Shooting Well, Shooting Long

I have been miserable lately, my shoulder hurting from the resistor I had to arrest two weeks ago and generally feeling the absence of Matt Goodin, who took his own life last week.  His locker, as I have already written, was just next to mine, and he used to grouse about how much bench-space I, as a house cat, was taking up (he was a Specialist, one of those officers who carried and employed an AR-15 in defense of the public).  

I keep expecting to see him.  Which is only slightly less  distressing than actually seeing him now he’s been interred with other fallen heroes.  He was buried in the same cemetery as James Gelf.  I couldn’t even bring myself to ask for permission to go…

Today was the day I selected to do my qualification.  Every six months we have to go hit the range and shoot some paper bad guys.  I do like to shoot, and I’m a fair hand at it.

So.  I had to document my injury, which meant a bunch of paperwork, then off to the range.  I rode my motorbike, gun belt in my pack.  I got there, and saw an officer I worked with who shared the same row of lockers with me and Matt.  He’d transferred to another unit recently, hoping for more fun.  He’s another Illinois transplant and a great guy, so I always love talking to him.  He also plays a mean fiddle.  So mean in fact that the last time I recall seeing Matt smile was as this fine officer took his fiddle and started sawing on a fiddle and playin’ it hot.  We jaw-jacked for a few, and I got the feeling he’s much happier where he is…

I shot better today than I have in a long time.  All shots were on target, and I was very fast out of the holster and onto the target.

As we were policing up the brass and jaw-jacking some more, an officer who was part of the team responsible for training my class in the academy walked onto the firing line.

“Hey!” I greeted him, “You’re the last of the crew that was here when I went through in 2000.”

“Just for today,” he said with a crooked grin.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes. Today is my last day.”

“How many years?”


“Congratulations, man.  What plans you got?”

“Thanks.  Got houses to renovate and work on.”

We chatted some more, all three of us.  He remained on the firing line, shooting one of our service Barretta shotguns (the worst fucking weapon I have ever had to shoot).

When we went to clean our guns,  I said to Fiddler, “Man, if I had his job, I’d be busting out one of the old Thompsons and rolling through some ammo drums, talkin’ like a prohibition agent from Untouchables.”

Fiddler laughed, “Oh hell yes.”

My point is this:  we all need plans;  not just for after we retire;  not just for when we think we can change things, but all the time.  Planning gives us reasons to live, planning promotes humanity.