My world is an explosion of feels right now. So many that I can’t even begin to put them into words.
It started last Wednesday when the news of a local high school senior from Nowheresville losing her life in a traffic accident literally outside the school broke. Nowheresville is a tiny little rural community and it shocked and stunned a great many people. Personally I don’t have any association with the school itself or the young lady who lost her life, but news of a child being killed for any reason is difficult to hear.
Thursday the news broke that our insurance broker, who was also a Nowheresville City Councilman, and had known Hubs and his family for the better part of 20 years was found dead in a local cemetery. The cause of death was ruled a suicide. That event hit much closer to home as he was always very kind to the kids whenever we stopped by the office, and he genuinely seemed to care about his clients as a whole. Not being a Nowheresville native we didn’t relate on much more than the kids and our insurance policies, but it was still sad to see a familiar face lost in such a tragic, violent end.
Friday… well Friday all hell broke loose in Nowheresville. Several city officers went to serve a search warrant at one of the local trailer parks. The suspects fled in a car until they got to the other side of town where two of them jumped out and started fleeing on foot. After the city police gave chase the county sherif’s department got involved to help. A deputy gave chase on foot and was shot by the suspect almost immediately, which triggered a county wide active shooter lockdown. The deputy lost his life, the first local officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1935, and every local police department up to and including the Indiana State Police converged on the county to participate in the manhunt and pursuant investigation.
The entire ordeal started at 9am, and the lockdown was active until 11:30am. TWO HOURS no one could leave their home or business due to the recently implemented active shooter protocol. Kids were in school away from their parents, people grocery shopping were told to shelter in place, helicopters, and hundreds of emergency response vehicles combed the city for every trace of evidence and clues they could muster, and the main interstate through the city was shut down. Just as Hubs was due to report to work.
Watching him leave was like sending him off to a war zone. It might sound melodramatic to those who actually send their family off to war zones, but for all intents and purposes it felt very much the same. The county was on lockdown. He was one of the only people out and about. Almost a sitting duck for anyone who might want to take advantage of him or hold him hostage or start indiscriminately shooting.
The entire rest of the day, even into the weekend was somber. The entire community was shell shocked. We don’t even live in Nowheresville directly anymore and it hit close to home for us too. My CrossFit gym is heavily involved in the local community. We have many of the local public servants of various different branches as part of our regulars. I didn’t personally know the deputy who lost his life, but many of my gym mates did. Seeing the shell shocked expressions on their faces as they all straggled in attempting to get on with life as much as possible was painful to watch.
Nowheresville is such a small community there are only a handful of police compared to the bigger urban environments. When I first moved there ten years ago, there were eight city officers. The number grew to twelve before we moved two years ago. Hubs knew most of them from high school, or from growing up as the nephew of a local veteran officer. In Nowheresville the police weren’t just an entity that was involved in the community; they were a part of it.
It was the same for most of the deputies. In recent years there had been a purge after an internal investigation lead to the removal of the previous sherif from his office due to corruption. The number of deputies has nearly tripled, and many of them are new faces from outside the immediate community, but that didn’t change their roll and close relationship with the citizens. In fact last time we were in Nowheresville as a family we ran into the sherif at a restaurant and he stopped to talk to us for like fifteen minutes asking about the twins and just making general conversation taking an interest in his community.
Even with my PTSD aversion to law enforcement officers, I like the Nowheresville sherif. That’s saying a lot. So it hurt to hear the genuine sorrow in his voice addressing the media at various press conferences. It hurt a lot on top of many other hurts last week, and overloaded my feels circuitry. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted right now. All I want to do is sit in a quiet, dark room and decompress a little bit. I can’t taking care of the kids, but I want/need to.