“We’ll Take It From Here” (A Funeral For Heroes)

Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officers Tina Griswold, 40; Ronald Owens, 37; Gregory Richards, 42.

Newspapers, web sites, political pundits, bloggers… these are all sources of news.  And while we depend on a mainstream media to deliver us the information we require in stories like this, we are spared the gruesome details. 

I know this will infuriate some, but perhaps we would be able to grasp the enormity of some tragedies like this if we had more information. But only if we process that information and absorb the scope and full impact. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve lost that ability from our collective souls as a society.

But I believe it’s important to know, on this day when the four slain members of the Lakewood, Washington Police department are laid to rest, that even during the final moments of their lives, the final acts of these four souls was to think of protecting and serving others. According to King5 News and the Associated Press:

The owner of the Forza Coffee shop where four Lakewood Police Officers were shot and killed said Officer Greg Richards “shielded” the baristas and customers inside the coffee shop during Sunday’s shooting.Owner Brad Carpenter told KING 5 News, his two employees who were in the store at the time, told him Officer Richards wrestled with Maurice Clemmons and dragged him out of the coffee shop so no one else would be hurt.

Richards, Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold  and Ronald Owens were killed by Clemmons.

To protect and serve was their commitment. And they did no less. To honor them and keep them and their families in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers at this time is not only our obligation, but an honor and a privilege. As a society, we are greatly diminshed by their passing. And we all must step up to fill in that horrible gap left in their absense.

But perhaps the best way to honor them is to renew our commitment as a society to reinstill the values that have been systematically stripped away by the glorification of violence in entertainment and in the rejection of reality in favor of political correctness. We must deal with this or collectively pass into the history books as a society.

This is not the first multiple murder of police officers this year. On March 21st, the city of Oakland, CA also lost four of their own “finest” including  Officer John Hege along with Sargents Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai, all gunned down during what was supposedly a routine traffic stop and during the attempt by the murderer to flee.

The following month, three police officers responding to a domestic abuse call in Pennsylvania were shot to death by a killer who was lying in wait for them. In the blink of an eye, gone were Officers Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III.    And so it goes…

But today is a day all decent people should mourn. The memorial service is being held today in the town of Lakewood, Washington. But the city by the shores of Puget Sound is not the only place the tears will be flowing.

The following video was done as a trubute to the 4 Oakland Policemen, but sadly, its an ideal choice for today’s memorial as well.  

Of note: The singer, performing the standard,  “Amazing Grace” did the unthinkable: He added a bridge to the song that never existed before. But, in my opinion, he did a masterful job and made a great song even more appropriate for the solomn occasion. The song was used in the film Amazing Grace several years ago. The lyrics to the bridge are as follows and seem especially fitting:

My Chains Are Gone
I’ve Been Set Free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood, his mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing Grace

 In honor and memory of the Lakewood Police laid to rest today and to all who have given their lives in the line of duty, thank you… We’ll take it from here. 

Gerry Ashley

Update:  The Lakewood Police Independent Guild is accepting donations for the families of the four slain police officers.  Checks can be made to the LPIG Benevolent Fund and sent to P.O. Box 99579, Lakewood, WA 98499. Donations also can be made online at www.lpig.us.


12 Responses to “We’ll Take It From Here” (A Funeral For Heroes)

  1. Dave B says:

    Gerry: as a cop that has served over 34 years I thank you for your comments and appreciate what you have stated. No need to apologize for anything. Your words are comforting and re-assuring.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Dave – First and formost, THANK YOU for your service.
      Thanks also for your comments.

      I would like to invite you to check the update on this posting. I’ve added a video that was on youtube as a tribute to 4 slain police officers earlier this year in Oakland California. I felt it puts a perspective on this that words cannot alone accomplish. Please take a moment to watch it.

      Again, thank you for your service. Without police, our society would quickly slip into the anarchy of a third-word nation.


  2. Sara Hickman says:

    Dear Gerry,

    Thank you for taking the time and honoring these officers. Thank you for sharing their story of courage and committment to serving innocent people caught in a moment of madness and murder. Thank you for posting the video, the song and your thoughts. I will figure out a way to post this on my FB page. I’m really touched by your thoughtfulness on behalf of these officers and for speaking out about what the violence that has descended upon our world. Bless you, and may this holiday season remind all of us what it means to be full of God’s grace, and for us to find ways to mature as humans, to stop the cruelties we submit upon each others’ souls. With great love and respect, Sara

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’d like to point out to our readers who may not be familiar with Sara that she is an accomplished, award-winning singer, songwriter, activist, public speaker, super mom and so much more… an all-around tremendous person whom I admire and respect tremendously (and have for years). She hails from the Austin, Texas area.

      If I may borrow from her Biography: Not only is Sara musically and artistically gifted, she has a heart of gold. She has been awarded the prestigious Humana Women Helping Women award for her generous time and contributions to such organizations as Safe Place, Habitat for Humanity, House the Homeless, the SPCA, the Race for the Cure, and many other animal and human rights organizations. She was also made an honorary member of the National Association of Music Therapy for her music therapy work.

      She is, in short, what this world needs a lot more of.
      Sara, it would be an honor to have this liked to your FB page.

      I’m proud to call her my friend (and I really need to be in more frequent contact with her).

      I hope this doesn’t embarass her, but if you’d like to learn more about this amazing lady (and it’s worth the time, trust me), I invite you to visit her web site, http://www.sarahickman.com.

  3. Tonny says:

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  4. […] The brutal slaying of four policemen in Lakewood, Washington; Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; Officers Tina Griswold, 40; Ronald Owens, 37; Gregory Richards, 42. […]

  5. V.E.G. says:

    Benjamin L. Kelly is a hero. His hairstyle looks like O. B. Barkley, a cartoonist from Texas!

  6. V.E.G. says:

    Benjamin L. Kelly is eligible for membership of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

  7. V.E.G. says:

    Kelly is a true Irish-American hero! It happened before the Irish Independence Day! Erin Go Braugh!

  8. V.E.G. says:

    Also, Mark Joseph Renninger’s real family name is Heil. Had not changed the name his name would have been Mark Joseph Heil.

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