Worse Than A Bullet

Worse than a bullet is my first thought. Much worse.

The last few weeks, especially this past week, rifted each of us…with violence, rapid-fire bullets and death.

No matter your news network, the interviews, the opinions, the “what we should do” in the most part—my opinion here—was more spewing than perceptive offering. Hey, a guy has an opinion. Just like each of us.

I could narrate this blog—with more than a handful of experiences with police—some humorous, some deadly, some filled with racial pandering or rejecting or some with great moments of police acting in a manner that is beyond commendable.

I am no expert, but having ridden in a police car at least monthly for six years as a volunteer police chaplain in Colorado Springs, I know the feeling, the inner gut tug when pulling an errant driver to the side, checking available information and then walking to the driver. I know. With that, however, I always stayed in the police cruiser. But, in case it was necessary, I was trained to connect immediately with dispatch.

It is the case—to no one’s surprise and each person’s expectation, police are expected [make that demanded] to be perfect. Shucks, something like being a minister!? And when they aren’t, well, just think Baton Rouge or Minnesota.

I know all that.

Back, however, to my lead sentence. I watched a follow-up interview with two, evidently, comedians, who responded to their take of the Baton Rouge shooting. They were African-American. At the end of the interview, the host asked one of them, while a picture was shown of him and his newly born infant daughter, “If you had one thing to say to your daughter, what would it be?”

I expected in that breath before he answered, something about regard all people as valued, do nothing to bring someone else down, know that people are human, don’t keep a record of wrongs. [My pastoral gut went to I Corinthians 13.]

I could not have been more off base when the response was, “I’d tell my daughter that if I die it would be because a policeman shot me.”

Damn. The host shuddered. I was completely overwhelmed with, “THAT’S IT?” Bias, prejudice. ALWAYS locked in to a mind-set.

Folks, this is not a day to remember. And yet. It’s also not a day to ever forget—in the sense that each of us has value—I believe that fully—and each of us has a chance to bring the good to another.

Yesterday as I drove out of our neighborhood a local police officer was parked along my way. I slowed down, lowered my window and said, “Thank you for helping us. Thank you for making our community as safe as you can.”

He nodded. And I wondered. How often that doesn’t happen. How often what a father tells his daughter isn’t even close.

The sadness of that prompts me to write this. And to say that none of us is perfect…just ask anyone who’s been a member of the conference or church I have served. And yet, the issue is not perfection. The issue is…

I hope you complete that sentence with caring and not cursing.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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