I guess one of the hardest lessons a young person must learn in life is that life isn’t fair. There are some good people who get the short end of the stick and some bad people who continue to thrive. It’s just the way it is.
The recent saga about former Fulton Police Officer Paul Phillips is riddled with irony. If you are not familiar, here’s the short version from an ajc.com story late last week:
“Phillips had served with Fulton County police for 12 years when he was shot Feb. 1, 2008, by a Duluth police officer, Jay Dailey.
“Police say a drunken Dailey was off duty when he crashed his car in Sugar Hill, then flagged down a woman and asked her to call 911. Moments later Dailey inexplicably went on a rampage, smashing her car window, pepper-spraying her and threatening to kill her, according to police.
“Phillips, driving home from side job, stopped to intervene. Dailey shot him in the left arm. Phillips returned fire, hitting Dailey in the hand.”
Dailey was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Phillips lost the use of the arm and had to retire from law enforcement.
Over the years, TV shows taught us that getting shot in the arm was no big deal. Marshal Dillon never took a sick day when he got shot on “Gunsmoke.” A gulp of whiskey and some TLC from Festus (creepy thought) got him back in the saddle before the next episode.
There was a little bitty hole in his arm, and the next day he was back to what he did best — secretly meeting Miss Kitty after the bar closed.
Bullets now are designed to maximize damage once it hits your tissue. The velocity they travel cause them to spin, bounce, change shapes and destroy everything in their path once they hit something. It’s what they do. Sometimes an entrance wound can be in the shoulder and the exit wound is through the leg.
Phillips took what retirement he had built up with Fulton County and moved on. He had a job with a friend but economic conditions put him in position of losing his home. It was scheduled to go on the auction block March 1.
In the movies, the lender might see the circumstance of this man’s reward for saving that woman’s life and say “OK, let’s work something out. You’re paying half and maybe we can go longer without kicking you out.”
Like with Marshal Dillon, the dramas you see on TV and film often don’t match what plays out in real life. For Phillips and his family, the prospect of losing their home was real.
But this week people who’d read the story or saw it on TV came forward. One was Buckhead businessman Joel Shapiro, who got the family current on their mortgage with a check for $7,408.12, according to the TV story and accompanying video.
Anyway, I started thinking that maybe some other TV people should know about this so I wrote down the website for that show on Sunday nights, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” It comes on with that guy with the funky hair who helps families in similar situations like this.
So please go to the show’s website and take a moment to nominate Paul Phillips and his family. You never know. If they got enough of these, maybe they will take a look.
It would be really, really fine if this happened. But even if not, and you tried, I’m thanking you in advance.
Additionally, friends have set up a fund to help Phillips and his family. “The Officer Paul Phillips Fund” was established at Wells Fargo Bank, 1042 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Suwanee.