Late at night on a Thursday my Dad, Sister, and I were gathered around the TV in the living room of my grandmother's house, watching the evening news as we typically do. As we began to discuss changing the channel to see if there were any movies playing, a red, flashing banner caught our attention that read “Breaking News: Five Officers Shot In Downtown Dallas”. My Dad reached for the remote and turned the volume up to hear the details; the anchor had reported that the shooter had most likely shot into a crowd of police officers from an elevated position. It was clear that the attack had been aimed at law enforcement.
As I continued watching, thoughts poured into my mind at an unreal rate that made me rethink what my dad had chosen as profession and what it meant to be a police officer. My feelings were very indecisive; At one point I began thinking I was happy that he was out in the community, that thought slowly turned to me thinking about the dangers he goes through on a day to day basis. I watched the banner change every few minutes from five officers to six then seven. I began to put myself in the shoes of the families that had been affected and imagine what it was like to see their family member leave and see their name appear on the news next to a list of the others that were killed.
The number of officers shot grew to nine and I began thinking about how lucky I actually was to have my dad sitting next to me as we watched terrible events unfold in a city that was a mere four hours from my hometown and how it was very possible for my dad to leave one day and never come back home.
As the night continued, the news channels began showing footage of the shooter from the perspective of a cameraman on a rooftop; being that the footage was unfiltered, we witnessed the shooter come behind an officer and shoot him at point blank, execution style. At this very moment I realized just how serious the situation actually was. The difference between having a shooting explained to you versus witnessing somebody die on camera is huge. As I sat and watched in awe, my sister said she couldn’t stand watching anymore as people were slaughtered on live television. As for my dad, he sat and watched with no expression because of the bourbon that he had been slowly sipping throughout the night. I knew he couldn’t actually comprehend what had happened but my expression of fear had seemed to get my point across.
At the end of the night I went bed thinking about the families that had suddenly lost a family to the hands of a man determined to take innocent lives. I thought about my Dad for a while as I drifted into slumber; so in the end what I take from all of this? Don’t take things for granted because they can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.