The Day I didn’t need a Gun

I have had a concealed carry permit long before I became a cop. I would often carry a firearm when I would go places. But one day after becoming a cop something changed.

Carrying a gun became a need. It became a have to, a burden. I could not leave the house without my firearm. It created such anxiety that if I forgot my firearm I would turn around and go home to get it.

This was not always a want. It felt as though I had to have it. I would actually worry about, “What If”. What if something happened and I was not prepared. It had became a burden. I would be going somewhere and I did not want to carry it. It felt like a cannon at times on my hip or ankle. But deep inside my mind would tell me, Eric you better have it.

I guess at times it must have been an out of tune ego. I felt as if I had to protect the world. But what was I protecting myself, my family, or the world from? At this time I was on call 24/7. I covered the major crimes, and criminal interdiction investigations for 10 of the 29 counties in Utah. I was also 1 of 4 detectives with a drug task force in west central Utah. There were times that I would have to request and use a day off to have my normal day off. I would do this because I was constantly being called out on my days off. I think I was constantly mentally on duty even when I wasn’t. This took a toll on me and my loved ones. There were weeks I was actually working 15 to 20 hour days just to have my head hit the pillow and the phone would ring again. I carried a gun always and everywhere.

In September of 2018 I received a promotion and transferred to the Salt Lake area for work. This was a busy and stressful time, but my sweetheart and I finally were able to sell our home and move into a new home some 2 and a half hours from where we had spent the last 8+ years of our lives.

I found myself holding my wife’s hand as we walked down the isle of a local store. As we walked together it finally dawned on me. I was unarmed. Well, I had a knife in my pocket but I was missing something. My firearm was home in the gun safe on the shelf. I know this did not mean much to my wife and may not mean anything to anyone but me. However, somewhere along the way the need, the have to, the burden just seemed to vanish. It had been weeks that I had been going out of the house, yes even to the big city of Salt Lake, and there was nothing on my hip. I had not even noticed the change.

I often wonder if our loved ones, our friends, or the general public has an understanding of the mental and emotional toll this line of work can have on those who espouse it as a career. I may have entered into it a little blindly. However, over the last 10 years there have been innocents lost and perspectives gained.

I will never be able to look at the world in the ways I used to. This being said I also don’t have to look at the world how I had been. I have gained a perspective that hopefully has made me a little softer, a little kinder, a little more empathetic.

Just some of this cops random thoughts.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you again for giving us a look into your life! This has got to be hard, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have sacrificed to keep us safe.

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