About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Real Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time where we celebrate the goodness in life with our loved ones. But you already know that, so why should you read this? What could I ever tell you that you don't already know about Thanksgiving and being thankful?

It's not about telling you something you don't already know. It's about showing you something that enriches what you already know. It's about sitting around the fire with a hot cup of cocoa and telling stories that warm our hearts and remind us just how much we need each other. That's right, I said the N-word...need.

In the vast sea of people and history, it's the story tellers who bring meaning to life. They pass on traditions and lessons to the next generation. And if I've got any story telling in me, I think you'll find profound meaning in this true story. I wrote this one last year on Thanksgiving morning with the aromas of the feast in the air. By the time I was done writing it, my eyes had no tears left.

Yesterday, I was out with my partner, looking for a guy who was wanted for robbery. He's a pretty bad dude and had amassed eight or nine felony convictions over the past twenty or so years. He'd been out of prison for a couple years and as usual, returned to a life filled with drugs and crime.

It's common to find bad guys somewhere around family during the holidays. Even though they've burned most of their bridges, the holidays are a time when moms and dads, sisters and brothers still want to find hope for the lost souls in their families.

We ended up at the sister's house, looking for the robber. Indications were that he might be there. I knocked on the door and the sister answered.

"Regina, I'm Detective Nickell," I said as I showed her my gold-star badge. "I'm looking for Reginald. Is he here?"

No startled look. A look almost of relief--like she had known we were coming. Just like she had seen so many times over the years. This was no surprise. This was ordinary.

"He's in the bathroom. Come on in," she said.

We met Reginald in the bathroom where he was finishing up shaving. He was cooperative and said he knew we would be coming for him.

We let him finish getting cleaned up and he was resigned to knowing what's in store. "I'm going to prison for a really long time," he said. "My mom's dying of cancer and she's in the bed in the next room. Can I say goodbye to her before we leave?"

The cop in me knows to be a little suspicious and I know I have to control his body movements. There could've been a weapon anywhere. He might've been forming a plan to escape--especially since he knows he's way past his third strike.

I checked the other room and an older woman in her 80s was asleep in the bed, covered up to her neck with heavy blankets. She looked like she probably wouldn't make it to Christmas.

There's no way that I was going to have this moment take place with Reginald in handcuffs. He'd been cool with us and it was the day before Thanksgiving. I've been around the block a few times and I've learned how to care about people again. The ugliness of the world doesn't make me shut people out anymore.

Reginald walked into the room and as he sat on the bed to wake his mom, his voice trembled. "Mama. Mama. I have to go do some stuff. I'm not sure if I'm gonna be back. I want you to know I love you Mama. Please make sure you try to eat something."

Out of respect, I tried not to stare at the moment of grace and pure love. But I couldn't resist witnessing something so beautiful, yet heart-breaking. I knew this was the last time that 40-something year-old Reginald would ever see his mom.

He pressed his lips to her forehead and cradled her for a moment. Her cloudy eyes opened and she whispered, "I love you, son."

I looked at my partner and at the same time, we both said, "This job sucks." At least moments like that one do.

I tell you this story as a reminder to love each other well. Do all you can to live a good life and surround yourself with family and friends. Turn away from those things and those people who bring destruction into your lives. Find an interest or renew your interest in God, our creator.

Check out this video of a recent story that I think deepens what I'm encouraging you to do.


Love your loved ones like they've never been loved and like they'll never be loved again!

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