I’ve spent countless hours the last three-plus years talking to cops and firefighters at all hours about their complaints, their working conditions and their daily lives. That short text exchange July 7 will be the one conversation that will always stick with me.
A few days after the shooting, a colleague and I walked around the perimeter of the crime scene that was downtown Dallas. We struggled to envision what life would possibly be like now. I wondered the same thing later that day when I sat in the Dallas Police Association office with members of its shell-shocked leadership while they struggled to find meaning in all of it.
But somehow, it wasn’t the tragic loss of five first responders’ lives that defined the second half of my year. It was the possible loss of the pensions of those who remain.