Requiem for a cop
Almost beyond belief, they are gathering again this morning at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul in Philadelphia to offer a final salute to a fallen police officer.
Officer John Pawlowski will be laid to rest, sent to his final resting place by a sea of blue. Law enforcement representatives from across the region will join with their brethren in Philadelphia in a final farwell.
It’s not something you ever get used to, even if the scene has now been repeated again and again in the city. Pawlowski is the seventh officer killed in the line of duty since 2006.
There is a powerful sense of grief and sadness involved in these occasions. But there is something else as well.
The man who thought nothing of gunning down the young cop everyone knew as “Johnny Boy” never thought twice about it. He had been asked to show his hands, which he had stuffed in the pocket of his coat, after officers arrived to a call for a street disturbance. Instead he fired right through the coat, striking Pawlowski just above his bulletproof vest.
The suspect was no stranger to police. He had a long record. That gives him something in common with suspects in other recent fatal encounters with police.
Someone needs to provide an answer to why these thugs continue to be put back on the street.
Maybe solving that judicial question would be the most appropriate legacy for Officer John Pawlowski.