Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 27, 2018

A Tale of Two Cops

Our lives are, essentially, a series of moments that tell our respective stories. As we travel through time each of us leave history in our wake — one moment at a time. Each moment that we live is filled with the potential to do good, to do the right thing, to make a difference. The potential of each moment, however, is unlocked by our choices. And once a moment has come and gone it forever carries with it the imprint of those choices.

The most important and significant moments of our lives seldom present themselves at a convenient time. We rarely receive any warning that our lives are headed toward a moment that will be unlike any other moment we have ever faced — a moment that will present us with an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference beyond the ordinary.

Such a moment presented itself to Deputy Scot Peterson. On February 14, a young man named Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and went on a shooting rampage that claimed the lives of fourteen and injured many others. Peterson, the only armed sheriff’s deputy on the scene, heard the sound of the gunfire and was immediately presented with a moment filled with the potential to do good.

Sadly, for whatever reason, Peterson failed to seize the power of his moment. He failed to move in the direction of those in danger — something that is expected of those sworn to protect the public. Instead, Peterson made a choice to keep a safe distance away. And, because our choices have consequences, people died during those moments. Things might have turned out different had Peterson unlocked the potential of his moment by moving toward those in danger.

On March 23, a French police officer named Arnaud Beltrame was also presented with a moment in which to do good. His moment came when an Islamic gunman entered the Super U Market in the southern French town of Trebes and took hostages. The gunman killed four people and injured fifteen others. Beltrame made a decision to unlock the potential of his moment. He offered himself in exchange for one of the hostages, a store employee named Julie.

Beltrame surrendered his weapon and courageously walked into the store unarmed and gave himself in exchange for Julie. The experienced officer kept his cell phone on, allowing authorities to hear what was happening inside. When the attacker started firing, the authorities rushed in and killed him. Beltrame sustained injuries that led to his death the following day.

And so, we have a tale of two cops, of two men who were presented with an extraordinary moment in which to do good.

Peterson will live a lifetime trying to convince others, and himself, that he made the right choice. Sadly, because of the choice he made to remain a safe distance from those in danger, the world will never look upon him as a hero. That opportunity remains forever locked in the moment that had presented itself to Peterson and will never come again.

Beltrame, on the other hand, willingly moved in the direction of people in danger and lost his life as a result. He knew the risks and accepted them. The French people and the world have already acknowledged him as a hero. Because he unlocked the potential to do good in the moment that presented itself, he helped prevent what might have been an even greater loss of life.

Don’t expect God to check your calendar before presenting you with a moment packed with the potential to do good. Don’t get irritated or walk away and don’t allow fear to keep you from embracing your moment. Instead, be willing to do what needs to be done. After all, you are writing your own story, one moment at a time.


  1. I really enjoyed this Omar. Thank you for reminding us that these opportunities or moments in time can come in the blink of an eye and we need to be ready to step out in the right direction to honor God.

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