Ashley Guindon, on her first official day as a rookie cop, just hours after she had been sworn in, was fatally shot and killed. When the 911 call came out for a domestic disturbance (the worst kind of call), the 29-year-old rookie answered the call along with two other officers. The suspect opened fire with a rifle from within the house, shooting all three officers. Officer Guindon was fatally shot and later died at the hospital.
That scenario in and of itself is tragic, but the biggest tragedy may not even be evident at first. It is tragic that an officer was killed even though she was killed in the line of duty, so one expects that possibility to be present. But it doesn’t make it any easier to bear the loss. She was a rookie cop, which means she hadn’t even gotten to experience a significant number of years in her career. She was young, only 29, so she hadn’t really gotten to experience many years of life yet either.
The Military Times reported that she was not only a rookie officer, but was also a Marine Corps reservist; service was in her blood. Not only was she killed, but two other officers were also shot and injured. Even worse, the suspected shooter is an Army staff sergeant assigned to the Pentagon who had allegedly also just killed his wife.
Even after all of that, the biggest tragedy, whether the headline reads “rookie cop,” “cop,” or any type of “officer,” is that yet another law enforcement officer was killed. This headline, sadly, is not as shocking or uncommon as it once was, even a few months ago. The biggest tragedy is how many times headlines like this are plastered across media outlets nowadays – and that the culture exists that it’s okay for a cop to be killed.
It is not.
Officer Guindon came from a law enforcement family so she clearly understood the risks involved with this career choice. She knew from day one as a rookie that she would be a target, and the danger of being harmed or killed by the less than savory crowd would always exist. The culture that is growing to harm those who have sworn to protect us is not only born of ignorance, but of misguidedness.
The ones who have volunteered to serve others and protect them, no matter what the situation, are being attacked by some of those they have sworn to serve and protect. Is it because those who are attacking are weak and aren’t able to be servers and protectors themselves?
Maybe. Maybe not. Honestly, it doesn’t matter.
When you get rid of the protectors, you don’t have any more protectors. This is not a complicated idea to comprehend, but some seem unable to grasp it. Every officer begins as a rookie with little experience. Every long-term, experienced cop began as a rookie. You have to start somewhere. You learn as you go. And every call, every day, every shift is different. You could get a call for a missing child or for an armed shooter.
But every call, every day, every shift is also the same…somewhere somebody who cares about this “cop” prays that they get through their shift safely and come home to their loved ones.
You don’t shoot an officer because you’ve previously gotten in trouble with the law. You stop breaking the law. You don’t spike a teacher’s drink with red pepper flakes, as NBC News reported about three middle-schoolers in Florida, because you got in trouble earlier in the week. You behave in class so you don’t get in trouble. These behaviors, and the misguided belief that it is okay to exhibit them, is wrong.
It is each generation’s job – duty – to teach the next generation honor and respect for, even if they don’t agree with, authority, so another headline doesn’t have to read that another rookie cop, or any cop, was killed.
[Prince William County Police Department via Associated Press]