I was giving the benediction at the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office Academy Graduation Ceremony when prompted by the Lord to share a little known fact about the shooting I was involved in many years ago.
Immediately after the shooting, in which I was shot twice before returning fire and killing the suspect, several biased “witnesses” came forward with inaccurate accounts of what they supposedly had seen. I would later find out that a teenage girl who lived in the community did in fact see the shooting in its entirety. She courageously came forward and provided a statement to investigators at risk to herself. Her account of what happened was nearly identical to mine.
Why did she come forward? Why risk her own safety to defend a cop? I can only say that I had taken an interest in her the previous few months. She was a senior at a local high school & I always encouraged her to hit the books. Just a few weeks prior to the shooting, I had promised to get her a graduation present & go to her graduation to cheer her on. By the time I healed up enough after the shooting to get back out into that neighborhood, she was gone. To this day, I have no idea whatever happened to her, but I am thankful she was there that night.
So why dig up that story at a NSO Graduation? It is a good reminder to the new deputies, as well as all of us, to treat people with respect. You can be firm, taking nothing off of anyone, but you can do so respectfully and fairly. I told these deputies the day will come when they will need help & if they begin now to sow seeds of respect & fairness with those around them, don’t be surprised if that help comes from a very unlikely source.
You may find yourself working with or for someone who is a real piece of work. Make the effort to treat them with respect. Hey, you don’t even have to like them, but treat them with respect & see what happens. Don’t be surprised, if over time, things begin to change…for the better!
See You at the Finish Line!