Ain’t found a way to kill me yet,
Eyes burn with stinging sweat,
Seems every path leads me to nowhere.
Wife and kids household pet,
(Working the street was no safe bet),
The bullets scream to me from somewhere.
Here they come to snuff the rooster,
Yeah here come the rooster,
You know he ain’t gonna die,
No, no, no, ya know he ain’t gonna die.
Alice In Chains – Rooster
Twenty-seven years ago today, one week on the job, I was shot. The bullet went in my back, through my lung and exited my chest. Most of the blood stayed in my chest cavity and collapsed my lungs. I experienced what is known in trauma medicine as a “sucking chest wound”. That term is very accurate – it sucked. This is what leaked out, haha, if you can’t laugh at yourself, well….
The ambulance chasing attorneys were at my hospital room begging me to let them file a claim on my behalf. They told me that they would make me rich. I flat declined. I had no money but wasn’t seeking it. All I wanted was to be an ATF Agent.
ATF Agents, most notably Lee Mellor and Larry Thomason saved my life that day. I was placed under the care of Trauma Surgeon Dr. Richard Carmona who later become the United States Surgeon General. They are each great men and have been great mentors for me throughout my adult life.
I returned to work before I was medically cleared to do so. All I wanted was to be an ATF Agent.
Ultimately I made the right choice to decline the money. My career was a rollercoaster ride that very few in life are ever allowed to enjoy – excitement, challenge, danger – but mostly the people and friendships. I was blessed with opportunity and surrounded by some of the most brilliant and courageous lawmen and women our country has ever known.
Thank you to all those people – partners, peers and friends. You made my life so wonderful.
My last few years on the job were less than ideal but, I would never give up what I had for where I am. The experience of being on the cutting edge of attacking violent crime to serve the good and innocent people of America was worth every bit of what ultimately took place.
Knowing what I know now, I would do it all over again. If I was a young man I would raise my hand and dive in right back in. The recent heartaches will never outweigh the overall experience.
To all the good and honest and hard-working, brave people at ATF – it was my honor to serve alongside you and be a small part of what we were trying to accomplish.
All I wanted was to be an ATF Agent.