Friday, May 13, 2011

The Real Texas Rangers

You have no doubt seen the show:  Walker: Texas Ranger.   Chuck Norris fit the role ideally.  He of course was portrayed as a cult hero of sorts.  One article describes the show as being appealing because of its improbable combination of martial arts and modern Western genres, and its wildly unrealistic depiction of police work. That is pretty accurate.  Most recently Texas Governor Rick Perry honored Norris by making him an “Honorary Texas Ranger” at the Garland office of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

I am fortunate to be a part of the corps of volunteer chaplains with the Texas Department of Public Safety.  One of the privileges of that role is to serve with and for the Texas Rangers.  Today a double homicide trial concluded in Granbury with a guilty verdict.   I assisted with the death notifications and one of the funeral services for the victims in that heinous crime that took place June 27, 2008.  I wore the double hat of being chaplain for both DPS and Granbury Police Department.

As far as I know there were not any martial arts involved in solving this difficult case.  But I do know that everyone involved in the investigation put a lot of overtime in for weeks upon weeks.  Four capable investigators with the Granbury Police Dept. were assisted by  four Texas Rangers from various counties. 

As the trial finally reached the climatic point where a verdict was about to be read, I happened to look up to the front row in the courtroom.   Ranger Danny Briley was seated next to the 16 year old  son of one of the victims. He had his arm positioned on the back of the pew in a protective sort of manner.  It is difficult for me to describe how I felt about what I was witnessing. I suppose you just had to be there.

I immediately started thinking about “Walker: Texas Ranger.”  The fantasy of it all was just sort of amusing to me. It is not reality.  It occurred to me that reality is:  “Briley: Texas Ranger.”  The real men and women of law enforcement are sworn to protect and serve.  Danny Briley made it quite obvious that he was there today to provide an extremely vulnerable teenager some emotional protection. 

I am fairly certain that the very presence of that young man, and his younger sister and the other victim’s little 8 year old girl and two other children were motivating factors to these men to put in the kind of hours they did in this difficult investigation.  

Almost three years ago I saw that same boy sitting directly in front of me, as I eulogized his mother at her memorial service. He and his sister were of course surrounded by members of their good family that afternoon.  Briley: Texas Ranger was not present at the service.  And I just happen to recall where he and the Granbury Police dept. investigators were that very afternoon.  They were out interviewing people associated with the crime, because they knew their God give call is to protect and serve.  I am fortunate to serve with and for people of that caliber.  

No comments: