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The Worst Thing That Could Happen

Like others passionate about a calling, what launched me into this mission was not just one event. Some things impacted me more than others. One of the most significant was the death of Dallas Police officer John Glenn Chase on Saturday, January 23rd, 1988. We lived in Texas then.

Chase had stopped a driver for a traffic violation in downtown Dallas when an antagonist pulled him into a side confrontation, then got control of his .44 magnum revolver. As young officer Chase begged for his life, people came out of a nearby McDonald’s yelling for the antagonist to “shoot him”. After he shot Officer Chase in the head, some yelled for him to “shoot him again.” He did.

Others sat in McDonalds, drove past or walked by without intervening. The thug killed him in front of a crowd of indifferent and unwilling witnesses. The senselessness of that scene has stuck with me for 33 years.

The next day our pastor (Glen Roachelle) told us, “Men! If you see something like that happening, the worst thing that could happen to you if you intervene, is that you will die.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'THINK ABOUT IT DALLAS POLICE OFFICER JOHN GLENN CHASE. END OF WATCH: 1/23/1988 Photo retrieved from Officer Down Memorial Page'

8 years later I walked into a scene where an angry gunman with alleged explosives was holding 2 women at gunpoint in our ministry while ordering everyone else out of the building.

What I am about to disclose, is something I’ve never stated publicly. Standing there watching a determined gunman and terrified hostages was the scariest moment I had ever encountered at that time. It was not bravery, chivalry or training that kept me from leaving. It was the memory of John Chase and a pastor’s words, “… the worst thing that could happen…”

That is why, when everyone but the hostages and I were gone and the gunman ordered me out at gunpoint, I said the scariest thing I had ever said, “I can’t do that.” It got scarier from there.

 

Think About it:

That day, more than anything else, changed my life. Now I want to challenge it forward.

If the day comes that you see someone in desperation, the worst thing that could happen is that you might die helping. Would that be worse than living with the memory of being indifferent or unwilling?

If you die trying to help the innocent, we will ask your church to name a conference room after you.

 

Comments (8)

From what I read in the scriptures that might be the best thing for us! I kind of think we might hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Thanks for sharing your life with us Carl! You are a weekly encouragement to me and my SafetyTeam!
Pastor/Chaplain Bud

Thank you Bud — and yes, what a mighty God we serve.The Great Shepherd.

Well done; well said good and faithful servant. Jim Floyd

Thank you Jim, and thank God for our men & women in blue!

And so, the memory of Officer Chase has just experienced the ripple effect! His death and the pastor’s words challenged, inspired, and affected you, Carl. Now your sharing this most personal moment with us has now challenged inspired and affected me and no doubt countless others. While I won’t go looking to lose my life while serving to protect my church flock, I’ll certainly be thinking, “what’s the worst that could happen?” And I’ll be sharing this with my team! Thank you for sharing and keep up your great work! Steve Burden

That was the effect I hoped for — Chase’s story should motivate many to step up.

Thank you for sharing. I couldn’t recall what happened to the two girls so I read the news articles on this. So grateful all were released unharmed, yourself included. I would love to hear more details about this another time. Thank you for offering up your words, lessons, and guidance from real life events.

Thank you Lori. I realized, with your comment, that it has been years since I wrote or spoke in depth of the details of that incident. It was the day that truly changed my life’s course. But so much has happened since, and there is so much work yet to be done in this space, that it seems so far in the rearview mirror. It was 25 years ago this May. I may do a “Think About It” just on that incident.

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