I walk the halls like nothing has changed. I walk the halls and act as I always have. I walk the halls as I always have and yet they do not react the same. Those who know act confused. Those who do not know always shift as they land upon my name. Some act as if I am beyond reproach. Others act as if I am persona non grata.
Among all the jokes landed the truth. “Please do not get in another shooting, for all our mental health.” There it was. The internal fear. The fear my name brings to every call. The reality my name brings to every call. It sits with such weight; it becomes the elephant in every call. Every odd action now explained.
Those who care beg me to “calm down.” They ask me to take less calls. They block me out and protect me. They want desperately for my pain to be a figment of a forgotten past. Their every action is a desperate shield from an extraordinary exception. The Halo Effect perpetuated through their every action. The realities of today are smothered by the realities of yesterday.
Those who do not care fight the reality of our profession. They fight the reality they were but moments away from the same fate. They fight reality to quell the swelling fear.
The truth is my name strikes fear. My name brings a reality everyone hopes to forget. I am a reminder of a past everyone so desperately wants to forget.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.