I’d like to respond to Young Gun, whose letter to Bullethead appeared in the November/December 2005 issue of Law Officer (p. 80).
Yes, it’s true, I no longer have six-pack abs and arms that challenge my sleeves. Yes, it’s true, I no longer run after bad guys on foot, and it’s been a long time since I had to really fight one. It’s also true I’ve developed the tool-shed body profile I so sincerely vowed I’d never let happen 20-plus years ago.
Let me explain.
When I was at the point in my career where you are now, I could (and did) run half-marathons; now my knees are wrecked. When I had just three years on, like you, I could jump fences, crawl under houses and fight bad guys toe-to-toe, and I’ll never lie and say I didn’t enjoy every minute of it. Now my back, messed up on the job, hurts 24/7/365. I no longer pump iron, run or participate in martial arts; I simply can’t anymore, no matter how much I miss those things.
But as our friend Bullethead mentioned, along the way I learned how to talk to victims, how to read people and how to testify, and I even became recognized by the courts as an expert in a couple areas of our profession.
Now let’s talk about this thin-skinned business.
I do wear my seat belt; I’ve seen too many potential fatalities saved by them not to. I do wear my vest; when I came on the job, we bought our own or did without. I bought one, using up about a fifth of a month’s pay. Yes, I know many officers my age don’t do either of those things, but I also know a number of officers in your age and experience range who don’t. You say one of your former FTOs now has rank and still treats you like a trainee. We are all still trainees and should be for our whole careers! The worst waste of a uniform is on someone who decides not to learn anything new.
Yes, guys my age pretty much run the show. We’ve earned that right, with our years of worry, nightmares, lost family time and permanent injuries, and we accept the responsibility that goes along with it. Hopefully, some day you’ll get over yourself, grow the right attitude and become one of the people who benefit their department in their old age.
Thanks for letting me blow off some steam.
—A Southern Vet of the War on Crime
First, let me say thanks. Thanks for your sacrifice and your service, and second, thanks for your letter.
I see you understand what I was trying to get Young Gun to understand. I also get the distinct impression that while you may have a few pounds and injuries holding you back, you can still knock some heads when you need to, and, more importantly, you understand the difference between needing to and just doing it to prove something.