Mike…

I was directing traffic before a Cardinal’s baseball game when I got the news.

“Did you hear about the nonsense?” An officer stopped at my intersection in a golf cart asked me.

“Nonsense?”

I hadn’t heard about anything to do with the police department up to that point in my day, and I wondered what it could be.

With law enforcement, it could be literally anything.

Anything.

It was the worst thing.

“Langsdorf was shot and killed,” the officer said.

Langsdorf is Mike Langsdorf.

It was Mike Langsdorf.

Mike was a friend from our time in the old Third District. We worked together in South St. Louis many years ago.

He was a friend to me and he was a friend of many other first responders as well.

Mike Langsdorf loved being a police officer, and I mean he loved it more than most of us do.

It was just in his blood to wear the badge.

It was in his blood to help people.

Mike spent the bulk of his career arresting the most violent of offenders, oftentimes in the most violent and underserved of our city’s neighborhoods.

He was very good at his job, beyond just the arrests as well. He was there for any police officer or citizen who needed him, young or old, black or white.

He was a mentor to many young officers and hero to countless citizens he helped over the years.

He was a hero to this little guy who needed him the night his family home caught fire and his own daddy had to throw him from a roof to save his life.

IMG_9389

Mike was good with this kid when he needed him to be because he knew what to do.

He knew what to do for him because Mike was also a dad.

Perhaps most tragically, Mike leaves behind kids who will never again feel the comforting embrace of his hugs or see his face at all their future special occasions. They will always wonder what dad would have thought about this or that and never know from him just what it was dad was thinking.

They won’t get to hear anymore of his dumb dad jokes.

They won’t see him at their graduations.

They won’t see him at their weddings.

They won’t have him around when they go to the beach or the zoo or to the lake or even just out to dinner ever again.

That was all stolen from them.

It was all stolen from them in one minute and sixteen seconds.

That’s how long he struggled with a man who ultimately shot him to death to escape being arrested for trying to pass a bad check at some shithole convenience store that serves people who mostly could give two fucks about the police, but sure will call us first when they need any sort of help.

Mike was always willing to be the guy who answered those calls.

After the officer in the golf cart told me that Mike had been killed, we were joined at the time by a female officer who also worked with Mike in the old Third District. She caught wind of what we were talking about and immediately had tears in her eyes, because she already knew what happened.

It’s one of the queer things about policing, but even with tragedy less than an hour old, life goes on.

Calls for police still needed to be answered.

Crimes still needed to be solved.

While thousands of people waited happily for a baseball game to start, a handful of police officers had to continue directing traffic and tending to the security of a large event like a MLB game with news of Mike’s death fresh on our minds.

We struggled to focus on the tasks at hand while trying to get the facts on what happened to our friend.

Why was our friend dead?

What were his last moments on this earth like?

Fortunately, but more honestly, unfortunately, we know what his last moments were like.

We all know.

Perfect strangers know.

His coworkers know.

His friends know.

His family knows.

His kids will also know.

EVERYBODY KNOWS!

Everybody knows because as he laid on the cold, hard floor of that store, where employees had just called for him to come and help, which he did, they took a video of it.

A police officer in uniform is shot.

He is dying.

His blood is pooling under him and he is clearly dying.

A man, a human being, is dying in front of you and the one thing you think to do is to get out your phone and live stream his death to thousands of morbid onlookers.

This is our culture today.

There is a lot of anger at the woman who videoed our friend dying, and rightfully so. Some of the comments on her feed were disgusting and typical of what you’d expect from the sort of people who probably frequent that store and are friends with this lady on Facebook.

There is a lot of anger at local media as well, because many of them posted links to this disgusting video on their own websites or social media pages.

They deserve any backlash they get for using the death of a police officer to boost page views and clicks.

I don’t know when society began to lose all its couth, but it can become frustrating, if you let it.

I’m choosing to take the high road for now and try to see the good in what I saw in a video I wished I’d never seen.

The woman did have some genuine concern in her voice, I think. Others held Mike’s hand and I think they may have prayed for him as he lay there as well.

Unlike the man who lay dying before them, I just don’t think the people in the video knew what to do in an emergency, so what may look to many of us like indifference, could very well just be panic or shock or whatever.

For now, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.

It’s not easy to see any good in this situation for sure, but if anybody would have wanted us to at least try to do so, it would have been Mike.

Rest in peace, brother.

 

 

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This entry was posted in Police, The not meant to be funny stuff, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Mike…

  1. djmatticus says:

    I’m so sorry, Don. Thank you for continuing to protect us even though it seems more and more we don’t deserve it.

  2. Thank you for what you do day in and day out. You do it with little respect, not enough gratitude and to protect people who often don’t deserve it. Thank you. I am sorry for the the loss you and your community are suffering.

  3. jgroeber says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. That is the very saddest thing, a loss for you, for his family, for the community. Thank you for all you do.
    Wishing you safety and peace.

  4. Timothy R Miller says:

    Don, THANK YOU.

    Mike, THANK YOU.

    I’m without words.

    I LOVE YOU.

    Timmy

  5. barbtaub says:

    Reblogged this on Barb Taub and commented:
    Don. He makes you cry. And laugh. And feel. And most of all, damn him, he makes you think.

  6. Pat says:

    My heart breaks for you, this officer’s family and those mourning his passing. I’m all out of angry. I’m just sad. There are many more who respect and admire the selfless work done by our police officers than the headlines would let you know. Thank You!

  7. Wyldkat says:

    My condolences on the loss of a friend and co-worker.

  8. joylennick says:

    May the poor man rest in peace As a British citizen living in Spain, I HATE the U.S’s gun laws. Deepest sympathy to the policeman’s family. Sincerely. Joy Lennick x

    • J. R. says:

      And what kind of gun law would have stopped this? Do you really think he’s going to follow any law that’s written? They don’t have any respect for law abiding citizens or life itself.

      • It’s a sad fact that if you stopped twenty/thirty people in the USA (usually men) and the same number in the UK, what’s the betting more of the Americans would be armed? It’s so EASY TO REACH FOR A GUN…Enough said. Peace.

  9. acflory says:

    I couldn’t like a post so sad. -hugs-

  10. Brett says:

    Wonderfully and beautifully written Don! Mike was a great guy and a great Officer! I know how much pride in took in the job and how proud his family was of him for his work with the Department. Mike was a high school friend and hockey teammate of mine and while I haven’t seen Mike in a few years, I grieve his loss with you.
    Thank you for your service and continuing on when and where we need you even after receiving news like this. Mike would want you to carry on…
    God Bless you and all of ours First Responders!!

  11. Maggie O'C says:

    Oh Don, thank you for writing this and breaking my heart. What is wrong with people? I’m very sorry for the loss of your comrade. xoxo

  12. I’m so so so sorry for your loss and the world’s loss, Don. It’s hard to believe somebody chose to take a video rather than trying to stop the bleeding but like you said, without training, I don’t know. I’m really sorry. Hugs to you and yours, friend. Love you.

  13. 1jaded1 says:

    I wonder what good Mike would have seen. There seems to be not any positive. It fucking sucks that this happened. I’m so sorry for anyone who has been touched by Mike, and those who never will be. Thank you for sharing this, Don.

  14. JeanMcG says:

    Send your outrage to YouTube who posted the video and it is still there. SICK and DESPICABLE decision by YouTube to keep this video up. God bless this officer, his family, friends and brothers in blue.

  15. Pingback: Reblog: Mike « Apple Pie and Napalm

  16. Jennie says:

    Wow! I echo you words and feelings. Thank you for this post.

  17. Michelle says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s absolutely heartbreaking news. Praying for his family as well as his friends.

  18. I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a horrible tragedy. And yes, it’s surreal when we’ve lost someone and the world has the nerve to just keep going on. This happened to me when I lost my father. And doubly tragic when it happens to someone before their time. I can’t believe someone recorded Officer Langsdorf as he was dying – WTF?? I’d have jumped on him performing first aid and praying like a mother-****er.

  19. Juju says:

    This is so sad. I read this when you first posted it and have been keeping you and your fellow officers in my prayers. I am keeping his family in my prayers.
    This might sound trite and not enough, and I would have to agree. At times like this we all feel so inadequate to do anything. However, the small and mighty forces of love and care really do make a difference.
    Thank you so much for all that you do, that all of our first responders do keep all of us safe(r); for can never be 100% safe.
    May we be reminded that life is short and to make a difference wherever you are and can. One small act of kindness goes a long way in combating the stupid people out there.
    Keep up the good work.
    Juju

  20. David K. M. Klaus says:

    May he always shine in our memories.

  21. Julie says:

    As usual, you’ve touched me like only you can Don.

    What most of the comments before me said, times ten.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart

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