|Posted on October 17, 2016 at 1:05 PM|
Ordinary Work Days...
It started like any other ordinary work day. Shut off the Alarm, showered, ate a quick breakfast, laced up the boots, snapped on my belt keepers, pinned on my shield, and started my long drive to the preserve. Clocked in, picked up my radio, keys, and check list. Opened up the gates, unlocked headquarters, and cleared the facilities; all in a rush before the public began to pour into the preserve. I pulled up to the ranger station to disarm the security system, checked our voicemail, and returned to my desk. Logged in to my portal and checked my email, that's when I saw it, the memo. Posted as urgent and in all caps, it's a memo I've become all too familiar with these last few weeks, my heart sank and my shoulders dropped as my eyes panned across the header. It read "All AM Shift Rangers: Flags to Half Staff by order of the President...." another Officer had been slain, another terrorist had been granted his 15 minutes of infamy, another family mourns, and another department has been left broken by a senseless act of cowardice. Being the AM shift, to lower the Flags is not an honor we should have to do this frequently. I shouldn't own a special pair of gloves to handle the tight blister-causing ropes. Being both a person of color and a ranger, sworn to conservation and protection, I can't help but feel broken and stabbed by a both ends of this double edged sword. To those I've sworn to protect, I'm most often seen as a traitor and to those who openly appreciate my chosen field they are usually met with the same disdain. I've reached a turning point in my career and I've decided that I'll just have to hope for the best and always be prepared the worst. I've noticed both in and out of uniform that my actions have been more calculated, that my words have been consistent/rehearsed, and my mind more focused on "scene saftey." I don't know if it's in alignment with the old saying "The Old lion sensing his end." But is this the world I'll be raising my children, in the next 10-15 years? One where first responders have to worry if that bystander rushing up to them after arriving on scene is there to help or ready to end it all. All I know for sure is that I love working in the great outdoors (especially as a first responder) and that today has become more than just an ordinary work day
Author: (Ranger CA. USA)