Friday, July 16, 2010
As I left role call it was a cool night, the tree leaves were turning bright colors, and the night air had a crispness that invigorated my lungs. I went to my patrol car as it was lightly raining and there was a heavy mist in the air. I tested all the emergency lights on the patrol car and the mist in the air would catch the bright lights filling the night with patriotic red, white, and blue flashes like fireworks in the night sky. My body charged with adrenalin as I locked my loaded shotgun into its rack and pinned my badge onto my outer jacket.
About 1:00 AM I got a call regarding a fight in a bar. This tavern had a reputation for attracting a rough crowd. My wing man and another adjoining district car were dispatched to cover me. The third officer was always welcome cover. His nick name was no-neck. He had played football in college and was as big around in the chest as he was tall, with no neck; it was all muscle.
We each took one of the subjects to our patrol car and obtained their statement then whisked them off to jail knowing they would never testify against each other and that this event was just another peace keeping exercise. The tavern owner would not file a complaint either because he didn’t want to lose his liquor license or be ticketed for serving drunken patrons.
My wing man then began manipulating the weapon when all of a sudden I heard a thundering blast. I quickly looked towards his car window and all I could see was black powder smoke boiling out of his window like a volcano bellowing smoke. I yelled at him twice asking if he was OK but there was no response. I was now concerned he had shot himself, so I pulled my car forward so I could open my door and find out what had happened. As the smoke was clearing I again inquired if he was OK. He responded, now with tears rolling down both cheeks, that he was OK but that he had wet his pants. His face and hands were covered with black powder soot. I then saw that the windshield had been blown completely out of the car and was lying on the hood.
I called our sergeant who had the patrol car towed to the repair shop for a new windshield and I took my wing man back to the precinct for a change of clothing. Wing man now had a new role call name; Black Powder Man. For the next few months he would answer; Yeah, yeah, I’m here, when his new nick name was called amid snickering in the background.
Lack of sleep, fatigue, and poor judgment caused a near fatal accident. Black Powder Man learned what he should have already known; you don’t play with loaded guns. Sometimes we make mistakes and some of those mistakes have eternal consequences. However, when we are truly sorry for our mistakes Jesus Christ will forgive us through His atonement. Then we must try our best to not repeat the mistake, keep His commandments (laws) and serve Him all the days of our lives.
It’s a wonderful blessing to know we can move forward and improve each day of our lives as we call upon our Savior for forgiveness. His has paid the price for our mistakes and wants us to accept Him as our Savior. To learn more about Christ’s atonement visit mormon.org or lds.org
Posted by Elder Watts at 3:59 PM