“So we gave up. I'd finally had enough of chasing after a ghost who did not want to be seen. We'd failed, maybe, but some mysteries aren't meant to be solved.” 
― John Green


(Three months ago)

            The day at work had really been a rough one. They say every cop has the one case that he can never let go. We are all trained from day one that cops aren’t supposed to let emotions get mixed up with their jobs, but bottom line we are human and it happens. I figured that being a Marine I had learned how to detach and do what it takes to get the job done and that it would carry over into my police work. And for the most part, it did. Yeah, people do a lot of stupid and senseless things, and being a cop you see more than your fair share of the idiocy. I thought I had seen a lot from being in Okinawa, Thailand and Korea, but never once during my service tours had I faced such blatant disregard for life as I encountered right here in Tacoma. We see all kinds of cruelties that one person can place on another, but we cannot react or let our reactions show while in the line of duty. I suppose I have been rather lucky or as Daddy would say blessed that I have been spared the worst of it. I have heard so many stories from fellow officers and I have to say, people are just sick.

Usually I can shut of the emotional side and keep it in “cop mode.” It’s not that cops don’t care, because we do. We wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t care. But we also know that if we let each victim get to us, there would be no way we could do our jobs objectively or for any length of time. Just over four months ago, we were working a case drugs and gangs. Nothing really out of the norm for our city to be honest. My team had just got set up for surveillance or stake out what ever term best suits you. I was standing behind our squad car, getting my vest and some ammo when I heard the shots. Out of instinct we all took cover and pulled our weapons. I looked over the squad car, raising my head just enough to be able to see. A black sedan was slowly driving down the street, bullets flying from the back passenger window. There were three young men up on the porch of a house that were firing back.

It all happened so very fast. Before I could even register the full scene, all the yelling and discern who was shooting who. It was then that I saw the small child. She was sitting just at the edge of the yard, playing and when the bullets started she stood up. Mortified I was the bullets rip into her tiny body. I stood and began to shoot, thinking I could get to her and protect her. Doug yanked my butt back down, making me stop and think. When I looked over again it was clear there could be no saving that little angel. Blood covered her too still frame. As the team fired back and were able to catch the teens on the porch, the ones in the car sped away. Though we got a description, plate number and make on the car, we didn’t locate it or those inside of it. No doubt they chop shopped it out after the shooting. Thinking back, it was in that moment that the cynical side of me pushed aside the side that believed in good always prevailing.

I can’t tell you who was arresting, who was taking notes and sketching the scene. That was all a blur.  I can tell you that though I knew it was useless, I ran to the child and tried to find any sign of life. The picture of her laying there as if asleep, but for all the blood won’t leave me for the rest of my life. What was she doing out there all alone? Where were her parents? I was so angry that no one protected this tiny life. Later I found out her name was Marissa. Were it not for Doug I probably would have walked off the job that night. He convinced me that our job was to catch the guys that did this and bring them to justice. I drank the kool aide, believing we could do just that. Of course months have passed, we never caught the guys, Doug got shot and the whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth. It is definitely time to move on.

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Comment by Charlie Swan on May 8, 2016 at 7:40am

Scarred for life, a saying that is so true. No one should see such horrors. We can't same 'em all, Johnnyboy... we wanna but we can't. I've had a few times in my life where I wanted to just throw down my belt and walk off into the sunset, never to return. In the end I realize if I do that I'm not fulfilling my commitment to myself to make a difference.
It's gets rough sometimes but the good will always outweigh the bad.

Hang in there Johnnyboy.


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