As a mother I have three children. Ages 9, 8 and 2.
As a wife, I have one husband. A husband who has dedicated his life to make sure our community is a safer place, day in and day out.
As a dispatcher, I have 9 Deputies, 6 PD officers, 7 jailers, 5 Fire stations, 1 EMS station, 4 First Responder crews. And this doesn’t even count the part timers.
As a human being, I am angry.
In the past week, I have sent my husband into two different schools, in two different counties, to protect two of my children from threats made at their schools. I have listened to the radio traffic. I have called officers out to work when they are not scheduled. I have listened to state, and surrounding counties place perimeters around my children’s safe places. I have answered text messages, and social media questions as vaguely as possible.
I have spent hours waiting for updates. Minutes listening for any sign that things weren’t going as planned on radio traffic. I have run license plates, and drivers licenses. I’ve placed check in calls with officers who weren’t responding on the radio. I have breathed many sighs of relief when my friends, coworkers and family clear the scenes.
You see, I too am a mother. I too am terrified as to what is going on inside of that school when my phone goes off and I am no where around my children. I too, sit idly by while waiting to make sure my children are still breathing. I, like many others, have spent my nights and weekends having talks with my children on why they may have to spend their time locked inside of their classrooms hiding with no lights on, instead of learning and having fun with their friends. I have watched them sleep at night, and hugged them tighter when they leave.
I am also a wife. I am part of an elite group of men and women who wake up each day not knowing if their spouse will make it home at night. I watch the vest go on, the gun get loaded, and I hear the taser tested. I watch my husband sleep restlessly at night, and listen to middle of the night phone calls from his staff making sure they are following procedures. I hear his tone change when all fun and games is taken away from the conversation. I watch his eyes get one more look as he walks out the door going in route to a call, not knowing if he will see my again.
But, there’s another step. Not only do I have children in the school, and my husband running into that school, but my entire world responds there when things are crashing down. My co-workers have become my family. Not only do I worry about my Husband, and our children, but I also have to protect those who protect me.
With one tiny note, or text, or Snapchat my world crumbles. Through all of this, I must remain calm, and diligent. I must not stray from a 5 foot area. I have to answer the phone calls and the radio channels with professionalism, and grace. I must have faith in the crews that I have paged to protect everyone I call home. With that, your children are included. Yes, it is my job, but don’t ever doubt that I will take that job seriously. I will not hesitate, I will not bow down to evil.
This has got to stop. A child should be able to feel safe and protected while they engage in a learning environment. These young children should not even have it in their hearts to threaten any kind of violence towards their peers, or elders. Where as a nation have we gone wrong, when our children start to think their lives are not worth living?
I don’t have all the answers, I just have the call to be part of the thin gold line.
And my heart, is tired.