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"Tragically, the murderous, the insane, the desperate, and the cowardly will continue to kill police officers in America - as long as there are cops, there will be cop-killers. But while violent men and women walk the streets with weapons, just looking to center their sights on a shiny badge, we must tirelessly make it harder for them to pull the trigger. It is up to us, the thinking, feeling, caring masses to put the squeeze on the insidiously dangerous minority that slays our police officers. We cannot depend upon politicians to do it, because they do not have the time to devote to this issue, nor do many of them have the interest. We cannot depend up on police departments to do it, because they have us to protect. We, on the other hand, have no one to protect, but our protectors."

-Excerpted from "For a Tin Star" written by Gabriel Nathan '02.

Muhlenberg senior's dedication to fallen police officers results in dramatic book Photo of Gabriel Nathan '02 Gabriel Nathan '02
B Y    J E N N I F E R    E P T I N G    '03

0ther than the few pictures of police officers on the wall of his apartment and the calendar from the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial, one might not suspect the intimate relationship Gabriel Nathan has with law enforcement. He could pass for a cop's son, or perhaps a college student aspiring to move into the police force after graduation.

But taking a second glance, one might notice the two pins he wears religiously over his heart, one honoring the late Daniel Faulkner, and the other paying tribute to the other 15,000 police officers who have died on the job.

This Muhlenberg senior's commitment to the families of slain officers resulted in the recent publishing of his book, "For a Tin Star." Throughout his 100-page book, Nathan tells the stories of Daniel Faulkner and Jose Ortiz, two officers who were killed on the job, though in very different circumstances. He also goes to great lengths to describe the grieving process the widows of police officers must go through.

"At many points during the process that took about two years, I doubted very highly that it would ever happen," he said. "A lot of time went into this, research, energy, tears, and money, but I have to say I'm very proud of the finished product."

Nathan's interest in the subject of slain police officers began in high school when he saw an episode of 20/20 in which a police officer was murdered on the side of a road during a routine traffic violation. Car after car passed by the scene, yet no one stopped to help the officer, who eventually bled to death. This scene struck Nathan, and motivated him to become an advocate for the families of slain police officers.

"I couldn't turn away from this," he said. "I couldn't look away; it didn't feel right. I can be a bit fanatical, however I'm of the opinion that fanaticism can be positive if used correctly. I think there is a certain kind of fanaticism that made me pick up the pen to write this book. By the same token, I write about fanatics who picked up a gun and ambushed police officers out of some kind of revolutionary idealism."

It is precisely this revolutionary idealism that Nathan began to fight back in his sophomore year of high school. He chose the subject of slain police officers for a school project that year, and hasn't looked back since.

"It turned into editorials in the paper and articles here and there," he said. "I also brought the subject into projects for other classes to try to increase public awareness on this topic. I kept on because I thought, if I didn't know this existed, I'm sure other people don't as well. I guess publishing a book was the next logical step for me."

The book was published through Turner Publishing, a company that has published other law enforcement material. The forward for the book is written by police widow Maureen Faulkner, whose late husband Nathan writes about in his book.

"I was astounded," Nathan said. "I got a call from her and she said that she really liked the book. I popped the question about writing the forward, and she agreed on the spot. It's a beautiful forward."

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