130431835376850670What the gunman didn’t know when he burst into the classroom, weapon drawn and aimed, was that a veteran cop happened to be sitting next to the door. As part of a two-man “salt-and-pepper” team—white cop and black cop—I had patrolled the ghettos of Miami, Florida, for four years before returning to my home state of Oklahoma to become a Tulsa police officer. The roughest districts in Miami were what are now called the Overtown District and Liberty City, where three days of rioting resulted in death and destruction. (I’ve written a previous narrative in this series on the subject.)

I had been shot at and stabbed—such activity having a way of honing your survival instincts to an edge. No matter, I was still required to attend the Tulsa Police Academy before being let loose on the public again.

Which brings me back to the poor guy brandishing the gun at the instructor up front. Scruffy little dude, ranting and threatening like he was about to squeeze the trigger. “You’ve been messin’ with my wife!”

Operating strictly on a cop’s instinct, I launched from my desk, disarmed him, slammed him on the floor, and had his own gun stuck in his ear by the time the startled police academy instructor had time to react.

“No! No!” he shouted. “It’s not real!”

The gunman was actually a vice cop playing out a scenario in which he was supposed to run into the room, “shoot” the instructor, and then immediately flee. The lesson being taught the rookie cadets was how rapidly a crime occurs and how difficult it is for witnesses to describe a suspect after such a brief encounter.

“Oh,” I said, letting the poor vice cop scramble to his feet. “Let’s see, he’s about five-ten, twenty-five years old, brown hair, scruffy mustache, and he looks awfully pale. . .”

“You are exactly right about what is happening to our society,” a reader notes. “I just didn’t expect it was happening so fast.”  The comment is on A Thousand Years of Darkness by Charles W. Sasser. What if the President of the United States was trying to topple the nation and you found out about it?  Available in paperback at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Also available in ebook  for Kindle, Nook, and KOBO.