Thoughts of a First Responder


Sometimes I feel the need to write because of the emotions I feel or because I need to express myself over some incident or event that has happened that compels me to share my thoughts and or feelings about that incident and/or event.

I too feel the pain of the nation over the senseless killings that happened in CT., and I mourn the loss of innocent lives, but my connection is different then many of you. I can not know the pain that the community in that area is feeling but I can relate to the loss of innocent lives. I have not experienced it personally but have experienced it first hand. My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones but as a police officer for 30 years my heart also aches for the first responders. They experienced scenes that NO human being should ever see.

It is the nature of the beast to never discuss what we see or what we feel. We are NEVER supposed to be emotional over an event, we must maintain our composure at all times. We are not supposed to express our feelings, or talk about a scene. We are expected to be strong and detached. This is an issue amongst my brothers and sisters that needs to be addressed.

Almost anyone that enters this line of work is an Alpha personality, the reason we are often looked upon unfavorably, we must be in control…that isn’t a power trip, that is a fact. We must be in control because almost always the situation calls for someone to enter the scene and be in control…YOU demand that from us. We give it to you but at a cost. We are expected to be in control and when we enter a situation in which there is no control, no rational explanation, no rhyme or reason, only carnage we are expected to deal with it…to carry on and do our jobs. Police Officers are very adept at disconnecting from an extremely gruesome scene or emotional circumstance. We deal with the horror with off the cuff humor at times to save our selves from the shear horror of what we are witnessing.

We run into problems when we can not find our way back to reality, when we detach from the the event that confronts us because we HAVE to be the one in control but then never reattach, never acknowledge the event and how it made us feel. Almost every officer I know has been to some traumatic event, has tried in vain to save a life or has been a responder to a devastating event that defies explanation. be that a death by natural causes, suicide, homicide or accident. I’ve seen it too many times.

My concern is always for those that never learn to reconnect, to express their feelings, to tell someone that what they saw was horrendous and effected them in a way that no one can ever know. The first responders that responded to the horrific scene in Ct. will forever be changed, but they need to reattach, to be sure to talk to those around them to express how they feel and to know that tears are ok and that others feel that pain as well.

Often we hear about officers ending their lives, in fact the suicide rate is twice as high as the National average, it’s easy access to a means (guns always available) but it stems from a horrible stigma that you can not lose control. You MUST always be in control and if you lose control you are weak. whether it be in your personal life or public life.

I hope that my brothers and sisters in Ct. seek the help they so dearly need, to speak of the unspeakable, to share feelings and to find themselves reattached as humans and know that it is ok to shed a tear and to feel sorrow.

This isn’t about guns or the right to own or carry them. This is about human beings, the victims taken from this earth far too early and for me,and my brothers and sisters, about sanity and maintaining faith in human kind when all seems lost.

Categories : Family Life

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