By Jenny Paulson / Southern Colorado Independent Magazine

Instead of using his gun to shoot the armed 17 year old, a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy stunned him. The battle didn’t end well in Early February for the deputy or the kid. And in Colorado we have two new faces all over the news. The story is sad indeed – a deputy, a husband and father on his final days of life support, donating his organs so others will live.

And a teenager is facing a lifetime in prison for killing him.
Here’s a sample headline from today’s news – Austin Patrick Holzer, 17, of Grand Junction, fled the scene after he shot Deputy Derek Geer before being arrested
Any officer involved shooting has become a touchy subject since the police accountability movement gained steam since Ferguson. Anytime there is an officer involved shooting these days the nation tends to knee jerk with criticism often before full facts are released sometimes. But how does society digest Colorado’s most recent shooting of an officer who could have used deadly force and chose not to in his split second decision making that lead to his death.
Surely Geer’s considered a fallen hero but he’d have had his life if he’d shot.
Law enforcement officers are trained to kill in the face of a deadly weapon being aimed at them. Had he followed protocol, which I believe most officers would have in his situation, the headlines would have blared that a deputy was put on temporary leave during the investigation of an officer involved shooting. Had Geer used his gun, the story would have been very different and a sample headline would have read like this – Sheriff’s deputy being investigated in officer involved shooting, 17 year old Austin Patrick Holzer pronounced dead.
The story would have blasted all over the news and police accountability activists would have attacked him to millions in the social media for protecting himself, interpreted to them as killing another citizen. And even after his name was cleared, it would always be tainted in a way, remembered at least in his town.
Had Geer used his gun, the deputy would have had to live his life with the guilt of killing a teenager, even if it was justified. And my guess is he would have relived the incident in his mind often second guessing himself for the rest of his life.
But he would be a hero to the most important people in his life, his wife and children who would be grateful that he was home alive.
My son came to life almost twelve years ago at the same hospital where Geer is taking his final breaths – St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, two years before we moved to Pueblo. I can picture the emergency room entrance I used to drive past almost daily, not far from our house, and I can’t even begin to imagine how somber the mood must be as the deputy is about to be taken off of life support, with his wife and two children, ages 11 and 13 nearby.
They say the good die young. But try to convince his family of that. Or the family of another fallen officer closer to home.
In Colorado Springs recently, we lost a police officer who was so brave that he was one of the first to enter the Planned Parenthood building to rescue lives at the mercy of a mass shooter. Garrett Swazey became a household name to us in Southern Colorado in early December. Many of us watched live as the story unfolded and it wasn’t until finally the gunman was captured that news reporters somberly aired that an officer had fallen.
And we were grief struck. Even in Pueblo where a young Mexican immigrant Christiana Reyes, whom I met through social media as I reported on the news myself, was bound and determined to show Colorado Springs support by having a candlelight vigil. I coached her in the organization of the event and we joined in a magical night on the Riverwalk, where snow fell and Christmas lights backed a small church group led by a humble local Pastor Rob Hernandez.
One could feel God’s presence as the pastor, a chaplain with the Pueblo Police Department and a volunteer firefighter, thanked law enforcement for often putting their lives at stake for us here in Pueblo as well which three tv stations aired. I watched a young teary eyed reporter from Channel 11 interview the pastor and tell him it was a night she wouldn’t forget, small, touching and heart felt, where the cold couldn’t even keep God’s people from prayers for the families of the officers and two others that devastated Colorado Springs.
Swazey and Geer were both Christians, raising their families with values and morals so often missing in today’s world. Heroes for being too good. I’m sure God is crowning them both in Heaven, where their families will meet them again one day. The losses of such good men have softened the public opinion of law enforcement it seems. Even police officers in Pueblo since Swazey died have said that it seems that the public, often so critical, has lightened up more lately, and say they’ve had citizens express more gratitude for their service.
When fellow officers read the news of another fallen man or woman in blue, it hits too close to home. I read a post by a Pueblo Police officer the day the Colorado Springs officer died and studied the pictures of him and his son, wearing his oversized police jacket smiling at daddy like he was a hero, not knowing what his dad knew and said in a post. “It could happen to me.” I ran into the cop just the other day and chatted about the weather, just as I would another friend and I’m guessing that our officers want to feel liked and appreciated and a part of our community, not resented.
So we pause once again with more prayers and vigils for the latest fallen law enforcement officer and pay tribute to those who leave their families each day not knowing for sure if they’ll return home. I found a song on YouTube called City Soldiers that I posted as a tribute to Swazey and sadly will post again for Geer, with the words of the song her and a link below. If you listen, likely you might tear up…
The alarm goes off
They start their day
Not knowing whats in store
Kiss the kids on the cheek
Just like they did
The day before
Put their uniforms on
Say a prayer that they’ll make it
Go to work and protect
And serve us all
They are heroes
There a war going on on the other side of the world
God bless our soldiers as they fight
Here at home there’s a war
Every day and every night
That our City Soldiers have to fight
I think God for all our City Soldiers
They enforce the laws that keep us safe
Whenever we call
Put themselves in harms way
Knowing they could fall
Keep the drugs off the street
Help keep our children clean
They put their lives on the line
They are the bravest people I’ve ever seen
She makes his lunch and kisses him goodbye
Like the day before
Says I love you baby don’t you cry
As he walks out the door
She gets a call on the phone later on that night
He won’t be kissing the kids on the cheeks again
He won’t be coming home
CitySoldiers on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UVa0ou0Lqk

Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.

About Jenny Paulson 83 Articles

Southern Colorado Independent Magazine publisher Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO ten years.