Friday, August 14, 2009

There are heroic people

I ran into an old acquaintance a couple of days ago, Juan (identity shielded), a Dallas Police officer. We used to hang out in the East Dallas Police Community Storefront, talking about our respective callings, fighting, good & evil, and so on. He is the cop you want to answer your call, the cop you want as a neighbor, the good cop (from a citizen’s perspective, that is). He told me he’s working as part of a team, going after serious felons (robbers, rapists, etc.) in our part of Dallas. “I’m the first one in the door,” he says, with the satisfaction of a man who’s where he needs to be. Photo: some guy playing with the siren.

Here is a true story that tells you everything you need to know to know the essential nature of this man: his partner (a good guy who I’d talked with) was killed a number of years ago in downtown Dallas, beaten down in the street and shot with his own gun while the crowd shouted to the killers, “Shoot the motherfucker. Kill that white motherfucker.” And the person who had the gun pulled the trigger and shot him dead and the crowd cheered. Juan and his partner weren’t working together that day and his partner died alone. When they took him in for the autopsy Juan stayed with the body, throughout the autopsy – which, as you might imagine, is a hard thing to do. And knowing this man, I know he didn’t look away for the cutting and weighing and so on.

I’ve thought many, many times, if I had another life, I’d love to come back as a cop, going after exactly who this man is going after, and especially I’d like to bring to justice the people who hurt children. Photo: A Karen family in Dallas. Photo by Aaron
Found these notes from earlier this year: Sleeping at a rest stop somewhere in New Mexico, dreaming a Latin couple with a baby and someone after them, shooting with accuracy and skill and still we got away and were in this room of tapestries, old Khmer women in the shadows, wood floors and walls dark with age. I need to remember.
Strange days have found us, strange days have tracked us down. I was driving down Peak Street yesterday and I saw a morbidly obese woman in a wheelchair French-kissing the Chihuahua she had on her lap.


Mandela said...

Hi 'CK',

I have followed your blog for a while now, and I'm really fascinated by your travels and your work with the immigrant community. I wanted to share with you a photojournal I found that might be of interest to you.

Stuart Isett has taken a photographic account of the gang violence within the Cambodian-American refugee community and its affect on families. I was surprised to find that many of his photos were taken around my hometown. It's really riveting and I encourage you to take a look.

I am also fascinated with the program your son was enrolled in, at Sihanouk Hospital in Phnom Penh. In college a couple of years ago, I worked for five months with a cooperative in El Salvador that provided social services to the rural poor.

How would I get more information about getting involved with a group like Sihanouk? Was it through a special program, or did you contact the hospital personally?

You can contact me if you like. Any information you have would be appreciated.

Again, your blog is great. Thanks for doing the good work and sharing your stories!


CK said...

Hola Mandela,
Email on the way.