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Alone Among Cops

This was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life: For two hours I was one of maybe a few hundred civilians in one room with 3000 or more policemen, all in their most ceremonial uniforms, with guns and all. The reason for this was the funeral of a APD (Austin Police Department) officer, who had been killed on duty a few days earlier. Somebody involved in the organization of the funeral asked Tish if she would sing a song at the  service, probably because Jaime Padron, the officer killed, was of Mexican-American origin. So Tish agreed and sang Violeta Parra’s song “Gracias a la vida”. It was very surprising, almost disturbing, to see the enormous efforts that everybody was making in order to honor Jaime Padron, that poor police officer (who, by the way, seems to have been a really nice guy).

After the funeral, there was a three miles long parade of police cars going through the whole city of Austin and then on to Padron’s home town San Angelo, with people standing along the streets, waving from bridges etc. It’s hard to imagine even a tenth of that attention and compassion given to a killed police officer in Germany. I guess to most Germans, and that certainly includes me, the death of a policeman on duty is no more (or less) a sad event than, say, the death of a construction worker on site. Nonetheless, overdone as this funeral seemed to me, it was actually touching to see everybody’s reactions to this  tragedy.

Here’s a news article on the funeral, in which Tish is briefly mentioned. She also has a short appearance in the video on that site.

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