One of the things on my bucket list is saving a law enforcement officer’s life. They saved mine. In 1984 when I was held up and shot in the head at point blank range, members of the NYPD’s 84th Precinct were there in a flash and took me to the hospital. When I heard that four police officers from the City of Lakewood in Washington state were murdered in cold blood my bucket list commitment strengthened and my heart broke.
They four murdered officers are, Tina Griswold, 40; Ronald Owens, 37; Mark Renninger, 39; and Greg Richards, 42. They had families, friends, people who loved them, people they loved. They had dreams and hopes. And, they had a right to live out their lives. If that doesn’t break your heart, consider this; as a result of their murders, nine children have lost a parent. Renninger has three kids, Owens has one, Griswold has two and Richards has three
Law enforcement officers are human beings. Too many forget that. With a media addicted to reporting the worst in people, cops get ink when one of them abuses someone, does the wrong thing. And yes, when a law enforcement officer crosses the line, they deserve to be taken to task like anyone else. But the family of law enforcement officers across this nation do not deserve to be defined by the mistakes of some. The cops that raced to the scene when I got shot had no damned idea what they were walking into. Shots fired, man screaming for help. What can the get from that other than there has been gunfire? But they came anyway to stop the gunfire and try and save my life and they didn’t even know me! Their actions, going towards gunfire as opposed to away from it, are heroic by any measure, yet, in my case, as in the case of those like me, the media didn’t so much as lift a pen in interest.
There are four human beings dead now who had taken a job so they could protect and save lives like yours and mine.
I am sure I am not alone when I say I wish I could have protected them and saved their lives. All of my heart and soul is with their families and friends, and with their colleagues, and with all members of the law enforcement family in my country.
I am no one special and am anything but superman, but I will make this promise; if I ever encounter a situation where a law enforcement officer is being threatened or attacked, every ounce of my being will look to protect the life of the law enforcement officer. To those who might say, but Peter, you don’t even know these people or why risk your life, my answer is a simple one. The cops that saved my life didn’t know me and they risked their life to protect mine. They deserve to same and, for what it’s worth, they’ll get it from me.