Thursday, March 26, 2009

Empathy creates frustration

Rest well, fallen members of the Oakland, California, Police Department: Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, Officer John Hege, 41, SWAT Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, and Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43. Half a lifetime stolen from each man.

Heads high, Diva and friends ....

When I read Diva's post today, at first I felt badly for the officers and their families, then for Diva and her friends. A few minutes later, I felt like yelling and punching a hole in the wall. Frustration over the inability to pull back the curtain of time and make things right again is a nasty thing, for me at least. Empathy and personal knowledge can create such frustration no matter if an event occurs next door or 2,000 miles away from home.

No one wants his life cut short, but these guys went out doing what they wanted to be doing, being where they wanted to be, and in the company of friends, and as members of an actual brotherhood. Under the circumstances, this is meaningful and is not a little thing. Believe me, I know, that is true.

I felt like reading about cops for a few minutes after learning of this incident. I looked for a book I know I once had, "The Blue Knight," by Joseph Wambaugh, and could not find it. Damn movers, how many boxes did they lose? More frustration. No book, nothing to read. Forced to think, instead.

Wambaugh, a 17-year-old kid in the Marine Corps who later became a Los Angeles copper, wrote a series of novels about life in a blue uniform, beginning while he was still on the force. He ran into all sorts of official flack for portraying the human side of police officers and for being honest about the toll their work often took from them, which too often emerged in the form of alcoholism, divorce, wrecked careers and suicides. One of his books, "The Onion Field," has been compared to Truman Capote's, "In Cold Blood." Some have been made into motion pictures.

Life goes on. It just slows down for a while some days. Usually on the days you do not want it to.

Music Note: Listening to Neil Young ....
Specifically, "Rust Never Sleeps" ....
Some lines from the song: "Hey Hey, My My:"

It's better to burn out 'cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he's not forgotten.
Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.


A Cuban In London said...

'The Onion Field'.

Will be checking out that book sometime soon. Neil Young, man. One of the greatest lyricists ever. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fram said...

You sure are a traveling man, Cuban.

The book certainly is worth reading, and Neil Young is worth listening to all day long. There was a film made about him a couple of years ago, "Heart of Gold," which is both interesting and entertaining, and worth the cost of a DVD, should you be so inclined.

TheChicGeek said...

Hello Fram :) You're a very nice and compassionate man. It is so sad when the senseless acts of others cut short lives. I work with many police officers and for the most part, they are wonderful people who want to help others.
Thank you for posting such a nice tribute.
Having been in the military I'm sure you can understand better than most of us.
Have a Nice Day :)

Fram said...

I am tempted to try to say something funny, Kelly, but this time I'll be content to say, thank you, for the visit and the kind words.

Katy said...

Dying young is a tragedy, and dying in the course of one's work doubly so I've often thought.

I've not heard of Wambaugh before. I'll make a point of looking out foe "The Onion Field".

It's Neil Young that Lynyrd Skynyrd is referring to in "Sweet Home Alabama" isn't it? What's the story behind that Fram, if you know?

Fram said...

I don't think most readers would place Joseph Wambaugh at Truman Capote's literary level, Katy, but on the other hand, Wambaugh was writing about people he knew from the inside out rather than from the outside in, as Capote wrote. Personally, if I walked into a bar and found one sitting at each end, I'd go sit with Wambaugh and offer to buy him a drink, but that's another story.

In regard to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young, Southern Boys just don't appreciate Canadians talking down or preaching to them, which they felt Young had done in his music. That's all I know.

Chocobo said...

I've always wondered what fraternity (or sorority) felt like and you occasionally manage to convey bits of it in your writing. I know what it means to belong to my family and it is both large and close, but in most situations I feel as if I am eternally an outsider.

Just musing . . .

Very sad when people die . . . inevitable, but still sad.

Fram said...

There's a gunner girl back on the firing line. Nice to see you, Chocobo. Muse to your heart's content.

Yes, it is sort of fraternal, at the time, in many respects. But, after "graduation," while some people seem to exist for past associations and affiliations, others remain on the fringe and only come out of the woodwork when conscience compels or some random event ignites the memory. I am among the latter -- mostly, sort of, usually ....

Something special ....