From the Cop and Soldier side: Looking back over 30 plus years of police work and army work, I realized that most of that time things that were abnormal became normal. Or, we could say that “normal becomes transient, depending on the time, events and what humans can tolerate.”
I think my first exposure to abnormal was when I joined the US Army. I mean it shouldn’t be normal for 40 adult men to sleep in the same room. Nor should it be normal much of the other stuff we did. I made it through basic training and A.I.T. (Advanced Individual Training) and was shipped to West Berlin, Germany. Now nothing about that was normal. We were in the middle of communist East Germany with 20 Soviet army divisions around us. Nothing normal there.
And police work is really nothing like you see on TV and the movies…but it got to where I thought it was normal for people to get drunk and beat the hell out of each other or crash their cars into light poles. Other normal events in law were ---often arresting the same people over and over again. I mean I could remember the dates of births for the bad guys better than my own kids. I just got used to filling all that info on the arrest forms. Nothing normal there.
Then the California Army National Guard. On easy weekends we’d go “camping in the woods and get up and eat MREs.” On rough days we’d go to floods, fires, earthquakes and riots. It was funny how quickly I learned to adopt to any abnormal situation.
Then the deployments to Bosnia and Iraq. I remember one time in Bosnia when I asked a local citizen of something was “normal.” She responded with: “What’s normal anymore?”
I mean in Bosnia they managed to kill hundreds of thousands of their neighbors and former friends. Blow up homes and businesses, set out over 100,000 land mines and pretty much destroy one of the most beautiful places in the world! Nothing normal there.
Then going to Iraq. Absolutely nothing we did at any time there was what most folks in the US would consider normal. First of all, everywhere we went, we had to be armed. We couldn’t even drive anywhere with less than 3 armored vehicles , lots of troops with guns and crew served guns on top. It was a place where gun fire became normal…hearing of 2-6 soldiers getting killed each day became normal. Yep, nothing normal there.