The Dark Side of the Badge

By James Lilley

 Joining the ranks within the profession of law enforcement, whether on the local, state, or federal level is honorable and courageous.  Men and women across the nation are taking their oath of office, swearing “to protect and to serve,” proudly pinning on their new badges, strapping on their gunbelts, and stepping out into a different world.  There’s a certain excitement that goes with that very first day when you walk out the door of your station house, and become a part of the war on crime.  Beware the dangers: Just about a step and a half on the other side of the sanity you hold dear, is a dark side.  Like a steel-jawed trap, it lies in wait for the unsuspecting—the unprepared, and if you aren’t careful, it can rip the life out of you. 

 The dark side can change your life in the blink of an eye, or over time, depending on the strength of its grip, and your vulnerability to it.  You can change to the point where friends don’t know you any more, and to your own family you become a stranger.  A husband or wife might wonder what happened to that person they married, while your children ask who you are.  There are some that spiral down into the deepest recesses of the dark side, and when their entire world suddenly seems hopeless, they “eat their gun.”  Now, those left dazed and alone, without a husband and father, or wife and mother, try to find the answers to “What went wrong?” or “Why?”



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