Sadly Accustomed

One policeman shot. One policeman injured.
The first one is dead. The second one is in critical condition.
The policeman who didn’t make it was American. He lived and worked in the quiet community of Reedley, CA.
The policeman who is severely hurt is French. He lived and worked in the town of Epernay, the internationally known capital of Champagne.
The two incidents happened a few days apart. In both cases the American and French policemen were doing their jobs and had the misfortune to meet dangerous men.
I’ve never been to Reedley although it is located less than two hours away from my home but I’m familiar with similar American small towns. When the policeman was shot in Reedley the community came together as Americans do instantly in times of sorrow.
I’ve been to Epernay several times since my husband’s roots are established in Champagne. His mother still lives there. In addition to Avenue de Champagne where the big houses of Champagne sit next to each other, Epernay is a lively town where boutiques of all kinds allow walking distance shopping. True wealth and old France brush against middle class residents but also immigrants and jobless young men who live on the outskirts of town. A foreigner can overlook the clashing mix but any French native can’t fail to notice the possibility of conflict.
After the French policeman was taken to the hospital, cars were burnt in the hills of Epernay in support of the men who threw stones at his face. None of them have been arrested yet.
French media covered the event. However, partly because of the French national disrespect for les flics or the policemen and partly because such incidents happen more and more often everywhere in France, the incident went quickly unnoticed.
In fact, neither my mother-in-law nor my parents and sister have mentioned it to me.
Were they fearful? Maybe. Ashamed? No doubt. Accustomed? Sadly, yes.

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