Telling the truth isn't always easy. Sometimes it's downright hard, actually. Especially when you've screwed up, and screwed up really bad.
You know, like shooting yourself in your bullet-proof vest because you were stupid enough to point your loaded firearm at your own body and pull the trigger.
That's what [allegedly] happened to (soon-to-be former?) Los Angeles School police officer Jeffrey Stenroos this week.
Once he negligently discharged his firearm into his own body, he compounded that stupidity with one of of even more monumental size.
He lied about it. He told police that someone else had shot him, which sparked the largest manhunt in recent Los Angeles history.
Local authorities posted a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter, and over 350 police officers combed a seven square mile area searching for the non-existent shooter while 9,000 students were locked down inside their schools.
Teachers and students alike were not too pleased about that, I'm sure!
Quoting from the story posted on Officer.com:
Los Angeles Police Protective League president Paul Weber said he was "disgusted" to hear about Stenroos' arrest and apologized to the public for his actions.
"His lies set into motion the largest search for a suspect in recent history and inconvenienced thousands of people for hours," the police union president said. "If these allegations are proven true, Mr. Stenroos is now where he belongs, behind bars."
While being negligent and discharging your firearm is NEVER a pleasant experience, lying to police to cover up your own negligence is just not a good plan. In fact it's a very bad plan.
"The law enforcement community is disgusted," Paul M. Weber said in a statement. "While Mr. Stenroos is a disgrace to his badge, his individual and dangerous actions should not reflect on the hardworking men and women in law enforcement."
On top of feeling stupid for shooting himself, and feeling ashamed of his actions that caused such a massive waste of police resources in the manhunt for a bogeyman, Mr. Stenroos has one thing to be very grateful for:
He survived his stupidity.
That's often NOT the case when someone handles a firearm so negligently they shoot themselves, like he did.
I can imagine two things are true for Mr. Stenroos from this point forward. He'll never lie to the police again, and he'll treat firearms with the respect they deserve for the rest of his life.
Something he should have done in the first place.