It’s happening!

Not here!

This can’t happen here!

The call. THAT call. The terror in the woman’s voice.

“THEY’RE HERE! PLEASE HELP US! GOD HELP US!”

You know that no matter how fast you drive over these roads –  roads you know like the back of your hand, you’re going to be too late! You know her, God, you know her. You know her husband, and you’ve known them for years. The desperation in her voice, the sheer terror. And the screams as you hear the door to their house crash open, the shouts to “get down on the floor, get down on the floor!”

The phone goes dead. Oh God, I am not going to make it in time! You press harder on the gas pedal, but you know it is already too late.

This isn’t some random person. This is someone you know; not a close friend, but someone who grew up in your community. They seemed like a really nice couple. He was a little strange, always wearing that camouflage jacket and talking about the government. You know the type, the “tin foil hat people”, the “conspiracy theorists”.  Well, you had always just chalked it up to PTSD from all those tours over there. But when they really needed you, you were not able to help. You were all the way on the other side of the county. Your county. And they needed you!

The screams are still ringing in your ears; I’m going to be too late! Desperate thoughts stream through your head. Just let it be a home invasion, just a robbery, take the money and go, leave them alone, they are good people.

But in your gut, you know that is not what is going to happen. Not here. Not now. THEY have finally come to your community, and you were not ready. Why had you not seen this coming? The couple on the other end of that phone had seen it coming and had tried to warn you, but you would not listen.  Why didn’t you listen? You keep saying to yourself that this happens in other places – not here, not here! This is something that occurs over there: Europe, South America, Mexico, not here!  Now you know that it has arrived and you were not ready; you had not done your job!

With the telephone screams still ringing in your ears, you yell at yourself, “This is my job – NO — this is who I am!  I have been like this my whole life, I don’t know any other way!”  All your life you stood up to the bullies, the bad people; you came to the rescue. You were John Wayne, Superman, Rambo, and you were everybody’s friend and protector. But where were you tonight? Why weren’t you there to help?
Why, why, why, were you not there?

Why were you not better prepared?

It’s too late; they’re gone.  The black vehicles with the heavily armed masked men are gone. You were too late to stop them.

Too late!

Evidence that they were here is scattered all around you – the broken door, the overturned furniture, the smashed plates. Too late and unprepared, you think, “This doesn’t happen here, this can’t happen, not here!” The terrified neighbors are peeking out from behind closed curtains staring at you, accusingly; you let them down, YOU LET THEM DOWN!

On the floor is a smashed picture frame, with the couple staring back at you, their eyes asking why you weren’t listening when they told you THEY would be coming. Why didn’t you listen? You ask yourself – what was that quote he kept telling you? Something he had read once; something that he thought would happen again in our lifetime, something that scared him.  Now you know what he meant, and now it scares you. How did it go again?  Oh yeah, something about different groups of people disappearing and nobody saying anything; what was that last line . . . “When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” Has it come to that, is it true?

God help us if it is.

What was the other thing he would say when he saw you on the streets making your rounds?

“We took an oath, we took an oath.”

Yeah you took one, but did you really?  Did you think about what you were saying, or did you just mouth the words; did you truly mean it?

He said something about being an Oath Keeper and his oath wasn’t done. You knew he meant it when he said his oath expired when he died.

Did it expire tonight?

You hear those cries for help again ringing in your ears. Oh God, you swore an oath, YOU SWORE AN OATH!

Is it too late?  Can you stop this from happening again?  You must. You do not want to hear those screams and cries for help again, only to find they have been taken by THEM, joining the ranks of the DISAPPEARED.

You look into the eyes of your neighbors, your friends, the citizens of your county who put their trust in you, and you think to yourself, I’m a County Sheriff. I took an OATH, and I will not let this happen again not in my county.

NOT ON MY WATCH!

William Kennedy