Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kenneth Hammond, Sheepdog.

Officer Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden, Utah Police Department apparently doesn't want anyone to call him a “hero.” Officer Hammond, for anyone who may not know, is the police officer who was forced to shoot and kill the Muslim Bosnian immigrant named Solejman Talovic in the Salt Lake City mall earlier in the week. Officer Hammond went to the mall on Valentines Day with his wife, off duty. If he had wanted to, Officer Hammond would have had every right to go to the mall as a private citizen, unarmed, oblivious to his surroundings, just as most of the innocent shoppers at the mall were doing that day.

Officer Hammond; however, is a sheepdog. Officer Hammond went to the mall that day prepared. Not only was he carrying his firearm, Officer Hammond had obviously mentally prepared himself to be a sheepdog instead of a sheep. Officer Hammond went to the mall that day planning on spending the day with his wife, probably not consciously thinking even once that he might be called to protect the flock that day. I imagine that for a short second as he strapped on his firearm before leaving his home, Officer Hammond may have been briefly reminded of his personal decision to be a warrior in a world full of sheep. Then he went to the mall, like hundreds of other people, with one major difference: Officer Hammond had prepared himself to do great violence on behalf of the flock if the flock was endangered.

I don't know what Officer Hammond was doing when he first heard the gunshots, but I know what he did afterwards. He likely told his wife, “Don't follow me!” or, “Get out of here!” and then, as all of the sheep were scattering in confusion and fear and running from the sounds of danger, something inside Officer Hammond took over. Whatever it is that makes Officer Hammond different from 98% of society kicked in, and Officer Hammond ran straight toward the danger. A thousand thoughts might have been flashing through his head: tactical considerations, fear, anger ... only Officer Hammond knows. One thought overrode all the others and was his motivation as he moved, “Protect the flock.”

To Officer Hammond, warrior, I'm glad you are ok. And thanks for being a sheepdog.

(Sheepdog analogy shamelessly stolen from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good words.

5:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home