Every so often, something in the news catches me. It hits too close to home. I think, “Oh.”

That could be us.

This morning, FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks was shot and killed while serving a warrant for someone’s arrest in Pittsburgh, PA.

Oh.

He left behind a wife and a 3-year old child.

Oh.

I can just imagine in my minds’ eye all of what is described in the news article: I can imagine his wife, in bed, sleeping while he left the house at the ungodly hour of 4:45 am (probably), expecting to hear from him when he was done with the arrest. Maybe they had plans together this afternoon, because often agents get the rest of the afternoon off after they complete an arrest (after booking the suspect, etc).

Oh.

I can imagine finding out that, actually, the routine drug search wasn’t so routine. The Kevlar-clad crew arriving at Robert Korbe’s home inspired someone to retrieve a personal weapon, aim it at the door, and, when the door was open, shoot the messenger.

Oh.

I cannot imagine his wife’s grief.

It is one of those things that hurts me to the core with empathy for her situation.

Oh.

This is something I don’t think much about, honestly. I think about other people’s spouses going off to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other war zones. I think about police officers, fire fighters – all of whom put their lives on the line for our safety DAILY.

But I don’t think about FBI agents – like DB – ever getting shot. The likelihood of it happening is just so low. It must be a very mentally ill (or high) person to commit such a crime, because it is in front of a crowd of ten agents; to shoot at one in front of the others is to sacrifice any hope of freedom. Unlike police arrests, the FBI arrests perpetrators in an overwhelming show of force, sometimes bringing in a SWAT team, a negotiation team, and an arrest team all at once – just in case the shit hits the fan. They don’t want anything bad to happen.

That’s why arrests happen at the crack of dawn (note the time of the shooting: 6:00 am): people are less likely to be angry or violent at that hour. Frankly, they’re most likely to be asleep.

So yes, I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Despite my job (where I see mentally ill people all the time), I somehow still believe in people’s ability to rationally weigh the costs of shooting with the benefits of cooperating. I rarely think about the possibility that DB might not come home from one of the early-morning arrests. I think I used to be worried about it – back when he first started – but then life took over, and I got comfortable. I mean, DB and I joke that the biggest hazard of his job is carpal tunnel syndrome, from the mountains of paperwork he needs to complete.

And now I am imagining his wife learning of the unthinkable, absolutely unprepared for this type of news, and it is rocking me to my core. Because it’s the unexpected. It’s what we expect for a policeperson, or a firefighter, or an Army person. But this? No. Not doing this. “This” – this FBI life – is supposed to be safe. He carries a gun, for Pete’s sake. His colleague probably had an automatic weapon drawn, or at least strapped to his back.

How did this happen?

I am overwhelmed with sadness for this family.

Please join me in praying for them. Thank you.

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