Recently my husband, an Iraqi war veteran, published a piece on our website, 1Voice239, called, “You Matter,” in which he brought up some great points about the Black Lives Matter movement. In that article he wrote about a disturbing video that has gone viral.The video depicts an activist who proclaims, “It’s open season on killing crackers and white cops.”
This provocative video has brought both stress and tension to a profession that already has too much of both. Police officer are being hunted down, and in some tragic cases, killed. These brave men and women are being persecuted for doing their job, all in the name of revenge against a handful of out-of-control or scared law enforcement officers who have either made mistakes or committed crimes (or both).
A few weeks ago our church’s pastor recognized our family friends for the sacrifice they are making. She works from home, and he is a police officer in the town they live in. They also have four beautiful children.
Sure, we expect him to be brave and do his job, but people are forgetting something. Something that my husband brought to my attention that morning. Their entire family is going through the same thing our family did during and after my husband’s 18-month deployment to Iraq.Actually, allow me to clarify something: It was not my husband’s 18-month deployment, it was our 18-month deployment.
Our young men and women that go to fight for us are sacrificing so much, but their loved ones are also sacrificing right alongside them. This unfortunate truth is shared by those who wear the blue and bear the shield of law enforcement. The only difference is that for those families who have loved ones in law enforcement, they must negotiate this journey daily.
This brings me to an amazing phone call I received while my husband was deployed. It was from a veterans organization, whose name I cannot remember, that sends calling cards over to the troops to call back home. My husband had taken what little free time he had between missions and penned a letter to thank them for the calling cards. He also brought up something that was true and dear to his heart: me. He wanted them to know that the best way to honor him was to honor his wife, and he told them how brave and strong he thought I was for holding down the fort without him.
This woman on the other end of the line explained to me that she never thought about the people that these soldiers left behind. The organization’s main focus was our soldiers—until she got this letter. She was blown away and had to call me to talk to this woman that my husband was writing about. She thanked me for my service to this country and the sacrifice that I had made.
That is the kind of support the families our law enforcement need during these horrible times. There are many people within the Black Lives Matter movement that are declaring war on these quiet professionals that stand between us and those that would do us harms here on our streets and in our neighborhoods. The fear that some in Black Lives Matter movement has created in the lives of these innocent families is despicable, and it needs to be resisted and exposed.
Another difficulty shared by law enforcement families and military families is post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Although you don’t see nearly as many stories on the news about this, many police officers are also dealing with PTSD. A great example that my friend from church brought up is whenever her police officer husband is working, he is always on guard. He doesn’t know what to expect out of people anymore. When someone walks near his cruiser, he instantly goes to cover his gun to be at the ready.
This is something that I remember dealing with in regards to my own husband when he came home from Iraq. If a situation came up or his PTSD kicked in, his first response was to thrust his right hand over the spot where he had kept his firearm while on deployment. Sure it wasn’t there anymore, but that became his immediate reaction to many situations in Iraq, and he couldn’t help but continue this pattern after coming home.
Things have gotten better over the years, but there are things that I will never understand, and this can also be said of police officers and the struggles their family members endure. People in this line of work tend to keep their feelings locked up inside. This can cause a lot of problems in relationships and marriages. Emotions can build up so much that anything can set them off, causing sudden fits of anger or even deep depression.
This can be taken out on a spouse, children, family members, and friends. Sometimes it’s too much on a marriage. If counseling is not pursued in time, divorce often follows. I’m beyond happy that he reached out for help before it was too late for our family.
The next time you see a police officer, don’t just think about them and thank them; please think about their loved ones.
Catalina Cuevas co-operates 1 Voice 239, a website established to remind America of its foundational values, with her husband Jeremiah Cuevas, an Iraqi War vet. They raise six girls in Maine. Follow Catalina and her husband @1voice239.