Cause and effect

Bravado If there is anything glorious or romantic about being a cop I certainly do not know what it is. My experience as a law enforcement officer lasted only a few years, but in that time I nearly burned myself out to a level of superior cynicism. For me, enforcing laws was like being trapped in the chaotic middle of a sociological chamber of horrors. Coping with such a high level of emotional disenchantment impacted me drastically and threatened to chisel my psyche down to a dark mute point. The responsibilities were endlessly haunting. Everywhere I went I had to be mindful of an air of authority that I had to maintain because I was a cop. Even off duty I was ordered to carry my service firearm and badge. In the summertime, when I would wear shorts and a T-shirt, my firearm was nearly impossible to conceal and extremely uncomfortable to support. I either had a bulge in my back or looked as if I had an excessively generous anatomical endowment in front. Everyone always looked at me as a figure of authority and control. My job responsibilities called for that, yes, but even off-duty it was difficult to relax. When I would try to join my friends for a beer at a bar, something always seemed to spoil the endeavor. I remember one such incident when I was recognized by a guy in a pub on the outskirts of town. I had arrested him about a month prior for driving drunk. He quickly spread the word around the bar that I was a “pig.” The place filled with nervous whispers, and I could feel the weight of a thousand stares bearing down upon me. As I turned to visually address their increasingly uncomfortable stares, everyone’s eyes darted awkwardly from floor to door. The whole place emptied faster than water from an overturned bucket. To me it felt as if someone had stenciled, “Kiss me! I have the Ebola virus!” on the back of my shirt. My friends and I tried to make the best of the empty bar, but try as I might I could not get comfortable. …

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