Monday, September 8, 2008

Thinking about police

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.

12 comments:

fromrobinsonroad said...

My sincerest sympathies to you, your co-workers, and especially to Paul's family.

Preppy Chemist said...

This really touched my heart. I am so very grateful for those who rush in to places I would fear to go. Police, firefighters, soldiers, all have a special place of gratitude in my heart. I will keep his family in my prayers.

Traci Anne said...

Oh, this is so sad. Lots of prayers for his family.

More, More, More said...

So very sad. Losing my husband is one of my biggest fears...

Mom on the Run said...

How awful for his family.

KSK said...

Very sad news. And in a domestic violence situation too. Terrible.

The Food Librarian said...

So sad to hear this news. Lots of prayers go to his family.

tommie said...

This is so sad.....prayers for his family!

When my husband was deployed, this was my biggest fear...a fear I lived with for 14 1/2 months!

Monica said...

My greatest fear, and it's so hard when this happens as you realize how it really could happen to you. He seems like a great man and I am keeping his family in my thoughts and prayers.

A. said...

As the sister of a police officer, and the daughter of a recently retired police officer, my deepest sympathies go out to Paul, his family and the community he served.

Angelina said...

How awful and sad. I generally have had a very good experience with cops even when they were busting me as an errant teen in SF. I respect them as a general rule and if I meet a nasty one I know it's not representative of the whole force.

That is a really interesting observation about authors' pictures.

Mary said...

He is a hero...please send many well wishes and prayers from Michigan to Paul's family.