LA Deputy Claudia Apolinar -- Police Heroism in Compton

A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer’s cap rests on the hood of a patrol vehicle in Los Angeles, Calif. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Last Friday, when we marked the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one thing that did not get enough attention was the sacrifice of the police, firefighters, and other first responders, hundreds of whom were killed that day. First responders is an apt term for them. They are the people who show up. They knowingly charge into the dangers from which most of us flee.

Then on Saturday came the atrocious attempted murder of two Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs in Compton, by an assassin who is still at large. Once again, what is striking is the heroism of the police. It is awesome to see, but it is routine heroism if, like me, you’ve spent lots of time around cops.

One of the deputies who was shot was Claudia Apolinar, a 31-year-old former librarian, the mother of a six-year-old boy and on the job for a year, saved her 24-year-old partner (who has not been publicly identified at this time). Deputy Apolinar had been shot in the jaw area and the upper torso, and was bleeding profusely. Yet, she had the presence of mind, and the courage under circumstances where she could not be sure the attack was over, to lend medical aid — apparently including application of a tourniquet to her fellow deputy.

What do we see on the other side of the equation? A sneak attack on two law-enforcement officers who were simply protecting a community rife with anti-police hostility. More of those precious “peaceful protesters” blocking the entrance to the nearby hospital to make it difficult for ambulances to get through, with some of the “peaceful protesters” chanting, “We hope they die!” And other locals celebrating the deadly ambush of police.

Pure evil.

Miraculously, both deputies reportedly came through surgery well and are expected to survive. If our society cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys, especially after something like this, I’m not sure we ever will.

In the meantime, take some time to think about and commend the valor of Deputy Claudia Apolinar. She is uniquely brave, but it is because of people such as her, still willing to protect and serve no matter how impossible the job of policing is made, that the rest of us can enjoy liberty and prosperity.

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