Cop killers bullets, armor piercing ammo, Teflon coated pieces of metal designed for the sole purpose of ending life, designed to rip through the vest that officers like my husband strap to their chest every shift, fulfilled their devastating purpose one week ago in Moncton, New Brunswick. My children had no idea why I sobbed that day. They didn’t understand why we wore red on the day of those officers funerals, and they certainly don’t realize how dangerous their father’s job is. Death is still an abstract idea to my kids, the oldest of which is six years old, and murder is a concept that is difficult for anyone to grasp. Still, it’s a reality I live with every time my husband dons his uniform, one I’ve experienced first hand.
I was six weeks pregnant with my first child. I was 24 years old, and I was preparing to become a mother. My fiance had been at work for over 12 hours already and I was beginning to get nervous. I know his job entails overtime more often than not; to Serve and Protect is a promise to strangers, a promise that consistently means I eat dinner alone so that others – so that you – can eat yours safely with your loved ones. So I waited.
When the phone rang relief washed over me. Maybe he’d been held up at a car crash, or a domestic dispute, or maybe he was catching up on paperwork. “Private Number” the call display read. I picked it up and cheerily answered, “Hi babe!” There was a pause on the other end, a sharp intake of breath.
“Is this Carrie”? the voice asked. My stomach slid into my throat.
“Yes” I whispered.
“This is Acting Corporal (Redacted) with the RCMP. I’m phoning to inform you that Constable ‘Scott’ has been involved in a shooting”
My heart beat furiously, the roar of its rising pulse filled my ears and I fought off a wave of nausea.
“oh” was all I managed to say.
“From the information I have gathered your fiance wasn’t injured, but he has volunteered to stay out there until the perpetrator is caught. I’ll contact you with any new developments”.
And just like that I knew. I knew that I was marrying a man whose job was a calling he would always answer, no matter the consequences.
I could give you the details. I could tell you that a stolen car was merely a prelude to the attempted murder of two officers. I could tell you that he dodged the bullets meant to kill him because body armor isn’t meant to save but merely assist in the possibility of survival. I could tell you how he hurt his knee diving into a ditch as a madman tried in vain to make me a widow before I was married and to make my son fatherless before his heart was even developed enough to feel it. Instead, I’ll tell you that he volunteered to serve and protect after his shift was over. I’ll tell you that he’d do it again.
I cried that day those officers were gunned down. I cried for days afterwards as well. I cried for the women made widows and the children made orphaned from their father. I cried out of relief that it hadn’t been his call to take and I cried because one day it might.