The Community’s Response to Line of Duty Deaths: RIP Deputy Gumm
by Steve Warneke
When I first heard the awkward, high-pitched, horn-like sound emitting from a bagpipe, I questioned the musical integrity of the instrument. I couldn’t exactly envision myself sitting back in an armchair, wearing my smoker’s jacket, sipping a fine brandy, listening to the LP of “The World’s Greatest Bagpipe Hits.” But after 15 years in law enforcement, I now have come to understand the magic, beauty, and emotion that free flows from these amazing instruments.
When large numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States in the 1840s, many had difficulty finding work. They were only able to apply for unwanted, dangerous, and difficult jobs, including those of firefighter and police officer. So it follows that when one of them was killed in the line of duty, the Irish community would hold a traditional Irish funeral, which included the beautiful bagpipes. Over time, this tradition spread to all of those killed in the line of duty, regardless of their heritage.
Unfortunately, you will have an opportunity to hear bagpipes this Friday if you listen to, watch, or go to the services for Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Heath Gumm. While attempting to question a suspect involved in a dispute in Thornton, Colorado, he was killed after being shot several times in the chest. Gumm is one of eight officers to die in the line of duty, five of them by gunfire in America, since the beginning of the year.
Here’s why the death of a peace officer is so significant to our community.
Police officers are the defenders of our society. They are symbols of peace and justice. They are the reason we are afforded our quality of life. If all police officers left the job right now, there would be rioting, looting, and anarchy within hours, all over America’s streets. We have seen just how quickly that scenario can materialize after major events like Hurricane Katrina. Police officers are the reason we can sleep peacefully, voice our opinions, or take our Louis Vuitton bag out in public to go get a latte at Starbucks.
The most valuable thing any of us have is our life. It’s more valuable than money, possessions, or knowledge. Surely even Steve Jobs would have traded in all his billions of dollars to continue to live. We as a society recognize and acknowledge the sanctity of human life, and this belief is reflected in our laws and religions. Yet police officers go out everyday and literally gamble their lives for the peace and prosperity of strangers. They drive INTO the chaos, violence, and danger while everyone else is running AWAY.
For these reasons, the death of a police officer deserves our time, respect, and attention. It’s important to pay tribute to the men and women who are the modern day heroes of our world, especially when one of them is ripped away from their family, friends and loved ones by a criminal intent on disrupting our beautiful way of life.
Read more at lawenforcementtoday.com
STATEMENT BY OATH KEEPERS RETIRED WASHINGTON D.C. METRO OFFICER BRIAN “SQUATCH” KROGMANN:
I had a tough time after OIF and OEF attending funerals. As a police officer in our Nation’s Capital there were quite a few more to attend. I played bagpipes with the Metropolitan Police Pipe and Drum Band, honoring my fellow officers and my Irish heritage. I stood in tac vest and a ski mask in August for over an hour holding a salute on a median strip as the procession to honor a fallen Maryland trooper passed. See, his part time job where he was gunned down in the back was at TGI Friday’s on the other side of the shopping center where I guarded a grocery store. Neither one of us made enough to live in the area without part time jobs.
I continue to serve my community today as a rural lawman in Arizona. The Blue Line is thin and at times it breaks. Ordinary, law abiding citizens, Minutemen really, step in and fill the breach. A preacher in Florida assisting a trooper fighting for his life on the side of a highway, a Texas NRA Instructor who ran barefoot with his AR to a rapid motion murder in a rural clapboard church and saved dozens from death, a mom performing CPR in a Walmart until paramedics arrive. First aid training, medical kits in cars, CCW permits and lawful carry. Victim or sandbag? Yours to decide. We need you though. Honor the fallen, be prepared to assist if called by a cop, your neighborhood, state or country. We need you. – Squatch
Brian “Squatch” Krogmann is second from the right, standing next to TX NRA Instructor Stephen Willeford, the man who stopped the killing at Sutherland Springs, TX by grabbing his AR and running, barefoot, toward the sound of the gunfire – a true example of what the Founders expected of all Americans, in the finest tradition of the Minutemen. On the left are Army Ranger veteran Ivan Chaplinsky and his wife Margarita, and on the far right of the photo is John, a local Texas Oath Keeper volunteer. They had the honor to meet Mr. Willeford while working a security detail for the church while the community healed.