The cycle….A short story…

“That’s it! I’m going downtown to get justice for this man!”

From my third floor apartment, I can see buildings on fire. Angry mobs throw Molotov cocktails at the police. Sirens scream out their songs as police vehicles rush past the apartment complex.

“You need to stay home, Cindy. It’s not safe out there.” I stand at my large window and watch people flee with big screen TV’s, and other merchandise from stores. A redneck has backed his Toyota up to the sporting goods store and is filling his truck bed with ammo and other gear.

“Someone must speak for the dead man. It’s not right! The cops have abused their authority and it’s high time it stops.”

“Uh-huh.”

I watch as my youngest daughter walks down the street, her fist lifted in solidarity with the deceased man.

“When are we going to realize that when we repay violence for violence, we only perpetuate the cycle of violence?”

The living room is growing dark, the orange flames which dance from the burning buildings seem hauntingly beautiful in the twilight. I walk to my room and punch the code into my gun safe. My AR-15 is loaded with a 30-round magazine, I pull out my sidearm. The Taurus .357 is loaded with FMJ ammo. I carry it back into the living room and place them within arms reach of my recliner. Yes, I am aware weapons are used to cause the cycle of violence to continue. I’m also aware that it’s no sin to protect my life and the lives of others.

“I hope Cindy is safe out there. Why can’t she understand that if you protest in a mob, the cops only see the violent mob. They aren’t looking for “peaceful protesters” in an angry wave of people.”

The night passes slowly. I sit in my recliner and pray that Cindy is not lying dead on the street. Or in prison because she is associated with the rampaging individuals burning down our town.

My phone rings at 0530. I must have fallen asleep in my recliner. Twisting my neck, I reach for my phone.

“Hello?”

“Dad?”

“Yeah, I’m here sweetie.”

“Dad, I am at the hospital. I was shot with a non-lethal round. It hit me in the head. I may lose my eye.”

“Alright. I will be on my way to the hospital in a moment.”

“Okay. See you soon.”

I shower and get dressed. My blue Charger sits in my parking space, I get in it and drive to the police station.

“Hi, Sergeant. I’m Freeman and my daughter called me from the hospital. She was shot in the head last night. I was wondering if I could have a few words with the officer who did it?”

“I’m sorry to hear about your daughter. Was she involved with the riot?”

I shake my head and shrug.

“I don’t know. She went to protest, I’m just trying to get some information about what happened out there.”

The Desk Sergeant nods his head. 

“It was nuts out there last night. 17 buildings burned to the ground, that many or more was looted. 63 people were arrested. I’ll see if I can find the officer.”

“Thank you.”

After a prolonged wait, the Desk Sergeant and another officer approach me. 

“Mr. Freeman, this is Officer Sylvia Winterborne. She is the one who fired the round that hit your daughter.”

Sylvia looks at the ground and clears her throat. I extend my hand and she grasps it firmly.

“Ma’am, I just want to tell you that I appreciate your service to this community. From all accounts, it sounds like an insane night of violence. You guys have a hard job and sometimes good people are lumped together with the bad.”

She looks at me, her blue eyes locked onto mine.

“Thank you. I am sorry you’re daughter got hit with a rubber bullet.”

“It’s okay. I’m sure she is butthurt about it, but the hardest lessons are usually the most valuable. Maybe next time she will listen.”

After speaking to the police, I drive to the hospital. Cindy is sitting in a quiet room at the end of the hallway. I am escorted to the room and I walk inside.

“Hey, darling. What did the doctor say?”

“What took you so long, dad. I’ve been waiting for half an hour.”

“I had to make an unscheduled stop.” I smile and wait for her to fill me in.

“The doctor says I won’t lose my eye. I am going to sue the crap out of the police department.”

“No, you aren’t.”

“What-”

“I said no. You aren’t going to sue the police department. YOU,” I point my finger at my daughter, “put yourself in harms way. If you want to be angry at anyone, be mad at yourself. A violent mob is no place for a peaceful protester. If you can’t understand that, then there is nothing else to talk about.”

“You’re taking their side-”

“I’ve been in the police’s shoes. When violence kicks off, you don’t have time to look around and see who the “peaceful protesters” are. You are lucky they didn’t arrest you for inciting violence.”

“You don’t care about-”

“Shut up and sit down! Don’t you dare accuse me of not caring about anyone. Don’t you dare. I served this country. I’ve invested blood, sweat and tears into this country. Don’t you dare tell me what I don’t care about.”

Cindy sits down on the bed and shakes her head. She crosses her arms and looks at the floor.

“Dad, he died. He didn’t go easy.”

“People die all the time, where is the outrage over their deaths? Why do you scream and shout about this man, who constantly broke the law and was a horrible person while he lived? What about all the lives destroyed because you want to riot, loot, and burn down buildings? What about their lives? Do you not care who you harm in your reckless pursuit of ‘justice’?”

“Yes, I care-”

“No you don’t. Where were you and your voice when 53 people were killed this weekend? Where were you, when all these women were being beat down by their partners? You can’t be bothered to care about them. I’m done. I’ll be in the car.” 

As I walk out of the hospital the news shows the carnage of our city. “Look at the cost before you tear down everything we’ve built.”

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