I remember the first time Sam told me that someone had threatened to kill him.
Now, mind you, this isn't the first time someone actually had threatened his life, this was just the first time Sam told me about it.
He had been in and out all day, but, he had called me very abruptly at one point and barked at me to lock all the doors and windows and to just hang and watch movies all day.
I thought he was being super rude, but, I did it anyhow.
When he came home that night, he barely spoke to any of us, and was really unpleasant through bedtime. If you know me, you know that didn't really sit well with my delicate lady sensibilities. The second all the kids were sleeping, I was right up in his face, demanding to know why he was being such a grouch and ordering me around.
It was like pulling teeth, but, he finally let it out. Someone he had arrested had threatened to kill him. But, not only that, he had said he would be sending people to find his family to kill them too.
Now, we had been dealing with a rash of random people showing up at our house wanting to talk to "the cop who lives there", so, this threat felt more probable than it normally would have. That was one of the first times I realized Sam worried about the safety of his family because there was an ACTUAL REASON TO WORRY.
Things changed after that.
We talked more. We talked about one of the times some drunk tried to take Sam's gun from him. We talked about other people who had threatened him. We started changing what we did in public, where we went. We stopped trusting our neighbors to be our friends, because Sam had arrested some of their relatives, and we really didn't know how that made them feel. We made safety plans for ourselves and for the kids, because we had realized they could be targets too for someone who had an ax to grind with a cop.
The world got colder.
Then, the killing started to ramp up. I remember the 4 Lakewood officers being murdered. It seemed like it opened a floodgate. So many to remember. Deputy Goforth being murdered while he was pumping gas was one that really hit me. People were just hunting the police down. Last night, 11 cops in Dallas were shot. 5 are dead as of this writing.
Somewhere in these past few years, I finally learned to shoot a gun.
I never told Sam, or anyone else why I had finally decided to learn before today, but, I think it is important to know right now.
I learned to shoot because I'm afraid one day someone is going to try to kill my husband because of the color of his uniform, and I want to know, if I'm there, if I have the chance, I can shoot them back. I don't have faith in bystanders to protect my husband, so I need to be ready.
That is the world I live in today.
I live in a world where we all protest what lives matter. There are social movements, I get it. I respect it. I understand most of it. But, when the bullets fly, all I see are scared men and women in BLUE who are trying to go home to their loved ones at the end of their shift.
I see a public who handed these men and women badges, handcuffs and guns, told them to protect everyone, make the best decisions under extreme stress, and never make a mistake, and then started standing in front and BEHIND and all around them to shout at them, throw things, and threaten them.
Or, maybe threaten their family.
I get it.
We're mad that cops are jerks sometimes. That they make bad calls in moments of panic. That some of them are murderers.
I said it. Some cops are murderers.
The same is true of bankers, teachers, actors, basketball players... everyone. People can be jerks.
So, have your protest. Have your cause. Picket. Do whatever you want. I'm going to respect it, and that LEO of mine is going to stand up for your right to free speech and all that good stuff.
But, know that there is a tiny, terrified redhead who will tear through a thousand of you to keep her law enforcement officer safe. If you want to get to him, you'll need to get through me.
So, threaten him. Threaten us. Because, if you do actually attempt to make good on those threats, my husband won't be the one you should be afraid of. Promise.