Why Warrior Lives Matter

Thursday January 7, 2016 was a normal day for the majority of Americans. They slept or worked and looked forward to the weekend. However, that night the life of Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett changed forever. He was attacked by a man while he was in his marked patrol vehicle on the streets of an American city. The man, who cites his allegiance to ISIS as his motivation, tried to murder a uniformed LEO simply because he wore the uniform and badge of his office.

Officer Hartnett was the target of more than ten rounds and was struck with several. At one point, the gunman’s arm and weapon were inside the driver’s window of the patrol vehicle with Officer Hartnett seated inside. When the coward decided to cut and run, the LEO dug deep and engaged him as he ran away. With a badly wounded arm, he emerged from his vehicle and shot the suspect as he ran away. The attacker was apprehended a short time later.

I do not know Officer Hartnett, but I would be honored to shake his hand one day. However, I spent many hours in the driver’s seat of a patrol car and training others to do so. I know that Officer Hartnett had many options available to him when the coward ran. He could have stayed in the car and waited for back up and EMS. He could have turned on his lights and siren and driven to a hospital. He could have stayed in the car concerned that the gunman was not alone and others were waiting for him to emerge from his patrol car to finish the job. He could have allowed the citizens in the area, the strangers he swore to protect, to fend for themselves with a gunman on the loose. Perhaps that is what a guardian would do. That’s not what warriors do.

Officer Hartnett is a warrior and I’m proud and comforted to know that he is wearing a badge and served his country in the Coast Guard. His life changed forever, and I send my thoughts and prayers to him and his family that he will be back on his beat soon. When you hear this nonsense of needing more guardians in uniform and less warriors, ask these questions: “Would you want Officer Hartnett patrolling your community? Would you have preferred that he stayed in his car? Stay safe.

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