As a father, I have difficulty allowing the possibility of such a horrendous incident to enter my mind while my children are -- presumably -- safe at school during the day. There is a certain expectation that, as we send our kids to school or church or daycare, they will remain safe and unharmed until we return. Sure, we may expect the occasional sick call, maybe even a bump or a broken bone from rough play on the playground.
But not this. Never this. So we are stunned, shocked, outraged and rocked to the core. Twenty children, innocent, young and full of life, taken from loving parents, grandparents, friends, cousins and yes, even those of us who never met them. Taken from us all for no reason, because there can be no reason that will ever make sense to us.
Remembering the First Responders
As I mourn for those children, their families and friends and indeed the entire community of Newtown, I pray also for those brave and special emergency responders, police officers, detectives and federal agents who will be forever scarred by what is likely the most senseless and horrific crime scene any of them have or will ever encounter in their careers.
I have seen first hand tragic and needless death. I have looked in the eyes of loved ones and told them their husband, wife, daughter or son would not be coming home. I have been that 3 AM knock on the door we all fear. Those experiences remain with me always; they never leave. They may fade as time goes on, but they will never depart, and I will always carry a piece of the sadness I felt for each one of those victims I encountered and the loved ones I spoke to.
How much more terrible, then, for those officers and investigators who responded to Sandy Hook and saw first hand the abject horror that had unfolded? How will they cope? No question, they will forever carry that day in their hearts as they seek to make sense of the senseless.
As a police officer, I am well aware that terrible things happen to people who think they are safe all the time. Car crashes, robberies, rapes and even murders happen to people who are just going about their business, day in and day out. But this, this is an evil few could conceive of and none could truly prepare for.
The Dark Side of Criminal Justice and Criminology Careers
There is a dark side to working in criminology and criminal justice careers, a pain and a sadness that, despite all the good you hope to do, will always be lurking underneath.
We deal with the best and the worst of people, and we must always remember to never let our guard down, never think we have seen it all, and never, ever forget that in the face of such tragedy and horror, we are the ones people look to for leadership, comfort and protection. It is a heavy burden, but if you are the kind of person who is willing to take up that yoke, you are exactly the kind of person we need.
Think, Reflect and Pray
Please, whether you've already done so or not, take one more moment to pray for those families, those children, and those first responders. While we are shocked and appalled for a few days before we move on with our business, they are going to carry this horror with them for the rest of their lives.
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