If we were having coffee, I can promise you that we wouldn’t be in a Starbucks. I live in the suburbs, finding a Starbucks isn’t difficult. Unless I’m dispatched to one, I refuse to enter the place because I’d be armed, and the company made it clear a few years ago that they don’t welcome people who are carrying firearms.
I’m a cop. If I’m in uniform, I’ll have a gun. If I’m off duty, I’ll have a gun, you just won’t see it. I carry because it’s my responsibility to protect myself and others from violence. I carry because I’m comfortable in my ability to commit violence to protect others. Starbucks’ ban on weapons carved out an exception for law enforcement.
I enforce and follow the rules. If you don’t want guns in your business, I’ll stay out. You can defend your business with hipster slaps and the Ugg boot and yoga pant militia, I’ll come and help if it gets out of hand and someone calls 911.
So, if we were having coffee, we’d have to be in a gas station because you aren’t coming to my house for coffee unless I’ve known you long enough to trust you there. That’s my sanctuary. It’s where Mrs. Donut and our sugar donuts reign supreme. My home is where I take off my uniform and transform into a husband and father.
While I’m there, I’m going to focus my time on my wife and kids, because I don’t get to spend much time with them. If we just met, you’d have a better chance of having a cup of coffee in the Oval Office than at my kitchen table.
So if we find a table at a gas station, you’ll quickly discover that I’m just a guy. I’m a guy who is comfortable in my own skin, and I have to be because I’m constantly bombarded with media and personal interactions where I’m told I’m the bad guy for being a cop.
I hold no grandiose illusions of my personal greatness. I’m reminded of my flaws pretty frequently because drunks, assholes, and my own administrators don’t hesitate to point them out. I’m reminded that I’m not indestructible because I get bumps and bruises from those drunks and assholes. I’m very aware of my own mortality, because cops get killed all too often.
You’ll find out that I like my coffee straight, no sugar or cream. I’m a lot like my coffee. If you ask a question, you’ll get an answer. I can’t promise you’ll like what you hear, but it will be the truth as I understand it. Some people never acquire a taste for coffee, and some people won’t be able to acquire a taste for guys like me. I’m ok with that. Mrs. Donut and the sugar donuts like it, and you don’t pay my bills or live in my house.
If you wanted to hear about it over a cup of coffee, I could tell you about all of the things that go on in your little suburban utopia after the lights get turned off. I’d tell you that the drugs and violence that you see on the news in our major city nearby also happen here, just not on that scale.
I could tell you about how I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen a human transform into a waxy figure with a foamy mouth due to a heroin overdose. I could tell you about how some of those people are revived by naxolone, only to overdose again in a week or less. You’d learn about how hard I work to keep heroin out of our community, because I have kids and the idea of one of my own getting into that drug terrifies me.
If we were having coffee, I’d be happy to hear your views on politics, but I would likely shy away because no current political party fits me. I’d tell you that when I vote, it’s usually by picking the lesser of the two evils because none of the candidates really represent me or my beliefs.
I work for the government, so I’m acutely aware of how inefficient it actually is nearly all of the time. If you allowed it, you’d hear me tell you how legislators don’t pass the laws that really need passed, they pass laws that serve to get them reelected. I could tell you about the hypocritical laws I’m tasked with enforcing because of a knee jerk reaction to something that was a hot button issue in the media but only served to reduce the freedoms in our community.
In the time it would take us to finish the first cup, you’d understand that I don’t care what color someone’s skin is, who they worship, or who they lust after. You’d learn that I wholeheartedly believe that there are good people and bad people in every group.
I’d tell you that life is fleeting, and I have plenty of examples of how fragile it can be. You’d hear that fragility isn’t lost on me, and my life is included in those that matter right along with yours.
If we had time for a second cup of coffee, I’d tell you that I’m proud to be one of the people who gets called when someone is having the worst day of his or her life. I would tell you that while I usually see people at their worst, I still believe that I stand on the side what is right and enjoy my job the most when I can remove a truly bad person from our streets by taking them to an adult time out in the county jail.
During that second cup, I’d tell you how frustrating my chosen career can be. I would tell you that the negative verbal assaults from the media, drunks, and assholes really don’t bother me, but I get upset when the members of the star and oak leaf cluster club make decisions that have a negative impact on my effectiveness or my time with my family. I’d tell you about how we are pushed to write tickets by those club members because they like the revenue but have forgotten about what a negative impact those tickets can have on a jury pool.
I could tell you about the mind-numbing task of completing the redundant paperwork that is required of cops. I’d tell you that we were overworked and underpaid as a species. I’d tell you how many part time jobs I work to supplement my family’s income and how little sleep I actually get because of them.
While we were drinking that second cup, we could engage in a conversation about the current state of our society. I’d share my concerns that our priorities are all wrong and that we need to return to focusing on individual responsibility, resiliency, and hard work. I’d tell you about how much I worry that our nation’s greatness will forever be tarnished in the name of political correctness and fear of offending someone.
We could debate it, but I’d stand my ground that I think we are in danger of giving our children a nation that is worse off than it was when we took control from our parents. I’d tell you that I think our only hope is to return to a way of life in which parents actually parent their children and serve as role models for them.
Before we finished, I’d tell you that given the opportunity to do it all over again, I’d make the same choices. I’d tell you that it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, but it is one that suits me.
I’d also tell you that I’d rather my own children find a career that doesn’t involve them carrying a weapon, because I have come to terms with my own mortality but don’t even want to consider theirs.
I’d do my best to relay to you that in spite of the hassles I experience as a law enforcement officer, I still love what I do. I’d also tell you that I love Mrs. Donut and the sugar donuts more than I do myself, and because of that I’d fight against any odds to finish my shift and return home to them.
When we finished the second cup, I’d tell you I had to go, because it’s time to go patrol the Donut…