Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

May I Walk with You? FIRST RESPONDERS

Recently, I had the wonderful experience of participating in a class that prepared me to carry a concealed pistol. During the class I not only learned the laws concerning carrying a concealed weapon, but also learned the appropriate way to handle a pistol. The class also practiced shooting. It was fun!
The class was taught by three local police officers, who were thorough, very articulate, and compassionate about their jobs. An overriding concern for them was the safety of not only those in the class, but everyone. Without breaking confidentially, they shared many stories of incidents with “bad” guys and the trauma everyone experiences when protecting themselves. Everyone is traumatized when tragic things happen.
My overall response to the full day of being educated in the proper use of a firearm to protect myself and my family is gratitude. I am also grateful for the work these officers do to keep our community safe. Many of us just turn away when tragedy happens, not these guys. All of the presenters shared the trauma they personally experience when being called to respond to tragedy.
Not just police, but firefighters, EMTs, ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors, are traumatized by tragedy, especially if they are called to be first responders to tragedy. As one of my clients said, “Once you see it, you can never pretend you didn’t.” Often these public servants are reminded over and over again of the incidents as they are called to recall them as witnesses in police investigations and court. It wears on them.
Many of us complain when first responders don’t seem to get it right. Who doesn’t have a story to tell? Yet, who do we call when tragedy happens? For every critical story out there, there are hundreds of stories where lives were saved, and people survived tragedy. I and my family were saved by police officers, but that is a story for another time.
Most of us, when we go to work, have a reasonable assurance that we will not have to confront a tragic incident. We’ll be safe and return home at the end of the day. Not so with first responders. They are called on to confront dangerous situations on a weekly, if not daily basis. They must be ready to respond at any moment. That alone can be unnerving. While we can’t do much more than stay out of the way, one thing we all can do is pray for them. “Jesus, bless and keep safe the people who serve us as first responders. In a world gone crazy, keep us all safe.”
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you his peace.”

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