Standing Between Us and Evil

Mistakes come easily to most of us. Most of the time, less than perfect is all right. If we make error in the newspaper, we can run a correction the next day. A slip-up in manufacturing usually means only that one more copy of the item in question has to be produced and the “second” is sold as such or thrown away. In retailing, the wrong price on an item means a few cents or dollars lost.

Cops don’t have that luxury. When they go to work in the morning (or the middle of the night), they know a tiny lapse in attention or judgment can mean they won’t come home after their shift. Even if they do everything the right way, circumstances beyond their control can prove deadly.

Two of West Virginia’s finest – State Police Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey and Trooper Eric Workman – didn’t make it home last week. They’d pulled over a vehicle and arrested its driver for DUI. He’d been handcuffed and placed in the back of their cruiser.

He produced a gun he’d hidden somewhere on his person and shot both officers from behind. Bailey died quickly. Workman lingered in a hospital for a few days before succumbing.

The killer then shot a tow truck driver who’d been summoned to the scene. He fled, but Roane County sheriff’s deputies caught up to him. He shot one of them before being killed himself.

Thank heaven, the wounded deputy and tow truck driver are expected to survive their wounds.

It was one of those cases in which a really nice guy, to judge by comments from his friends and family, turned into a monster because of illegal drugs.

You may want to give that some thought if you’ve been tempted to try what we used to call mind-altering drugs. Are a few hours of intoxication – because that’s all that’s happening – worth the possibility of learning there was evil buried in the recesses of your brain, waiting to be unleashed?

Right, you chuckle. There he goes again, being overly dramatic.

Really? Do you honestly suppose that before he ingested whatever drug he was on last Tuesday night, 22-year-old Luke Baber, of Oak Hill, W.Va., was thinking about killing a couple of State Police officers?

Just give it some thought before you try that new drug everyone says is so great. Is it worth the risk?

Think, too, about the men and women who serve us as municipal police officers, sheriff’s deputies and State Police or State Highway Patrol officers. In many ways they’re just like the rest of us. They have friends and families, worries and dreams, triumphs and tribulations. Many have excellent senses of humor – and really cut-and-dried ideas about right and wrong.

They’re just people like the rest of us, with two exceptions. First, they safeguard us from both our own bad decisions and the real evil that lurks in the world.

Second, by being on the front lines, standing between us and that evil, they sometimes fall victim to it in order to spare us.

May God welcome Marshall Lee Bailey and Eric Workman into His fold.

And may God bless the men and women who, every time they go to work, willingly put their safety at risk so the rest of us can feel more secure.

Myer can be reached at: