“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” ~Matthew 5:9
I’m so damn sick and tired of hearing these men and women whine and complain about themselves.
“Oh, my crippled ass.”
I’m talking about some of my closest friends in the world.
“My completely worthless body.”
Officers who have been shot in the line of duty.
“My useless head.”
“I’m no good to anyone.”
“I’m better off dead.”
“If that guy had just killed me, my family would have been provided for.”
I have a message for them. Call it some “tough love”.
Here it comes. Ready, friends?
Listen guys – I’m not saying you haven’t earned the right to spend the rest of your life complaining. You absolutely have. Quite frankly, I believe you should be given your full salary and benefits for the rest of your life.
What I’m NOT good with is this talk of defeat. Since when did you go from being a warrior and a protector to a total pushover who has surrendered to the idea that your worth here on earth is gone?
Let’s start simple.
Post Traumatic Stress
Stop calling it PTSD. It’s not a damn “disorder”.
To imply it’s a disorder suggests it’s something that’s WRONG with you, as opposed to something that has happened TO you because of what you’ve gone through.
Post traumatic stress. That’s it. Drop the D.
There’s nothing wrong with your head. You have a battle ahead of you. You will have good days and you will have bad days. But you are not suffering from a DISORDER. You’re suffering from having traded a part of your very soul in service of others.
There will be dark days. Extremely dark days. You will feel like you can’t go on. And I’m going to tell you something right now that is probably going to piss people off.
You can’t give up… because that’s selfish.
Whether you realize it or not, you have people in your life who love you beyond words. Losing you would fundamentally change them forever.
Do you deserve to be selfish? Sure. But that’s not part of your DNA. You are a warrior. Granted, you’re a warrior recovering from battle wounds right now, but it’s still inside of you. Those injuries didn’t take the protector out of you… so don’t let it take the fight out of you.
You’ve convinced yourself that asking for help is putting a burden on someone else. It’s not. We WANT to lift you up in your darkest times – don’t take that away from us.
We NEED you. We LOVE you. You are part of a family.
(Above – hear the story of Officer Stacy West, who was shot in the line of duty. This is her journey.)
It wasn’t your body that made you a police officer. I mean, let’s be real – if your body was THAT amazing, you would have been a star athlete or perhaps a model. God knows you would have made more money.
No, your body didn’t make you a cop. Your MIND did. Your HEART did. Your DNA did.
I’m not really sure why you believe that having legs that don’t work has taken the protector out of you. Because you can’t chase a criminal anymore? Screw it. You’ve EARNED the right to sit these out and let someone else do it.
But your mission isn’t done. Far from it.
Your MIND. We need your mind.
Your HEART. We need your heart.
Your VOICE. We need your voice.
We have a society filled with social justice warriors who sit behind keyboards and attack police officer. We have politicians and celebrities who run their mouths and encourage a divide with LEOs.
Then we’ve got a whole bunch of cops who can’t say a damn word back… because their department will fire them.
So who can speak out? Who WILL speak out? You don’t have to do it publicly. I understand that many of you still can’t, because you’re fighting for your benefits.
So don’t. Write the articles. Send them to us. Let us help.
And here’s the thing, guys. You’ve been on this road for some time. You’re figuring things out. You’ve SURVIVED. You’re alive, damnit.
And tomorrow, another cop is going to be shot. Stabbed. Run over.
They’re NOT going to be killed.
As I wrote in a previous article, here’s what will happen.
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.
And this, my friends, is where they’re going to need you. Because you’ve been there. You’ve felt that pain. You can guide them on this journey.
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.
Isaiah 6:8 is a passage I think is pretty appropriate to give you a message:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
My friend Jeff was a cop in California. He was badly injured. His days as a police officer was over. He laid in a hospital bed in his living room, screaming at the TV during the Ferguson riots. He wanted back in the action.
He couldn’t get back in the action.
Jeff could have given up. He could have kissed his wife and kids goodbye and ended it all. He could have left a family without a father. Sure, his pain would have been gone, but theirs would have lasted a lifetime.
He didn’t. With his wife by his side, the couple went on to start Honor the Brave, a company that helps emergency responders and veterans find new homes.
(Above: The story of Honor the Brave, with Jeff and his wife.)
My buddy Houston has a pretty lousy day. Shotgun blast. To the face. All sorts of badness.
Then he got to sit across from his shooter one day, after the sentencing. Face to face. You’d think he would have choked the guy out. Nope. He forgave him. That’s the gift that faith gave Houston. Now he’s helping other wounded officers across the country.
(Above, the story of Houston Gass.)
Maybe you’re sitting there reading this, thinking “oh, good for those guys, but what about me”?
Here’s my point. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. YOU are at the end of that tunnel. But you need to get there, because there are other people at the end of the tunnel as well… and they need YOU to be there to help THEM.
Soon you’ll be called on for a new mission. Soon there will be an “ask” of you from Law Enforcement Today… a way that YOU can help spread the stories of fellow wounded officers.
For now… rise. Fight.
Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Enough calling yourself a cripple.
You’re a proud protector with some battle wounds, and it’s time for a new mission. So get your shit together. We’ve got work to do.
(Below – talk to me.)