Editor Note: This piece was submitted to us by a good friend who is a wounded officer. It tells an important and untold story of those who are beaten…who are forgotten… and who need our support. It was written by B. White.
They are powerful words that need to be heard, especially as we work together to combat the rising suicide rate among law enforcement. Please… help us make that happen. They deserve it.
One of my first memories was that of getting off of the
school bus and running into the waiting arms of my
mother after my very first day of school.
That day, I knew I was important to someone.
Growing up I remember standing in the batter’s box.
I carried the hopes of my team on my shoulders.
After a simple single hit that drove in the winning run,
Being greeted at home plate in the arms of my team,
I felt that I was important to someone.
I became an adult and chose to enter public service.
I remember being spit at, assaulted, or cursed. I was a pig, a
Hose dragger, or ambulance driver. Whether I arrested
your abuser, put out your kitchen fire, or saved your
grandparent with CPR; your tear-filled thanks,
And heartfelt hugs made me feel that at that single moment,
I was important to someone.
I went overseas for whatever reason that called me.
You called me soldier, seaman, airman, marine, or even contractor.
Whatever I did, you said I liberated, eductated, or defended.
When I returned and got off that plane, you greeted me with a hug.
And for that single moment,
I felt that was important to someone.
Now, my parents are either old and grey or gone entirely.
The crowds no longer cheer at the swing of my bat.
The sirens no longer sing the song that I love.
There is no longer the report of a rifle in my ear.
Like it was when I was important to someone.
I am older and no longer in the mix. I can’t run fast
Or swing a bat. I am no longer on the front line.
I have no title that the word former no longer proceeds.
I remember when I was important to someone.
I am but a memory or a news clipping at best to most.
I am an anecdote told in the squadroom among the rookies.
I am a story told at a bar followed by a toast by those
who were next to me. I am a memory. I am a story.
I used to be important to someone.
I never sought adoration. I never needed approval.
I did my best and did what I felt was right. All I wish is that…
I was still important to someone,
Now, I stand in the middle of the ring like a boxer that took all that my
opponent could give. I am tired. The fight is over. Broken, bruised, and bloody.
There is no way I won. I don’t need the win. I need the support.
I wish I was still important.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. The proceeds get reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
“I wish that when he shot me, he killed me.”
It’s a statement that I struggled to process the first time I heard it from a police officer who took six bullets in the line of duty.
It was far from the last time I heard it.
The sad truth of it is that with the dozens of LEO’s who have been shot in the line of duty that I’ve interviewed over the past six months, it’s a pretty common feeling.
During the first couple of days in the hospital, when they are barely clinging to life, they are surrounded by love and support. Local politicians rally around them. The community comes together in prayer. #BlueStrong we proclaim on Facebook.
And then the officer pulls through and everyone realizes she or he is going to survive. The bills start piling up. The worker’s comp and disability battles begin.
And everyone disappears.
The physical and emotional scars remain. But the true pain runs much deeper, as a community abandons those who made such an incredible sacrifice.
Gone is their ability to work overtime to provide for their family. In many cases, the family savings get pumped into medical bills while the bureaucrats try to find the most efficient way to pay out the least amount of money possible while still covering their asses and declaring #BlueStrong.
And the road to recovery slows.
“Had I been killed, my family would have been provided for. They would have received significant death benefits. They wouldn’t have had me as a burden. They would have grieved… but they would have moved on,” one wounded officer told me.
And then there’s the prescriptions.
“I’m going to end up overdosing on heroin one day,” another wounded officer told me.
When he saw the look of shock on my face and saw that I’d become speechless, he explained.
“I can’t make ends meet right now,” he told me. “The department is letting me go in a couple of weeks. I can’t afford to sue. My medical coverage is going to disappear. I can’t survive without the opioids right now because of the pain.”
He said for him, it would start the death spiral.
“So what happens when I can’t afford the prescription any more? I’m going to have no choice to turn to the streets. My kids will be fatherless within a year, because I’ve fallen through the cracks and I’m about to become a statistic in the very opioid war that I once fought.”
How is it that our country can be so great… and yet so screwed up? As my good friend Sal DeFranco, Former Navy S.E.A.L. and owner of Battle Grounds Coffee with his wife put it this way:
“We are the greatest nation in the world. We can topple governments. We can take over entire countries. We are back to back world war champions. And yet we can’t take care of our own.”
How is it that we can provide iPhones to those who don’t want to work for a living… but we can’t provide for our officers wounded in the line of duty?
How is it that we can make sure illegal immigrants get health benefits… and yet we can’t take care of the desperate health situation surrounding those who were shot protecting actual citizens?
How is it that “healthcare for all” is demanded by socialists in America… but if it’s something that supports “pigs”… it’s ok to turn away and force them and their families to suffer?
This isn’t the America I know and love.
The America that I believe in holds up those men and women when they are falling.
The patriots I know demand that we need to have the six of those who protect us and hold the Thin Blue Line.
As long as there is a single officer out there who thinks that the world – or their family – would be better off if they had died… we have failed.
And to those of you who are reading this who ARE those officers… I’ve got some tough love for you.
You WEREN’T a warrior. You ARE a warrior.
That didn’t stop when you got shot or stabbed or run over.
You don’t get to give up the fight and throw in the towel. That’s not what warriors do. What has changed is that now you have a new battle.
Now you need to fight not for society, but for your family. For what you deserve. For what THEY deserve.
The mission has changed. But it’s a mission nonetheless.
The world would not be better without you. The world is better because of you. And you need to stand and fight not just for you and your family… but for those who will come after you.
More will be hurt. More will suffer beyond words. More will be forgotten by the system. That’s why you need to rise and fight … and know that you’re not alone.
There’s a rising tide of those declaring “enough is enough”. Our family at Law Enforcement Today has your six. Who is with us?
What Law Enforcement Today is doing to give back
Our team at Law Enforcement Today isn’t in it for the money. Just the opposite. Everyone on the team has made substantial investments of time and money to try and give a voice to those who hold the Thin Blue Line.
But we started running into problems a couple of years ago. Social media was scaling back the reach of content that it didn’t believe people should see.
Not that there was anything offensive about it. We’re talking about pro-police videos, stories about patriotic Americans and more.
And from our perspective, that created a huge problem. We have some of the greatest warriors in the world. Yet their voices and their stories were being buried.
The mainstream media, on the rare occasion that it would tell some of these stories, would give you only a piece of them. They’d cram as much as they could into a 90 second segment, slap their bias on it and that was it.
We needed to fix it. And so we are.
Law Enforcement Today (LET) launched the beta version of LET Unity – a new home focused on bridging the gap between civilians and civil servants. We’ve merged with The Whiskey Patriots to massively expand content, rolling out hundreds of videos to members.
Many of those in our focus groups dubbed it the “Netflix of the law enforcement community”. But the truth is, it’s so much more.
The first officer in the door at the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Emergency responders from the Parkland shooting.
The bomb squad that responded to the Aurora movie theater massacre.
Survivors of the Dallas five killings.
The first Marine Guard hostage in the Iran crisis.
The CIA agent who started a counter human trafficking company.
World War II veterans.
And so, so much more.
The membership is less than the cost of two coffees a month, and those who sign up for an annual membership will get some surprise bonuses in the mail. We decided to charge a nominal fee so we could take all of the proceeds and reinvest them into capturing more of these stories.
On top of that, we’re opening up the platform to some well-known podcasters who are going to be joining the team with some incredible content soon.
We have a problem in society. Censorship has created an existential threat to democracy. But even worse is the risk we run that some of these incredible stories of patriotism, hope, faith and our Sheepdogs would be lost.
We’ll soon be launching a series of content with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) to share the stories of survivors. We will also be dropping a weekly law enforcement focused newscast that addresses some of the most important topics in the country… and helps bridge the gap between those who serve and those whom they serve.
On top of that, we’ll soon be rolling out a series of private discounts and special promotions to members only as a “thank you” for being a part of the family.
The beta platform is live and the apps for Apple, Android, Apple TV and Roku will be launching soon.
We hope you’ll join us in this journey, knowing that your membership is going to give a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.