Monday, November 30, 2009

For the Fallen

Over the weekend, a man walked into a local coffee shop where four police officers were preparing for their shift. He killed all four of them. Based upon sketchy early accounts, it's thought that one of them fought with their executioner and may have shot him before he fled.

As of this writing, the assailant remains at large and the cities of Tacoma and Lakewood are in a state of utter shock.

I've seen thousands of movies and television shows where this sort of conflict erupts, read many books where shots ring out, bad guys and good guys fall to the ground and the story continues to unfold without any indication that there was an effect on the wider community beyond the main characters. At most there is mention in passing that the events made the news. On days like this, I'm reminded how false a construct that is. No one in this community goes to work today unaffected by these events. This sort of attack affects the wives and husbands and kids of those cops. Every family of every police officer is affected from their cousins, aunts and uncles spreading into the surrounding community, a sense of loss and helplessness.

A month ago, a man who works with my wife was attacked by a disturbed coworker who remains at large. Since that day, a police officer has guarded her office, watching over her and her coworkers. Outside her office is a man or woman willing to put him or herself between my loved one and a violent attack. I cannot thank them enough.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards, four members of our community who made the ultimate sacrifice. We will miss them even if we don't realize it.


  1. I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the news yesterday. It's frightening to me how someone could just DO that to another human being.

  2. when I first read the headline I was shocked, but what made me cry to think of it was the closing line of NPRs 8AM coverage of hte latest developments this morning......all 4 officers had children. That this man struck down 4 people who have given their lives to the community for its protection is tragic, that he has in so doing calously deprived four familys of a mother or father is sickening. My heart goes out to those poor kids who now have to continue through what is supposed to be a season of celebration and togetherness, and this is what they have to carry with them.


  3. It's so tragic and so final. God bless the police officers and their families.


Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).