One year later, and it still hurts
After 366 days, the hurt, the pain and the sadness of having two Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies murdered while answering a call for service hasn't gone away.
Do we feel any less hurt, pain, sadness than we did following the events of Feb. 10, 2016?
In this space a year ago, we suggested it would indeed take time to heal, and that the hurt our county experienced from the deaths of Senior Deputy Patrick Daily and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon might never go away. Not in a year, certainly.
Here's part of what we wrote then:
Harford County didn't lose two of its heroes last Wednesday. The two deputies, who were heroes to their families and their communities, weren't lost, they were senselessly ripped away from all of us.
Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon were gunned down as they answered a call about an individual in a busy Panera Bread restaurant in Abingdon during the lunch rush.
Since then, Harford County has been mourning as we grasp for ways to express our grief and to let the families of the two senior deputies know they are not alone in this tragedy.
Their families' losses are real. Their lives have changed forever. They will no longer have their father, or their husband, or their brother, or their son or their best friend.
For the rest of us, the losses are just as real. As Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman pointed out last week, we have "lost our innocence."
The slayings of the two men, sworn to protect us all, in the middle of the busiest time of day for a popular restaurant in the heart of our county, was the final, seismic step in Harford's transformation.
This shocking crime means Harford County can no longer be viewed as a quiet, safe place immune to the violence that has shattered so many other places across the country.
This isn't a city vs. country issue, nor is it a gun control vs. a Second Amendment issue. No, this is just the blaring news of what Harford County has become – a place no less dangerous than anywhere else.
When this kind of violence can erupt how and where it did, and two of our beloved public servants can be murdered in a place where thousands of us grab a bite to eat each week, Harford County is no longer a safe haven.
The sobering reality of last Wednesday is that no matter who we are, or where we are, there might come a time when we need to be protected. And those dedicated to protecting us, can't always do so.
In today's edition of The Aegis, we hope you'll be able to gain an appreciation of how some members of the Dailey and Logsdon families – Senior Deputy Dailey's two sons and his fiancee and Deputy First Class Logsdon's widow – have tried cope with and move forward from the sudden deaths of their two loved ones, men who were killed in service to their community – men whose job was protect all of us from harm.
Despite the sadness, the unbelievable heartache, these are very inspiring stories on many levels, not the least being that both deputies were outstanding individuals who imparted strong values and much love to those closest to them.
When seen through those eyes, these men were fathers, friends, partners and providers. And, yes, though they both took an oath to protect and serve and well knew the dangers of their job, it still doesn't make what happened to them any easier to accept.
Is our community stronger today? Certainly it's more aware of the dangers and sacrifices that go with serving in law enforcement.
Again, returning to a year ago, we wrote:
The thing about Harford County, and what this tragedy has shown again, is this is still a great community, full of great people, who won't let this horrible episode keep us from living our lives.
Our unconditional love and support that we have shown for the two fallen senior deputies comes not from whether we knew them because, if we didn't, we know and love people just like them. Having them stolen from us, reminds us all that, except for fate, our loved ones could've just as easily been taken from us.
Time, so the saying goes, heals all wounds. That cliche will be sorely tested this week as we say goodbye first to Senior Deputy Dailey, and then to DFC Logsdon.
If that saying ultimately proves true, we're sure it's going to be quite a long while before these wounds heal. As for our lost innocence, it's gone forever.
And, yes, it still hurts.