If you feel like answering anything in this post with a joke or smart remark; don't. I will be highly offended with sarcasm or disrespect of any kind and I will file a complaint with the moderators. This is a very serious matter.
When I returned from SE Asia the Army was putting us into Oakland in the middle of the night so we didn't have to face the mass of anti-war demonstrators. It was not a good feeling to be reduced to sneaking into your own country. Being called a baby killer is an insult and worse when it's from your own countrymen.
It wasn't until 9/11 that People began to treat their Military and First Responders (Police and Fire) with respect.
Prior to my military service I had spent a year as a campus cop at the local college and then nearly 4 years as a military policeman in Army Intelligence so it was natural to seek a career in Law Enforcement after my discharge.
As a police officer I had to make the decision on the use of deadly force a number of times. Each time I decided deadly force wasn't necessary. Not the night a burglar ran out of a warehouse with an object in his hand, and found I had drawn my weapon and nearly squeezed off a shot before I realized the object was an electric drill, not a pistol (That's the closest I ever came to discharging my pistol while on duty). Not the night I stood eyeball to barrel of a 45 automatic the night a resident ordered me off his property, refusing to accept a death in the family message, while his little girl clung to his leg. Not the night I had to take the weapons away from the irate father who had locked himself and his daughter in her bedroom after a domestic dispute. Not even the night I heard a bang and watched a man carrying a Rugar Red Hawk with 8 inch barrel come running out of a tavern jump behind a telephone pole, point the gun back towards the crowded tavern, then climb into his try and speed away. I stopped his car a few blocks away and convinced him to surrender his fire arm (I found another and a large Bowie knife under the seat). That is the 2nd closest I ever came to discharging my weapon while on duty. Then funny thing is: I was called a coward in two of those incidents by citizens of the community I served.
A police officer often receives injuries in the performance of his duties, sometimes those injuries prove to be disabling or even fatal. My father, who was the Chief of Police in a small town, was so badly injured after being broadsided by a rookie cop running lights and siren that he was forced to retire. A year later I had a similar fate when the rookie I was training did not follow the instructions I gave him (while running lights and siren) and drove us unto the side of a Cadillac at 60 mph. I removed the rearview mirror from its mounting when it collided with my left temple (thanks to my thick Irish skull, I survived the incident). I started having back problems and painful migraine head aches that affected my memory and recall. While on disability leave re couperating from the injuries received in the patrol car accident citizens of the community would phone me at home and berate me for being a slacker. On some of the occasions my wife answered the phone she was reduced to tears.
A few years went by, I continued having the headaches and back problems and survived a few more close encounters with death, and then I got a call about a disturbance at a Hispanic wedding. I responded to find windows smashed out of a car, a 4 ft length of 2X4 laid on the ground beside the car (deduction: Mariachi music and teenagers having a booze and pot party don't mix). It took me about 10 minutes to quell the Rancourous behavior and have members of the group responsible for the broken windows of the car agree to pay restitution.
It was at this point that the actual perpetrator slunk back into the crowd and physically assaulted the car owner at which point all 7734 broke out. I grabbed the assailant and advised him he was under arrest. His friends took exception to this and one grabbed the 2X4 and hit me across the back of the head with it. I was in the fight of my life, as the 2X4 continued to rain down on my head and back, joined by slugs and kicks, I was in fear for my life. I had the legal right, at this point to utilize deadly force to save my own life. As I lay upon the assailant, choking beneath me, and one of his friends was attempt to wrestle my revolver from its holster, (Thank you, Hoyt Holster Company) others continuing to beat and kick me, I looked at all the women and children from the neighborhood and among the wedding guests and made the decision that even if I were killed I could not use my fire arm in self-defence because doing so would jeopardize too many innocent lives (it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life).
Someone in the crowd noticed that the assailant, who I was laying upon, was choking to death, the dark shade of purple the telltale sign. The beating stopped and I struggled to my feet. I grasped the assailant by his collar and threw him into the back seat of the patrol car (Adrenalin can cause a person to due super human things). I grabbed the microphone of the police radio and called for assistance. I turned to face my assailants surrounded by over 50 people, many women and children, it was a "Mexican Standoff."
As a result of that incident six people went to prison, every one who either started the confrontation or assaulted me.
Six weeks later, I returned home, free of being pulled in half by traction. The Doctor instructed me to walk around the block a couple of times a day. Stooped, unsteady on my feet, with cane in hand I tried to follow the doctor's orders. I would no sooner leave my house than the phones in my house and at the police department would start to ring. The kindest comments was that the slacker should be fired, or, if he's well enough to walk, he's well enough to work..
The report of the disturbance was placed by my superior, the detective sergeant, who lived across the street from the incident scene, who watched me get beat half to death with the 2X4, who failed to come to my aid until Sherriff's deputies, State Troopers, and officers from nearby communities arrived in answer to my distress call, and who quickly spread the word of how he save my life. Yet again, I was the one called a coward for not using my fire arm in self-defence (it's hard to defend yourself from a hospital bed). And as far as the decision to accept the possibility of being beaten to death rather than endanger Innocent bystanders, I would make the same decision, given the same type of circumstances, in a heart beat.
I've carried a weapon most of my life, either professionally, for protection when transporting large amounts of money, or personal protection (Once bitten twice shy). I don't carry very deep because if I ever have to use it I don't want to die trying to reach it. I've had to make the critical decision more than once, I'm made the right decision in every case. I known I can make the right call again if and when it occurs. Like a good boy scout I believe in being prepared. Since I don't carry very deep I get "made" every so often. I open carry on my own property and one visitor asked me if the neighborhood I lived in was really that rough. I told him "Not as long as I live here."
Sometimes I find that some people are so irrational about guns that even the thought of being near one drives them into a frenzy. These people will call me a coward for having one, let alone carry one. They also refuse to accept an explanation that they can rest safer at night because of people like me or even entertain the idea.
As a result of the assault that night I have been left unable to experience feelings, I have emotions, but I don't have feelings. And no, they are not the same thing. Feelings require empathy, of which I have none anymore. But there is one thing that will make me cry like a baby. It is when I see people receive the one thing I've never had, recognition for a job well done.
Don't let your guardians go unnoticed or unthanked.
edited to correct spelling errors spell check missed.