No, no, they're not coming to get me. It's something else.
I can remember when I thought the cops were the bad guys. You know, the people who harassed innocent teenagers minding their own business with a six-pack of beer down on the beach. Who gave you traffic tickets that got you in trouble with your parents. I was, after all, raised on The Mod Squad. I was impressed by their hip, surly anti-establishment attitude. The cops were derogatorily referred to as "the fuzz." Yeah, I'm really that old.
Fast forward a couple of decades to when I lived in not-yet-very-gentrified and rather dangerous neighborhood in Washington, DC (Columbia Heights to if you went strictly by the map, Adams Morgan if you wanted a cab to take you there after dark). I was happy to see the impressive number of cruisers that patrolled my neighborhood. Thrilled even. Cops were the good guys. I still think they are most of the time.
This morning we turned on the news to hear about a police sergeant shot while responding to a domestic violence call not far from here. When I got to work, we all had an email telling us that this was the son-in-law of one of our co-workers. I see her daughter at work every once in a while, I knew she had a husband named Paul, and I knew he was a cop. Unfortunately, it was this Paul. He heard children inside the apartment screaming and crying, so he went in to save them, and his own three children are now without a father.
Over the years I have collected author photos from books I have worked on. Authors never seem to want these back and I've made several large collages of them. Something I've noticed over the years: The ones who look mean in their picture usually were. Same for the ones who look haughty and arrogant. Happy, friendly, kind people usually take a picture that shows just that. Like Paul Starzyk did. I never met him, but everything I know about him from his family tells me that he was everything you see. I can't imagine the grief they are going through and how badly they will all miss this son-in-law, husband, and father.