Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Sheriff and the Collateral Car Wreck

On the way home from work, I was witness to what - in the grand scheme - is a minor miscarriage of justice. Sitting at a stoplight, the traffic was flowing steadily in front of me on the cross-street. Suddenly, a sheriff that had been sitting in a nearby gas station parking lot decided to run code (turn his lights and siren on). He rushed out into oncoming traffic, causing a green car to stop short and an SUV to rear end said green car. Seeing this, the sheriff only paused his car and continued on, leaving the drivers to rage and attempt to fix the situation themselves. The situation, mind you, that had been caused by the sheriff. That fled the scene.

Naturally, my first thoughts were of a dual nature (seriously, why wasn't I born a pisces?): On the one hand, I was pissed at the sheriff who was in serious dereliction of protocol and duty. Yet, I was also thinking of the person who might be helped by the officer rushing off to lend aide.

Perhaps two people had to get in that car wreck, where no one was injured, in order for him to to put an end to an instance of domestic violence. There could have been any number of situations requiring speed and momentary carelessness.


Though, I fear the truth was somewhere in the middle. An officer who was in a rush caused an accident and then didn't know what to do, so he fled. Like a teenager who rear ends someone, afraid that daddy will take their license. Except, we bow to the authority of the badge, so we genuflect when we should be pissed and calling headquarters and reporting the problem.

I wonder about this on a spiritual level, though. How often have we been either sheriff or those in the accident? How often do we rush off to do our Very Important Thing, not even pausing to realize that we've ruined someone else's day by our valiant efforts? We remember, vividly, the times when we were the innocent bystanders. Don't we? We count the times and keep mental record of when others left us in their wake of destruction. But, do we do more than pause when we are the cause of the problem?

I think this was my lesson from the universe on this Full Moon. Don't let your reasons, however valiant or necessary to the Greater Good, stop you from acknowledging your mistakes. Yes, there is such thing as a greater good and collateral damage and all that. Unfortunately, as humans, many times that collateral damage has a name and a life and doesn't appreciate having to be your collateral damage.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

12 comments:

  1. Perhaps this accident happened to stop one of the two involved from going on to have a more tragic accident further down the road? Perhaps this was all, in some cosmic way, to teach you a lesson of examination? Perhaps the officer, who is trained in such matters, did a quick evaluation of the situation, and feeling that what he was responding to was more critical, called for back up to come to assist the accident he inadvertently caused? And since you witnessed the accident, one asks what did you do to assist the two involved? Did you just make note of this to blog about it later, or did you stop to find out if anyone was injured and to offer what help you could?

    So many perhaps and what ifs, and yet so quick to jump to a conclusion.

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    Replies
    1. Oh Anonymous Commenters, how I love thee.

      1) I think I made it explicitly clear that the accident could have, indeed, been part of some larger cosmic scheme that I wasn't seeing.

      2) I am a former officer, with the same training as the sheriff in that car. Even if he did call for backup, under Color of Law, as one "who is trained in such matters" (as you put it), he is legally required to stop what he's doing and render aide. He did not. Violation of local and federal statutes.

      3) Oh you adorable little Anonymous Commenter you... I had to sit there for a good 10 minutes watching this. I very much saw the two cars stare at the sheriff in disbelief. I saw the two waving traffic away from them and immediately pull off onto the side of the road. I saw the two drivers - the only people in the cars - get out of their respective vehicles and talk to one another.

      I don't know what conclusion you think I jumped to, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, other than what is posted in the final paragraphs. I took it as more of a spiritual lesson about collateral damage, about being more fully aware of our actions and their consequences.

      And, Anonymous, perhaps next time you'd like to insinuate that someone is merely being a whiny blogger, you'd have the gumption to post your name, too. It's rather easy to point fingers, call names, and make claims when you hide behind the mask of anonymity.

      Delete
  2. There's another "what if" that should make the officer think. He was careless, whether he was needed or not at some other place, it was his duty to be careful and make sure he attended his business as it should be attended. What if the green car wasn't a green car but a big truck, and it couldn't hit the break so easily? Now the officer who had to go save a someone from something couldn't go because he and his car got flattened against a truck. He gets hurt, the people he didn't save get hurt, the truck gets dented and the patrol gets smashed, all of which should be paid by the lovely taxpayers, and all because he was too busy to do what anyone behind the wheel should: pay attention to the traffic.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. An idea I probably should have examined, but you are correct, of course. The collateral damage in this situation could very easily have been him. Indeed, this could have turned into a much more tragic situation than a fender bender ruining two people's day.

      Little ripples, big waves...and all that.

      Delete
  3. You allow for anonymous commenting and yet you berate folks for doing so. Nice.

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    Replies
    1. Even though it's allowed, I think what he means is that if you're going to possibly insult someone or state an opinion, particularly one that may cause someone to get upset, it's best and more noble to actually state who you are. It's good to have an idea as to who is criticizing you.

      Delete
  4. My blog is also on Blogger, so I can clarify that posting anonymously is sometimes the only way one can post a comment unless they want to use one of the featured identity platforms, depending on browser settings. Sometimes folks want to comment a single time by using their Craft name, etc., and not create a new account. On the on the other hand, some folks just troll blogs and love to show their self-perceived superior intelligence and use the mask of being anonymous just to be a self-righteous, snarky pain in the ass. I think Fire Lyte was generous in allowing the above anonymous comment to be published rather than hitting the delete key.

    I also believe that the readers of this blog are bright enough to have figured out that the officer's actions were reckless but unintentional. Hindsight is always clearer than how you think in the actual situation, and none of us-except Fire Lyte was present at the scene. It's his story and his call what that story contains. The story was written as metaphor to illustrate a lesson. In my opinion it was a well written story about presence and mindfulness and contained everything relevant to what readers needed to understand the situation. We didn't need anything more.

    ReplyDelete
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  7. I saw the two waving traffic away from them and immediately pull off onto the side of the road. lawyers for tickets

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