As a cop’s wife and a former cop, watching the massacre in Dallas unfold in real time last night was horrific. First, the live feed from the protest, the rifle cracks, the realization there were bodies on the ground — and they weren’t moving.
Then the reports: first two cops down, then three cops dead with up to six people injured. By the time the chaos finally cleared, five officers had lost their lives, with seven more officers and at least one civilian injured. I went to sleep last night praying for two things: Please don’t let it come here, and please let my husband be deployed first if it does.
My husband is a cop, but he’s also an Army reservist who’s been home from his last deployment for almost three years. Army “dwell time” is just two years, so he’s overdue. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he’s still home, and I’ll be shocked if we make it through fall without some sort of deployment orders coming his way — most likely back to Afghanistan. And at this point, for so many reasons, I hope those orders come soon. My husband would be safer on deployment than here doing his everyday job.
Ridiculous, you think? Not really. Here, there is the very real chance he may not come home at the end of his shift. Not much different on deployment. Both jobs are inherently dangerous, and we both knew that going in.
But now people are shooting at cops because they are cops. How is that any different than overseas? What is the distinction between being shot at because you are an American infidel and being shot at because you wear a badge? In both cases you’re being attacked. The bullets shot from either gun will kill you just the same.
At least overseas he knows the enemy. At least overseas he will have pockets of safety, military bases with armed guards and intelligence officers offering protection from the adversary. Here, the enemy could be anywhere. They could be positioned across from the police training facility, patiently waiting for a class to start, when concentrating officers are sitting ducks for a rifle attack. Or across from the police office after roll call, when entire squads leave en masse to hit the streets to protect and serve.
Or the enemy could be disguised as a protestor, blend in with a large, loud crowd, then break off for the high ground and start shooting at anything wearing a uniform.
Selfishly, today I am beyond thankful to have a cop husband who doesn’t wear a uniform. He’s on a plain-clothes specialty squad, and his occupation isn’t obvious at first glance. He doesn’t drive around every day in a marked car, the equivalent of a bull’s-eye should someone want to take out a police officer. He will be harder for an assassin to find.
Last night in Dallas, the law enforcement community suffered perhaps the harshest loss since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. At least one man donned tactical gear, grabbed guns and planned to terrorize and kill. Internet rumors are coming in that this may be the first of many coordinated attacks against cops in retaliation for recent controversial shootings.
If my husband is going to be fighting terrorists out for his blood, I’d rather he be fighting them overseas, where the enemy is more obvious and the likelihood of being killed by someone you wanted to protect is far, far less.