WALKING THE POINT
There are some things you just can’t do without suffering casualties… very literally and profoundly, and our job is one of them. You can’t race cars without crashes. You can’t dig mines without cave-ins, and you sure as hell can’t send cops out into the streets of a violent society without violent deaths.
Our fallen brothers and sisters knew that and did it anyway… as we all do or have done.
Their friends will tell you they did the job because they loved it, and any of us who can’t say that should envy them for it. At least they died as rare and precious people, doing what they loved to do, and doing it for the noblest of reasons. That is something we can never explain outside our profession.
You see you can’t be a good cop simply because you couldn’t find another job. You can only be a good cop because you want it. And there is an answer to why they died, something I learned a half world away many years ago as a young Marine, preparing to face an enemy in combat for the first time. It was then that my Sergeant explained that, like it or not, there are only three rules in war:
RULE NUMBER ONE IS "YOUNG MEN DIE"
RULE NUMBER TWO IS "YOU CAN'T CHANGE RULE NUMBER ONE"
RULE NUMBER THREE IS "SOMEBODY HAS TO WALK THE POINT"
You see when soldiers advance, knowing the enemy is near, there is always one man way out in front of everyone else. His duty is to look and listen and sense that first contact, to spot the enemy, pinpoint the ambush, fire that first shot, and as a consequence, take those first shots.
It offends the logical mind and denies the instinct for survival. It ages and saddens and wizens, and frequently kills those who take their turn “WALKING THE POINT." But it must be done, or there will be no protection for the rest, just more bloodshed and more grief…for the "POINT MAN" is there to save lives, even if he gives his own in the process.
Society might not be a company of soldiers, but it certainly has and needs someone walking the point. Every time you go out the station door. Every time you answer a radio call, every time you stop to check out something suspicious, you are "WALKING THE POINT"...And you can’t change rule number one.
If I could say something directly to the people of our society, it would be this. I know some of you will remember our fallen brothers and sisters, but that’s not good enough. I want you to honor them for what they did for you... that which they needn’t have done.
I’m not just talking about that day or night that a "ROUTINE" call or traffic stop went horribly bad. I mean what they did for you day after day, in darkness and light, rain or shine, on holidays and on their loved one’s birthdays. Without even expecting a "THANK YOU" in return.
and thanks, Meadowlark for sharing the link to begin with...you rock!