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My Point of View
I couldn’t believe I robbed a bank. I kept thinking this was some sort of dream. I had pinched myself 20 times, but when I opened my eyes, I was still in my van, and there were still two cop cars following me. It hadn’t been a violent action anyway. I don’t think I would have been able to shoot anyone, and I had my reasons. My wife and I had been laid off, and my daughter was born two weeks ago. I needed the money, to pay off the hospital, to keep our house, to keep my family.
Car chases aren’t as exciting as they are in the movies. I’m driving at almost insane speeds, and I know if I slow down, the cops will get me. People get off the roads to make way for us. They step out of their cars to see what’s going on, wearing scared expressions. They don’t know my side of the story, but I feel like a monster. I’ve been demonized. I’m the monster the cops are protecting the civilians from. The bad feeling I already have gets worse. I hear approaching sirens, probably reinforcements for the two cops already chasing me. I turn on the radio to try to drown them out. I wish I could take back what I did, but life doesn’t work that way. I turn off the radio. It doesn’t feel right. I just sit back and listen to the hum of my engine and the approaching sirens. I’m beginning to hyperventilate. I might be going into shock!
As I’m thinking to myself that this is as bad as its going to get, it gets worse. My engine is failing. The van is slowing down. Black smoke is coming out from under the hood. Everything is falling apart. It’s just like what the used car dealer had told me earlier. I had been looking for a van, a vehicle to fit the money in. I picked one that seemed perfect, it had high gas mileage, relatively new, and didn’t have many miles on it- it was the one I’m driving right now. But he warned me against it. He said I should pick another vehicle, that this one wasn’t good enough. He seemed so smug, the type of person who thought they knew everything. And he was telling me to pick a different vehicle.
I hated that type of person. How could he know what I was going through? I felt frustrated. I didn’t even consider his claims. Maybe he was trying to help me. Maybe if I wasn’t so angry, I would have thought through what he said. Maybe instead of being chased by the cops, my wife and I could be at home looking for employment. But I didn’t. All I thought about at the time was proving him wrong, showing him that I was right in what I was doing. So I told him I would take my chances, paid for the car, and drove away. Thinking about that now, I ask myself, how could I have been so stupid?
As I come back to my senses and stop thinking about the past, I realize my van has stopped. It’s completely dead. I try vainly to get it to start again, but nothing. I notice in my rearview mirror that the cops have gotten out of the cars and are headed towards me. There are three of them, and the sirens still approach, so there will be more.
The reality of my situation sets in again. I can’t go to jail. My daughter would grow up with her father in jail, and it would be my fault. I would miss watching her grow up, and she would have to live with the fact her father is a criminal. When I grew up, I looked up to my Dad. He was the person I looked up to the most; I wanted to grow up to be just like him. I can’t even imagine what my life would have been like knowing he was a criminal. I can’t live knowing I am about to do that to her. I won’t do that to her. I know what I have to do. I slide a magazine into my gun, and dive out of the car.
I take two shots. The cops are completely shocked, but their training quickly takes over. They dash back to their cars, using them as cover from my shots, and return fire. I have to take care of this quickly; if their reinforcements show up, I’ll be doomed. I take in my situation. Three cops hiding behind their cars, many more coming, and a lot of people watching the fight from inside their houses. A wave of anger flashes over me. They see this as some sort of entertainment!? I’m going through probably the scariest and most painful points of my life, and they’re watching it like some sort of movie! My anger takes over my actions. I’m firing more and more. I might overwhelm them, but I notice something. I can only see two cops. What happened sets in soon after.
One of the cops got around behind me while the others distracted me. He is right there, raising his gun. Instinct is beginning to take over. I don’t even think it over. I simply raise my gun and shoot him. Twice. Once in the stomach, once in the heart. I see the sadness in his eyes, and as I look around, I see the looks of horror in the eyes of the people watching. I can’t believe it. I’m the worst of the worst. I took a human’s life.
My body goes limp. I sink to my knees. My gun slides out of my hands. All I can think about is the dead man in front of me. His family, waiting at home for him, to hear the exciting stories he would tell them. But he would never come. They would have someone come to their door to tell them that their husband, their father, was dead. His family and friends would miss him. They would grieve for him, but he would be gone no matter what they did. And it was all my fault.
I look down. My shirt is turning red. I’ve been shot. I don’t feel it. My thoughts are painful enough. Most children see their fathers as heroes, but not my daughter. Her father is a criminal, and a murderer. She will have to grow up without a father to guide her, to take her to school, to help her with her homework, to give her away at her wedding. And the police officer I killed, he had a family too. They will have to suffer through losing him, too. But he didn’t deserve it. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was just trying to protect people from the monster that is me.
I lie back. It’s starting to rain. It feels good on my face. It’s nice to think about something other than the monster I’ve become. I know I’m going to die soon. I can see black spots forming at the edge of my vision. I’m leaving my family behind. I remember what my wife told me when we were laid off. She said, “We can get through this, you and me, together.” Maybe she was right. Maybe we could have found work. It didn’t matter now. She isn’t with me. She is alone.
The rain falls harder. My eyes begin to close. The pain is coming back as I think about my wife. How could she tell our daughter about the horrible things I have done? I hope she doesn’t, or at least waits until she’s older. In my final moments, I whisper, “I deserve this.” I’m the worst person in the world.