Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do You Really Want to be Above the Law?

Several years ago I was picking one of my boys up at the high school after an out of town school event very late on a Saturday night.  On the way home that night I had to take extreme evasive action to avoid a collision with a vehicle that was involved in some kind of road rage incident with another car at a high rate of speed.  About the time that I got my wits about me enough to dial 911 on my cell phone I heard the roar of an engine behind me.

 I know the sound of the engines installed in Ford Crown Victoria’s with a police package very well.  In a flash one of my troopers with the Texas Highway Patrol here in Hood County passed me and lit up the enraged driver that nearly struck my truck.  As he exited his vehicle, I of course recognized him as one of my troopers that I am privileged to serve every single day.  The out of control driver got a one way ride to the Hood County Jail.

When I got home, I was pretty shaken.  Daniel would have taken the brunt of the collision on his side of my truck.  He could have been killed. We both could have been injured.  One of my troopers was simply doing his job. I doubt he thought much about it.  It was all in a day’s work in his mind. There is no doubt in my mind that he kept someone from being seriously injured or killed late that night.

Early this morning THP Trooper Javier Arana was killed in a line of duty car crash in El Paso. He was responding to a pursuit call around 1:30 a.m. He was endeavoring to do the same thing that my Hood County trooper was doing several years ago. He was attempting to get someone off the road that was an immediate threat to innocent citizens. Apparently this individual felt he was above the law and could run from law enforcement.

I am sad today.  And I am angry.  When we lose a trooper anywhere in the state, I feel the pain in a very personal way. It also brings back memories of previous line of duty deaths that I have been involved with as a chaplain. Images of family members and long funeral processions race through my mind.  But I think most of all today I am reminded of the gravity of the trooper’s role.

They face life and death situations everyday. They are protecting good people from harm everyday.  And then the moment arrives, when they give the ultimate sacrifice.  Trooper Arana left a wife and three children…I have been there to share that kind of news with a trooper’s family.  I hope I never have to do it again.

The truth is that I am feeling the gravity of my own role. I must serve these men and women well. I am called to serve those that protect and serve. I am called to shield the badge by bringing a divine presence to their world.  I am feeling sad today for sure. But I must admit I am reminded that my calling is a sober one. And I will do what I am called to do as I strive to serve them and their families. 

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