The most valuable part came in the wee hours after most had gone to sleep. RC and I talking about the things we can only talk around with most people. Not because of lack of skill or interest or vocabulary... just a lack of frame of reference.
CS was a good kid. He was a rookie officer when I was a rookie sergeant. He had an FTO as his primary but as I was learning my new job I spent a lot of time teaching him my old job. He was good at it, and it was looking like a good career. He had just gotten married and seemed deliriously happy. For whatever reason, a mystery to me, his friends, his bride, he went to the coast alone, got a room in a hotel and hung himself in the shower.
That was my eighth funeral in two months, all from suicides. I still hate funerals.
I'm on leave in British Columbia when major news source runs a banner below the regular news citing a number of Americans killed at the Baghdad Police Academy bombing. Shit. That was a hundred yards from where I slept! Those were guys I knew! Who? How many?.... Turns out it was just another bullshit story. Guess they figured people wouldn't get worked up just over Iraqi bodies...
Four hard core barricaded bad guys. The weapons we can confirm include the handle from a paper cutter, twelve-inch-long shards of glass with wrapped handles and a pile of used syringes. Some administrator decides "these are only children" and orders us to go in unarmed. I know how to survive that but it's not by taking chances and the end result is the decision that today will probably be the day that I kill a child. In the end, a wiser head prevails and things end flawlessly, with the right tools and without serious injury.
What are the odds of stopping a full power knife thrust to the kidneys because I saw a stupid reflection? Or talking down the drunk old man with the shotgun pointed at my belly? And always, what were the alternatives?
Maybe that all sounds like bragging or whining. Not the point. I can tell the stories (but usually don't) but the things behind the stories, the 'why' and the lessons learned and the things going on in the head and the belly are things I (we, really, that's the point) usually wind up talking around.
A few get it. Mac and Sean are my usual go to guys. Mike. A few others. I had the chance last weekend with a relatively new face, someone I've trained with but not bled with, and it was pretty comfortable. Good timing, too.