Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Graduation (08/30/04)
TITLE: A Lean Mean Killing Machine!
By Lucian Thompson
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It was graduation day from the police academy and I would soon be in a patrol car by myself, to face God knows what. I had spent the last two months in the academy and in a police car with a training officer, and it was all leading up to this moment in time when I would walk across that stage and get my graduation certificate as a duly sworn police officer.
I sat in the back stage area by myself, pondering all that I had learned in class and all the funny things that took place there. This one recruit, Thack, keep us in stitches with his antics. He keep asking, “When do we get to use our guns?” He was always alluding to shooting someone and prancing around like Dirty Harry quoting all the time honored police clichés, bellowing, “I’m a lean mean, killing machine!”
I have to admit, for a twenty one year old, fresh-faced kid, from Hicksville, I thought he was funny, but I wondered how you could ever take someone’s life. I knew that when I got my diploma, I would be required to take an oath to defend, with my life, the lives and property of those whom I would be sworn to protect. I knew, from my instructors, that meant I might have to take a life to protect an innocent life. I didn’t know if I could do that! I…I didn’t know.
As I sat there I un-holstered my weapon, a 38 caliber Smith and Wesson, six shot revolver. It felt so strange in my young hands. I passed my training on the shooting range, best shot in the class; at targets, but at a man…could I shoot? Called to the stage, I took my oath and was sworn in as a protector of the people.
Three months into my service, I got a call to respond to a man shooting at his family. When I arrive on the scene, a young boy ran to my car, crying that his grandpa had gone crazy and was shooting at everyone in the house. Sending the boy to safety, I approached the house.
As I rounded the house towards the back, an older gentleman burst through the back door onto the porch. I ordered him to keep his hands where I could see them. Feeling no fear, or any emotion at all, I approached the suspect with my gun drawn, just as I had been trained.
With a swift move, the older man thrust his right hand into the pocket of the tattered green corduroy sport jacket he was wearing. I was about eight feet from him at that time. In that moment everything became so surreal and as if in slow motion. I could see his hand grip something in his pocket and start to pull it out.
Gun…gun, raced through my mind. Shoot, or be shot…what do I do! Now, fear came, gut-wrenching fear! All my training flooded back in my mind and I began to squeeze the trigger. In that flash of a second, another memory hit me in the face like a ton of bricks; Thack, prancing around shouting, “I’m a lean mean killing machine!” Well…I’m not!
I aborted my action and jumped on the porch with the suspect just in time to grab his gun as he thrust it into my stomach. He pulled the trigger and the fixed firing pin bit into the web of flesh between my thumb and forefinger. I escaped death by a bit of my flesh being pierced. Neither one of us would die on that day!
Since then I have become a Christian and understand why neither one of us died that day. I am reminded that Jesus was pierced unto death so that I would not have to die, but have eternal life with Him. I didn’t have to have the blood of that other human being on my hands either, because of His protective hand on me. Saved to enter into ministry at His call so that I can walk across that great divide and graduate with honors. Thank You Jesus!