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Dedicated to slain officer’s Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz, their families, co-workers, community and pets, especially Ace.

Violence is not the problem; it is a consequence of the problem – Jim Wallis

I wrote this around 6 years ago but never posted it, while looking at some past writing I stumbled on it and felt that this was something I needed to share as nothing has changed over the years. I decided to post this on January 24th, on the anniversary of this event.

That night, some 6 years ago on January 24, 2011, I sat glued like the rest of the state as we saw a house being turned to ashes; even wood beams and concrete were not safe from what happened today. Riddled with bullets, tear gas and death, for the safety of everyone involved, the house was destroyed. Within a few minutes after turning on the local news; it didn’t matter which station, the story and images were all the same.  Chances are you know most of the details so I won’t go over them again, except to say that three St. Petersburg Police Officers were shot in the line of duty, two of which died from their injuries, during the process of trying to serve a warrant.

This photo is not of Ace as I never heard back if I could use the photo so this is a police dog.  They are so kind and beautiful.

German_Shepherd_police_dog_tribute

Dedicated to slain officer’s Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz, their families, co-workers, community and pets, especially Ace.

What sticks in my mind is the reason the warrant was being served in the first place. I write about getting out, staying out and preventing domestic violence. My mission is to bring awareness to those that think domestic violence will never touch their life because they’re living in a stable, loving home; sadly, that dream has been shattered. After listening to the news reports for a few days I was reminded how much domestic violence affects the truly innocent. The wives of the fallen soldiers, their children, family, friends and fellow officers, now without someone they love because of domestic violence.  These men were not violent, yet in helping to protect a woman and serve a warrant to a horrible man, they were murdered.

Tell me now, doesn’t’ domestic violence effect us all?  Even if no one in your life is violent or being abused, sadly, we know that your life can be pulled into the vicious cycle of domestic violence.  Your child could be shot in the crossfire as he is walking into school when a man shoots his wife. Your husband can die when he goes to work because an abusive wife decides to go to her husband’s business and shoot him and his coworkers. Or, like today, your faithful, loving husband can run the lights on his squad car for your little boy, and then drive off to a job that he loves, protecting his family and community and never come home again because a weak man can’t face the wrongs he has committed.

Court records show that Hydra Lacy Jr., the man being served the warrant, failed to show for his scheduled trial on November 1st, 2010 for aggravated battery charge against his wife. Lacy was convicted in 1989 of armed burglary, resisting arrest with violence and other charges. After being released in 1991, he was soon convicted of sexual battery with a weapon which sent him to prison until 2001. Look at the difference in these men’s lives, there really is no comparison; one man did all that he could to protect others, while the other, violated the rights of everyone that crossed his path.

As I searched Google for more information about this tragedy I was drowned with link after link covering every angle of what happened from the shootings, the loss of fellow officers, interviews with family and friends, reports of why the house demolished and where the dog will stay.

I called my boyfriend on the way home from work today, we live in St. Petersburg and discussed the police cars that were everywhere throughout town, especially on 9th Street and Gandy where the funeral was held. Parking lots that normally sat empty had a car parked in every square inch of them. Like many, we had never heard the officer’s names until the last few days, but we were unable to get them, their families or the tragedy that never should have happen, out of our minds. The last thing that my boyfriend said really stuck in my mind on my ride home, he was heartbroken at having seen one of the officers dog, Ace at the funeral. He said the dog barked throughout the entire funeral and was completely lost, obviously wondering where his partner Jeffrey was. For everyone else, even though the news was devastating, at least they knew somewhat what had happened, even the children understood that daddy was a police officer and never came home because of a bad man; but Ace only knew that all of his best friends friends were gathered today, without Jeffrey.

As I visualized Ace sitting sadly and waiting for his best friend, it made me realize the shear depths of denial our society is in to think that domestic violence doesn’t’ affect us all, even our homes and pets. What happened in St. Petersburg Florida is the trickle down affect of domestic violence.

Let’s not let Officer Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz die in vain, together one day at a time let’s stop violence of any kind so that our loved ones can all come home at the end of the day. It is not our destiny to have domestic violence in the world, but it is our destiny to put an end to it.

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

 

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