am, it appears that your story and what we see on this camera don’t line up,” she was told.  “And if we’re going to charge ANYONE, it should be your husband.”

The couple looked completely indignant.  Bewildered.  After all, they had the RIGHT to not be exposed to the hatred, violence and bigotry of someone wearing a MAGA hat, they said.

(Above: After President Trump spoke, supporters were greeted by a mob of protestors outside the venue. One young woman tried to take on the protestors on her own and proudly showed off her Trump shirt. She was hit in the face with a watermelon and eggs. A local news reporter said the Trump supporters were “chased down like prey.” Protestors were filmed burning American flags and throwing eggs, punches and bottles at supporters.)

 

“Do you want to press charges?” they asked me.

Here’s what I want.

I want to be able to go into a store and buy laundry detergent and not worry about being attacked for who I voted for.

I want a country where we’re not so divided that a hat triggers people into a meltdown.  

I want a society where parents teach their children love and respect, not that love and respect are attacking people you don’t believe in then screaming violence.

I want attacks on police officers to stop.  Now let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting they knew I was a cop.  But this culture of violence where the media glorifies shooting us only empowers a generation to believe that violence against those who you disagree with politically is acceptable.

(Above: An 81-year-old man was attacked in a New Jersey supermarket after someone confronted him about the “Make America Great Again” hat he was wearing, prosecutors say.)

 

I want people to be able to see past race, color, sex, black vs. blue, sexual orientation and MAGA hats.  I want people to be able to find common ground and find love and not embrace hate.

I want to put on the TV and see something other than the media declaring that it’s Trump supporters who are hateful, because in my experience, it’s just the opposite.

I want my damn country back.  I want it to stop being overrun by people who don’t belong here legally, and people who believe in welcoming them with open arms while attacking people who believe we need to secure our borders.

I want us to stop indoctrinating kids in hatred.  I’ve seen it in my own kids’ schools – Trump is bad, Christians are bad, Conservatives are bad, but socialism is great.

I want people like these parents to face the very real threat of losing their children because they are teaching them the ways of hatred and violence over love.

And most of all, I want people to know that this is my damn hat, my damn country and if you mess with either, you’ll find yourself pinned against a wall making sounds like a dying cat.

“No, I don’t want to press charges.  But an apology would be nice.”

It was such a simple request

“Well you can go f#$& yourself,” said the wife.

Well, aggravated assault and making a false statement to police sure is a bitch to fight in court… especially when it was caught on camera.