Warning: This video contains graphic images. If I doesn’t make you cry, or at least give you the chills, you have no soul.
It’s Police Week; you all know how I feel about that.
So what about the people in the uniform? What’s the best and worst case day for them? Best case – go home at the end of the shift. Worst case – never make it home. Somewhere in between, there are a lot of head cases – and I’m not talking about the people in the uniform.
Suppose you are talking to your co-workers about celebrating a birthday that night. You are called out to serve a warrant to a head case. You get shot in the face. And the legs. Now what?
You put all of your training to work. This is one time a wife is glad her husband spent an hour on the toilet reading. He was reading about how to survive.
Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCC) – treat the casualty, prevent additional casualties and complete the mission. Words he lives by, literally.
We all know how dumb cops are, Steve is no different. He wastes his time educating himself on survival and reads the latest from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. His training and education may have saved his life.
There was also a lot of breathing and a little luck involved. Yes, I said breathing. It may seem like the most natural thing in the world but when you are critically injured, it becomes the most important thing in the world. If you aren’t breathing, you lose dexterity and you can’t move. Your heart rate also goes up. You start to panic. If you are breathing, you are focused; you can think more clearly – clear thinking is what got Steve through.
After he was shot, his partners helped him to safety and completed the mission. They remembered their training and he remembered his. They all continued to breathe.
As dramatic as it sounds, police need to learn how to survive and how to kill. What does that mean? That means you must be mentally prepared for the aftermath in the event you are shot or you shoot. Your co-workers must also be prepared. They must be prepared to leave you behind to save yourself while they neutralize the subject. Neutralize could simply mean getting them into cuffs, it could also mean killing them before they kill someone else.
What about the people that say police work is easy? That anyone could get shot at any time? The former is false, the latter is true. Anyone could get shot at any time; I think your odds go up when it’s your job to stop the people with the guns from roaming the streets.
As for the easy, try taking down a large man strung out on crack, mushrooms or the drug of the day while people are standing around filming you with their cell phones. Get used to seeing dead bodies and witnessing horrific abuse. It’s not easy building an internal defense so the images swirling in your mind don’t drive you mad.
What does this have to do with the guy in the video? These are the things Steve and I talked about. Steve who? Officer Steve Hough.
“Steve, I thought you were supposed to clean the bathroom?”
“Must have forgotten, after all, I was shot in the face.”
“You can’t use that forever.”
“I know, that’s why I haven’t mentioned my legs. When I think I’ve worn out the face, I’m going to blame it on getting shot in the leg.”
Two and a half years after the shooting, Steve is able to laugh at himself. Actually, he laughed at himself before the shooting, during it and after. Nothing’s changed there.
Steve is in the business to catch people; some people are in the business not to get caught. If you’d like to read about how two people doing business met on a fateful day, you can read about it here. For the record, this wasn’t an ordinary citizen. This was a convicted felon with warrants for kidnapping, assault, possession of ammunition and a firearm and, a little past due child support thrown in. What I loved about Steve’s story? After I read 4 articles, I realized I didn’t know the name of the subject, why he was wanted or what happened to him. I had to ask Steve. That is how it should always be. Let the attention fall where it should – on the innocent.
What I did learn is that Steve is the recipient of a Medal of Valor, a Purple Heart, a Congressional Badge of Honor and a whole lot of love. What I didn’t learn was what the man behind the bullet is really like, what his pet peeves about the shooting are, what he’s learned and how he’s using that experience. That’s why I called him. Learn about those things here.
Today, remind yourself that police work isn’t easy. Remind yourself that when you open the door to your office, you can be pretty confident in knowing what is on the other side. Remind yourself that when you turn on the news, you don’t have to dial a loved one’s cell phone to make sure they are okay. Remind yourself that there are good guys with guns.
Read Part 2 Here and here from Steve’s partner here.