(EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth Gonzales wrote the following article for the student newspaper at St. Edwards University in Austin. She graciously allowed the Badge & Gun to reprint it herewith.)
By ELIZABETH GONZALES
I am a proud member of the blue family. For 23 years now, my
dad has walked out of the house every day wearing his uniform
proudly with only one goal in mind: to protect.
My dad, Sgt. Robert Gonzales, has been protecting not only our
family, but the city of Houston for 23 years. I have always lived in
fear for my his life and even more so now.
I make sure to kiss my father every time he leaves the house. I
make sure to always end every phone call with an “I love you”
because I truly do not know if that will be the last goodbye I get
to say to him.
My father and many other law enforcement officers can no longer
walk in uniform without receiving nasty stares, being called
awful names and fearing for their lives in public.
More often than not, police officers are dealing with people who
have broken the law, and I have almost lost my father in the line
On Feb. 15, 2001, my dad clocked a speeding car turning too fast
from a surface street onto a service road and attempted to flag
the driver over. The car was not slowing down, so he walked over,
trying to make eye contact with the driver — briefly taking his
eyes off the exiting traffic.
As he approached the car, another speeding automobile exited the freeway
into the lane occupied by my father and the vehicle he had
stopped for speeding. Trying to avoid a collision, my dad ran to the
left, but the car switched lanes as well.
The car violently hit my dad. He flew onto the roof of the car,
then was thrown onto the hood and slammed onto the pavement,
snapping his pelvis in half.
“As I was put on the board by paramedics, my entire spine
cracked, which scared me. I moved my feet to see if I was paralyzed.
Luckily, I was not. I asked my partner, prior to being loaded,
to pick up my wife and bring her to the hospital,” my father vividly
This long recovery process affected not only him but me. I laid
by his side every night for two months when he was bound to a
hospital bed. Do you know what it is like to suffer from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder? Do you know what it feels like to almost
lose your father?
One of my father’s most gratifying cases occurred on his first
year on the job. A rape victim, who was visibly shaken, was able
to describe the suspect and details of the incident. My father
went to the location and found the suspect along with the weapon
that had been used. My father was able to make the arrest and file
charges for rape.
“I joined (the police force) to help people, but you soon learn
many people do not want your help,” he said. “Officers change
people’s lives without knowing on a daily basis, but we usually
see people at their worst times.”
The rhetoric that has been spread on social media and news
outlets has completely made police out to be the bad guys. My
father believes the emergence of video cameras allows people to
quickly record usually only police officers’ reactions and not the
initial, provocative actions that led to that reaction.
“Now granted, there are or have been those officers who cross
the line, but I have never personally seen it occur in my presence
my entire career,” my father said. “Those officers are not thought
of very highly by our own and usually end up fired and/or jailed.
But by far, those that do are very few.”
My father is my role model, my hero. My father is someone who
I aspire to be like. My father is not the pig or racist, but a loving,
hard-working and selfless man. My father is a public servant. He
lays his life on the line for your life.
Who do you call when you’re in danger? My father. Who do you
call when an emergency happens? My father. Who is there for
you when no one else is? My father.
Although you may spew hate
about my father and the men and women he works with, law enforcement
officers protect you without hesitation.
Before you spew hate, please remember that he is a father, son,
husband and friend before he is an officer. Please remember that
when you spew hate, you are only creating more hate. Please
remember that a handful of officers do not represent the whole
population of officers. Please remember that not only do blue lives
matter, but all lives matter.
For every officer in blue, this one is for you. Thank you for being
brave, courageous and strong, despite what others may think of
Thank you for serving your community. Thank you for giving
your life to others so they can live a life without fear.