To Those Who Feel My Life Does Not Matter
Most people I encounter feel my life doesn't matter; I will protect them regardlessBy Tommy Lugo | Jul 8, 2016
Over the last 12 years in law enforcement, one thing has become abundantly clear: My life does not matter. Every once in a while someone will thank me for my service, but that is few and far between. When I am home with my family I am important and needed, but as soon as I put on that uniform and badge and walk out the door a transformation takes place.
When I show up on a domestic call, my life does not matter. I do not matter to the husband who has just beat his wife for the tenth time because she, “Pushed him just a little too far.” He did nothing wrong in his eyes. So how dare I take her side and take away his freedom for at least six hours? He will take a swing at me and do everything in his power to prevent my handcuffs from being placed on his wrists. And despite the fact she called the police, she may attack me too for not just asking him to leave for the night rather than take him to jail.
My life does not matter to that guy high on PCP standing in the middle of the street causing chaos. He will immediately become aggressive no matter what I say to him because he is currently seeing monsters in his mind, and I am the personification of those monsters. My baton strikes will not work because he feels nothing. The Taser may stop him, but I am guaranteed to be in a fight for my life and the safety of others as soon as the electricity stops—if it does work. Then I’lltake him into custody as quickly as possible.
My life does not matter to the gangbanger who slings dope to kids on the streets, who just killed to rival gangbangers in a drive-by, and who I happen to turn around on when I see the vehicle that matches the description dispatch gave earlier. Life means nothing to him no matter who it is, but especially the man with a badge who will put him away for taking someone else’s life. He will be more than happy to put a bullet in me to get away, because, in his eyes, my life is contemptible.
My life does not matter to children who have been raised by parents to believe that I am evil, that I am only going to come to take their mommy or daddy to jail, and that I will never be there to help them because I see a skin color instead of a human being. They are sold a story by their families and believe what they see on TV, having never really interacted with police officers in their community.
My life does not matter to the social media quarterbacks who sit on their computer or their phone and comment about how they would have done it better and subdued that criminal with little to no force (because they have seen it done in the movies a million times). They call me “pig,” “racist,” “Nazi,” and many other names and wish harm or death to me and my brothers and sisters in blue. Yet for some reason these same people have never worn a badge and you could not pay them enough money to risk their lives on a daily basis like we do. These same people are quick to demand police response when something happens to them. They want action and the perpetrator caught immediately. Some of these people are celebrities with huge followings.
My life does not matter to the media who is free to blast smartphone videos—specifically, tiny clips of long videos—all over television and the internet. The whole story has not been told, but the witness who knew the person arrested or, sometimes, killed by police can obviously give you an impartial version of the events that unfolded. The “victim” will always have their most innocent picture shown time and time again to prove they were just an average citizen being harassed and brutalized by corrupt and racist men and women who wear their “military-style” uniforms. The media gives you the version that sells, not the impartial story. I have yet to hear a media story start with the phrase, “The investigation has just begun and we do not know the whole story, so we will not pass judgement on what took place.” An officer will be vilified in the court of public opinion before the ink has even dried on the statement he/she made about what really happened.
My life definitely does not matter to politicians who are more than happy to hang an officer out to dry after an incident they know nothing about to score favorable points with people they would like to have vote for them. These same politicians are more than happy to have their police escorts and their security detail to guard them everywhere they go. But they feel nothing for an officer who had no choice but to use force or take the life of an individual, because again they have never worn the uniform and badge, and what a great opportunity it is to get in front of a camera while sticking up for poor, innocent victims.
Joe and Jane citizen, you have nothing to fear. For the world is a dangerous place with people who have no regard for life, no regard for others’ property, and no regard for an officer with a badge. For no matter how much my life and every other officers’ life does not matter to so many, we will still be there to protect you. We will respond to that call with regard for our life, but much more for yours. We will arrest those who have done wrong. We will keep you safe because that’s what we do. No matter how many times our badge is dragged through the mud, spit on, and trashed, we will dust it off, put it on, and continue to do what we were trained to do.