Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hazardous Duty

A couple days ago during my morning clinic I overhead one of our lieutenants mentioning that tomorrow was his last day in the facility. My jaw dropped. He's been there for years and he's great. He's completely unflappable, gently good-humored and always has a smile on his face. Like a lot of the better officers, he's a quietly religious man. When I asked him where he was going, he told me he was going to Nameless Facility---the same facility I blogged about in Officer Down---the same facility that has had it's share of murders this year. I felt sick.

"Why?" I asked him, a question I'm sure a lot of other people had asked him. "On purpose? Voluntarily?"

His answer didn't surprise me, knowing him, and it's one I'd be a hypocrite to criticize. He said, "Because I think I can make a difference down there."

Augh. OK, yeah, I'm not going to get on his case about that.

I'd feel better if he were going to Iraq. At least he'd have a flak jacket and a helmet or body armor.

"Watch your back, man," I said. "You're going to need a perimeter of angels."

"I will."