Saturday, December 05, 2009

Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what

There are times when the written or spoken word offer us a glimpse of the experience of the writer or speaker.  Often we simply write and speak in declarations, we make a point or state an opinion.  Only now and then do we choose and dare to open the private shutters to our unique experience and point of view.  In a beautiful, touching and overwhelmingly sad interview with Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times, Kelly Richards has offered such a glimpse of her experience right now, days after her husband, Officer Greg Richards was killed when Maurice Clemmons ambushed him and three colleagues as they prepared for their shift at a coffee shop.

Officer Greg Richards got off the shot that wounded his killer.

Officer Greg Richards

Ms. Mapes did a brilliant piece, allowing Kelly Richards experience speak to us from without being overpowered by a narrative.  There are some very powerful insights, things I might not have realized otherwise.  When Ms. Richards heard on the news that four officers had been killed at Cafe Forza, her heart sank and she began to frantically search for information.  She hoped against hope that her husband was not one of the dead, but then she was struck by a realization.  "…what are you hoping, for someone else's wife or husband to be dead?” 

Ms. Richards even recounts discussing a situation where her husband might find himself in a life or death encounter:

"I had always told him, come home to us, get out, find a way out, if you can't shoot and kill him," Richards said. But she said she knew, like his colleagues, he would do his duty, no matter what.”

And,it was Officer Greg Richards who was able to wound Clemmons, before succumbing to his own injuries.  The owner of Cafe Forza says that Officer Richards shielded customers and baristas by charging Clemmons and forcing him out the door, wounding Clemmons before falling himself. I can only imagine how proud Ms. Richards must be, and how desperately she might simultaneously wish her husband had somehow found a way out – a way home.  I’ve linked to Ms. Mapes article below.  It is well worth reading:

Local News | Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what | Seattle Times Newspaper

By the way, on December 8th and 9th, the very generous 40+ Papa Johns Pizza stores in Western Washington will be donating all profits to the families of these men.  Don’t you think that you will have a special craving for Papa Johns Pizza on Tuesday or Wednesday? Some additional links to stories which might be of interest:

Details on Tuesday memorial for four slain officers

Photograph: Officer Ronald Owens

Officer Ronald Owens Obituary

Lakewood Sgt. Mark Renninger is shown with his son, Nicholas, about two years ago.

Sergeant Mark Renninger and his son, about two years ago.

Obituary for Sergeant Mark Renninger

'People like you are what the world needs'

Officer Tina Griswold a stickler for safety

Seattle Times Obituary for Officer Griswold

Officer Tina Griswold Memorial


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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
As always, the photos we use are either my own, or in the public domain. Please let me know if there are any errors and I'll correct them immediately.