Monday, May 6, 2013

This is why you should thank a policeman

A police officer came and shot a sick (and possibly rabid) raccoon in my backyard today.

I'm not kidding you. This actually happened.

And I didn't get to see any of it.

Terry and I were at Chloe's high school track meet when this all went down. Apparently there was this strange raccoon wandering around our neighborhood in the middle of the day.

I don't know how, but one of Wickliffe's finest became alerted to this fact and started tracking it.

He came down our street, heard my neighbor's dogs barking wildly, and found the raccoon in our backyard.

The poor little critter was trying to get a drink from our flooded sandbox. The officer approached him and even poked him with a rake to see if he could get him to move, but the raccoon pretty well stayed put. He was clearly sick and suffering.

Having only his high-powered service revolver at the time, the officer called for back-up. "Back-up," in this case, meant another officer with a smaller-caliber handgun (a .22, as it turned out).

The other officer came to our house with said weapon, and one of them mercifully put a few bullets into the little guy. And that was that.

I only found out about it after the fact from my neighbor, Joe.

Normally, my sarcastic self would find a reason to make fun of this situation. ("Call the SWAT team! Call the SWAT team! Sick raccoon on the loose! Bring the flamethrower!")

But it made me realize just how mundane a police officer's job can be. And how desperately we would miss them if they weren't around.

I wasn't about to shoot that raccoon, I'll tell you that. For one thing, I don't have a gun. For another thing, even if I did have a gun, I would have been too scared to fire the thing in my own backyard, for fear the bullet would ricochet off the ground and hit something or somebody I love.

(NOTE: What would most likely happen is that the bullet would ping off a nearby tree, bounce back and go right through my leg. There is nearly a 100% chance of that being the outcome. Knowing this, I have enough sense not to engage in such leg-shooting activities.)

But yet, as a whiny taxpayer, I would expect that someone in a position of authority should come and take care of my raccoon problem for me.

And that someone is the police. By all accounts, the officers involved here were professional, safe and efficient. They did their jobs and probably didn't think anyone should take special note of it.

I love that. And I admire them greatly for doing the right thing and putting that poor raccoon out of his misery.

So here's to you, mighty raccoon hunters (OK, sorry, the sarcasm thing couldn't help but rear its ugly head). In between listening to speeding motorists making excuses as to why they don't deserve a ticket and willingly putting your lives on the line when actual bad guys are around, you don't get nearly the credit you deserve.

My family, and my now-bullet-ridden sandbox, salute you.

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