Collateral Damage

When men and women put on the uniform of First Responders, Police, Firefighter, Military, or the Suits of Government Agencies responsible for the protection of Government Officials, those that are behind the scenes, wife, children, family, loved ones, become “Collateral Damage”.  Why do I say this?  Here’s why.

Recently, we have lost more First Responders as listed below:

  • NYPD officer Brian Mulkeen killed during a shootout.
  • The shooting death of Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal is the latest in a growing list of law enforcement deaths over the past five years. He was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop.
  • Officer Espericueta was responding to assist another officer after he had been flag down by a woman saying her own son had shot at her car. When Officer Espericueta arrived, he saw the son, later identified as Juan Carlos Chapa Jr., walking and attempted to make contact with him. Chapa began to run, then, turned around and started firing at Espericueta, hitting him, police said. The officer, with the help of others who had responded, exchanged gunfire with the 33-year-old man, Dominguez said.Espericueta was transported to McAllen Medical Center, where he later died.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and one other wounded on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them. An ambush in Niger by Islamic extremists killed 4 U.S. soldiers in a remote area along Niger’s border with Mali.

So where’s the Collateral Damage?

Its those left behind.  The wife who worries every time her military husband leaves, not knowing if he will come home. It’s the parent’s son or daughter that have chosen to serve their country and help keep the evil from spreading here in the United States. It’s the sister or brother who looked up to their sibling in joining the ranks of hero’s. Its’ the police officer’s wife and kids who may not see them as he or she heads out the door for their shift, wondering if they will see them again.

How about the Firefighter who responds to fires out of control, or runs into a building full of flames and may not come out?

For those that make the decision to go into these careers, the “Collateral Damage” becomes those who they leave behind.  Collateral Damage is described as an injury inflicted on something other than an intended target, and the intended targets are those whom I’ve mentioned above.  They leave innocent family members behind because of evil that spawned itself in their presence.  The evil that sits in the minds of those that don’t care about life itself.

Those that decided to go into these careers know the danger.  I can’t speak for them, but I can speak for myself.  When I choose to leave nursing and go into Law Enforcement, I did so with the knowledge of how dangerous it would be.

I made the decision also based on helping others who are weak or not as strong, the vulnerable who have no one to protect him or her.

I wanted to make a good life for my daughter, at the time, being a single mom; I wanted to make the world a better place for her.  I took on the risk and prayed every day that God would let me return home each night. My daughter depended on me, just as we here in America depend on those who serve their country to keep us safe here at home or those who serve us here in our cities to keep us safe.

Is everyone perfect for the career they choose?  No, but the majority are right for the job.  They know that to give what they can to make where we live safe, there will be “Collateral Damage”, but they hope it might be different for them.  No one knows how things will run out in the end when their career is over.  They plan on returning home.  Today, the world is an uglier place all over, and I just pray that my grandchildren will have a safe place to grow up and raise their family and not become “Collateral Damage”, God Bless our Military, First Responders, Firefighters,  and all who protect and Serve.  God Bless America!

Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
LYNN is Retired from Law Enforcement as a Police Officer, with a background in nursing and previously a member of the Search and Rescue Team with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, A retired member of the Orange Police Department, she became the first female SWAT member on an elite team while becoming a member of the Olympic Shooting Team during the early years on the department. A mother and a grandmother, a devout Catholic who currently resides in Houston, Texas. Her hobbies include writing, painting, and a contemplative prayer life. She is in love with her faith, but the love she carries for her two grown children and grandchildren who rest in her heart surpasses everything except her faith in God. Since retirement, Lynn has done private investigation, worked as a gang counselor with middle schools, A member of Bl. Mother Teresa’s Order called the (Lay Missionaries of Charity), she is also a pro-life advocate, often called upon to give testimony and speak to youth groups, as well as adult forums. She has published a children’s book entitled “The Children’s Garden” and is currently working on two additional children’s books. She is currently working on the major one focused on her experience in Law Enforcement entitled “Heels and a Badge”. (copyright). Her paintings and sketches, writings, can be viewed on her Pinterest boards (click on the Pinterest ICON below). Her dream is to one-day write a movie for Hallmark. Dreams do come true … See Lynn’s entire collection of thought-provoking Articles by clicking on her byline. Lynn is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.
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Danny Pitocco

Well written about the unsung heroes who support the heroes – true love and unselfish love indeed!

Clarissa Escobedo
Clarissa Escobedo

It isn’t often that the tragic loss of a peace officer puts focus on the people left to mourn the loss and adapt to the new life without them and you have done that here and you haven given them a perfect name, collateral damage. The killers really don’t think about the severity of their crime, the killing of a person doesn’t erase their existence it removes them and leaves a significant void to never be replaced.

Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.

What an important reminder, Lynn! It is so easy to take those people who put their own lives on the line for us for granted. At a time when the world is full of ugliness, hate, and violence, your message is one worth sharing! Thank you!

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