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Old 04-22-2012, 13:35   #1
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Coping mechanisms?

Okay, so had a pretty crappy week at work, and with the way things have been going in here, I guess my usual ability to sluff off the BS has been worn down pretty good. All this culminated in a very close friend of mine and I getting into an argument over a video regarding OIS's produced by a PD in Oregon. In the 17+ minute video, there are several dashcam snippets of OIS's.

My friend, a military combat veteran and generally supportive of LE, decided to berate me regarding a 4 or 5 second video that shows an officer shooting what appears to be a guy walking away. He went on to state that "all" cops do things like this, and that 99% of the police officers in the world need to get into a different line of work because "none of them can control their emotions." I tried to explain that while it may look bad, the video has exactly zero audio and is taken completely out of context, but was met with the argument that "obviously something happened off camera that pissed that cop off and he shot the guy in the back in retaliation." I mean, the logic IS inescapable...

Anyway, to my question: what kind of coping mechanisms do you guys use? Working out isn't cutting it for me right now, and obviously this little exchange has me questioning my friends. I have no family or nearby friends to confide in, and those friends I do have that I know I can count on, I don't want to keep bothering with this kind of foolishness.

I thought in light of recent events in LE in general, and this forum, it might be a good idea for some of those who might be willing to share some insight in how we deal with the garbage when you start getting it from all sides.

Sorry if this kind of thing has been posted before, and for the long post.
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Last edited by msu_grad_121; 04-22-2012 at 13:36..
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Old 04-22-2012, 13:55   #2
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Your friend doesn't have a ****ing clue. His ROE was completely different than ours.

I vent here to a couple friends.

Otherwise I try to completely forget about work and play with the kids more. I don't watch / read the news and only listen to music or TV shows I put on the dvr.

If you need to vent send me a pm.

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Old 04-22-2012, 14:00   #3
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Your friend, from a vet here, is a uneducated fool.

Lord knows we are surrounded by them and other who think they can do the job better but refuse to actually do the job.

Over the years, I learned the term "Duck's back." Let it roll off. But when it gets even too much for me, I find that a hearty game of basketball, long walk with the dog or pulling a buttload of weeds from the yard is my mechanism to cope.
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:05   #4
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I'll second (third?) that your friend is a tool on this issue.

As to coping, I usually vent on here, the social thread mostly. If I need to get the hell away from it, I go camping with a small group of close friends, or even just off by myself for a while. I find that, for me, the simplicity in that has a major calming effect. Radios don't go; cells do, but are usually turned off unless needed. I just try to turn everything off, and just lay in a hammock, listening to the wind in the trees.
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:12   #5
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Long walks or hikes relax me. If I go by myself I will think about my problems and work them out. If I walk with my wife I forget about them while we talk.

Working out will help too.

Fishing either from shore or on a kayak helps me.

Working in the yard is nice too. Since we have weather warm enough for tomatoes I try growning those and other veggies.

Our backyard is a disaster because the previous owner left it to get overgrown with weeds so there is plenty for me to do there.

In the end even when my kids is fussy it still beats the hell out of work if things are stressful.

As for stupid people I just don't hang out with them. I don't really hang out with many people when I am away from work. I think I picked that up from my dad. He was always around and didn't have very many friends even though he wasn't in the business. It also doesn't help that the closest non cop friend I have lives over an hour away. The next one is at least two hours away. The next one after that is six hours away. It is nice having family around though. Some are so close it is almost faster for me to walk that to drive.

I work in a town full of stupid people who say stupid things like your friend. I pretty much ignore them. Sure the comments they make bother me but if I let it bother me they win. It's like some of the ignorant people on GT. They are just fools who think they know everything.
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:20   #6
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:32   #7
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Context is a funny thing.

If you ignore the whole "taking over France by the Nazi's thing", the D-Day landings look like an unprovoked invasion of France.

Your friend is clueless on this point, people have blind spots, nobody's perfect, you can't always cut off friends you have a difference of opinion on, even when they're wrong, talking out of their ass.

Look at what makes you guys friends, is there more there that makes the friendship worthwhile? Is this something that wouldn't likely come up again?

First impulse is to dump him as a friend. Not sure that's the right thing to do, maybe a little distance for a bit is needed to get over this, but I'm guessing you let him into your life for a reason, and may provide someone to vent with on other issues.

I have friends on both sides of the political landscape, some pretty far out there. I just don't go there with them, one issue, one mistake, doesn't have to determine/ruin a friendship. There's other aspects to friendship that transcend single issues. Nobody would match you on everything.

Its a call you have to make, if this guy has your back, a good friend for years, may be better to agree to disagree on this. Or maybe more of an acquaintance that you won't miss and should be kicked to the curb.

I'm going to guess that nearly all of your non LEO friends are pretty clueless about anything LEO related, but I think it's probably worthwhile to have additional friends outside LEO ranks in spite of that. Trick is avoiding talking about LEO stuff since its probably a source of irritation to you anyway, answering the same dumb questions all the time...

Regardless, take some time to think about it, don't do anything while you're frustrated over this.


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Old 04-22-2012, 14:35   #8
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I guess what bugs me so much is that this guy is supposed to be my friend, supposed to be on my side. Turns out that I can't even trust him.

I find myself working out more, praying, reading, and watching comedies and listening to music, but it doesn't seem to be working too well. Maybe when I pull the mountain bike out in a couple weeks?
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:41   #9
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Ask your friend if the handful of incidents where soldiers went too far and couldn't "control their emotions" is an accurate representation of 99% of veterans.

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Old 04-22-2012, 14:45   #10
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not to hijack this thread, but i was scanning recent news articles of officer involved shootings from around the country and one can't help but be disappointed by the content of the articles.

it's getting worse every day: the media enables the haters by posting photos of the suspect(s) when they were 12 years old, smiling gleefully on the swingset at the park, quoting family members who have no clue or reject the suspect(s) dark side that resulted in him/her getting shot, and then allowing comments from all the haters who are too stupid to understand what LE does in the first place.

it's enough to drag anyone in LE down over time.

i know you don't know me, but my inbox is always open to vent/chat/cuss/etc.

good luck.
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:50   #11
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dealing with stress comes in many different packages, you need to find what works for you. Let me add that there are topics that can't be discussed without becoming stressed, you need to identify these and avoid talking about then, from what you have said, I would talk to your friend and try and agree that you are too close to his issue to discuss it without becoming emotional so please avoid work issues in the future. MY old dad told me long ago that politics and religion were two topics that you could not win arguments over.
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Old 04-22-2012, 15:21   #12
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1. I bet that video is the one where the other officer's dashcam shows the BG with pistol in hand walking toward his victim, and ignoring commands to stop and drop the gun. The cop DID "shoot him in the back", but once you see the other video, you immediately realize that it was a good shoot.

2. I'm slowly turning my back yard into a food forest/ Garden of Eden/ tropical getaway. I've got a pool, chickens, banana plants, papayas, pineapples, flowers, vines, and veggi beds. My next mini-goal is two coconut palms, installed, with a hammack!

You often hear that this is "a calling" not "a job", etc, BUT you have to seperate your cop life and your real life. EMOTIONALLY, you have to leave work at work, so to speak or it will burn you out rather quickly.

Sorry about your friend. I have very few, and I never have enough time for the friends and family that I do have. People gotta be pretty special to get a piece of my time!

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Old 04-22-2012, 15:37   #13
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I remember very well near the end of my academy, the instructors did a block on what to expect as we went on in our career. One told us that friends who we had known for years were going to fade away. Not just because of the hours and schedules, but because of how your world view would change and they would not relate to how we see things.

I have found this to be very true. This seems to be a friend who you need to let fade away.

I try to work out every day to burn off steam. I also get out and enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, swimming and just about anything outdoors. Spending time with the kids and family are very important these days. I'm now beginning to enjoy yardwork which I never thought I would.

I also learned to put away the 24 hour a day cop. A couple cop shows are my guilty pleasure but I don't watch Cops or anything else like that and to the displeasure of some of my higher ups, I often won't even look at my cellphone on my off days.
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Old 04-22-2012, 16:00   #14
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I'm sure you already know this but I'll say it anyway: Don't drink, the alcohol will make it worse. My suggestion is to immerse yourself in something for a bit where your mind can wander, some people walk others talk some clean some clean firearms. Just an idle activity you've done a lot so your muscle memory does it automatically but your mind doesn't have to be completely there.
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Old 04-22-2012, 16:40   #15
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I usually cope by venting to my wife, venting here on the forums, or venting to a good friend I have, who is not an LEO but two of his sons are.

Working out can help. As others have said, yardwork helps me work off my frustrations. I have a big yard with a lot of grass, and a couple hours of lawn mowing with my dog running around the yard works wonders.

Other times a trip to the range can help me out tremendously. Usually I will hit the diner for breakfast with the friend mentioned above, and then off to the indoor pistol range where I am a member. I see the same guys who work there who I have become friendly with. They are super cool and are always happy to see me. Then 200 or so rounds downrange to blow off steam, the trip home followed by an afternoon of gun cleaning and I am usually good to go until next time.

I may be speaking out of line here, Brother, but it doesn't sound as if this friend is worth your time and effort. We spend enough of our careers fighting people, and I don't mean physically fighting every day, but fighting people in our minds. Then we fight the admins at work as well. We don't need to fight with people we are supposed to be friends with, especially over cop related issues. Your friend should respect your feelings on the issue and leave it at that, even if he doesn't agree. I have a ton of acquaintances, but very few friends, if you know what I mean. I don't let many people into my inner circle, and there is a reason for it.

Good luck and God Bless.
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Old 04-22-2012, 16:44   #16
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My "friends" know better than to make stupid comments. Once, I could put up with. Maybe twice. But to make glittering generalizations like that, and not come off of them? I don't think I'd be friends with him for very long.

I immerse myself in my family. Almost every bit of my time outside of work is spent with my wife and kids. We do everything possible together. We fish, hunt, go shooting, work on/around the house, everything together. Those are the people I trust to be behind me 100%. They, along with a one or two very good close friends, are my support network.

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Old 04-22-2012, 17:02   #17
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Originally Posted by m2hmghb View Post
...Don't drink, the alcohol will make it worse...
Okay, now you're just talking crazy.

Seriously though, thanks for all the replies and ideas. I'm definitely going to try a few new things. Please, keep em coming.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is going to be the end of a friendship or just a bump in the road, but no matter what, obviously he and I are going to have to have a long talk about this and come to some understanding. If that understanding is that we can't be friends, then so be it, I guess.

I remember when I first got into LE work, my father telling me that cops only seem to have cop friends. Granted, it's a broad generalization, but now a good few years on, I can understand why. Even if all that's there is a mutual understanding that no one discusses work, that's more consideration than the average person seems to give us. I really try not to have only one type of friend, but yeah, maybe this one just isn't worth my time. We'll see...

In the meantime, please, any more suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks, everyone!
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Old 04-22-2012, 17:31   #18
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Well, definitely as others have said, DO NOT use alcohol as an excuse.

Also, with friends, you can set boundaries. Explain why you want those boundaries set. If they don't accept that, then were they really real friends? Then, you need to step back and evaluate.
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Old 04-22-2012, 18:26   #19
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I shoot. There's no room for distractions when you're on the range. It safety, string of fire, marksmanship; that's the whole world at that moment. I'm sure you can find something that requires your whole attention. If it pulls you into "the zone", so much the better.

Oh-and your friend, no matter how smart and accomplished he is, is ignorant on this matter. You might remind him that expertise in one area doesn't confer credentials in another. Yeah, I'm a veteran.
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Old 04-22-2012, 19:21   #20
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I might isolate myself on here for the following comment, but when working out isn't enough I pray and read my Bible. It might not be for everyone, but I find peace and answers there.

As for your friend, if he is a a trigger puller then he should know that action beats reaction and that a person can be a threat even with their backs turned. Not all vets are combat arms or have ever been in a fire fight, so they might understand the dynamics of that type of situation.

With that being said, I'm not a LEO yet and I'm relying strictly on the stressful situations I found myself in while in the military.

Hopefully everything works out well between you and your friend!

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