Acts of Bravery involving the Shooting of Individuals

Steve is a police officer. I watch him calming down some men in a fight in Soho. I am so impressed by this — by his calmness and his presence and quiet authority — I began talking to him. He is forty-two and retiring next year. He has seen gruesome things, he says, mentioning a head in a bucket. Yet somehow he is unjaded. He is light and gentle and almost pure. Last year, he tells me, he “shot an individual in the line of duty.” The individual didn’t die, but Steve is being given a medal for bravery. Do I want to come to the award ceremony, Steve asks? I do. It is near Police Plaza, one Saturday in August. I wear my best clothes. Steve and fifteen thousand other police wear their blue uniforms. Mayor Guiliani is there and applauds all the bravery. We receive pamphlet about bravery and it turns out that all the acts of bravery being honored today involved the shooting of individuals.
— 52 MEN. It’s on Kindle now, read the rest of the story in which he passes me his gun.

About louisewleonard

Author of 52 Men, Since You Ask, and others Also in The Rumpus, Tin House, Fiction Advocate, Gargoyle.
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