Brian Moore should have been down the street watching the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight with the rest of the neighborhood guys Saturday night. Many 25-year-old Long Islanders got to do that.
Instead, Brian and his partner spent the afternoon patrolling the streets in Queens Village, as plainclothes officers. And by the time the boxing match started, the five-year veteran of the NYPD was fighting for his life after he was shot in the face.
Brian, who died Monday, has been on the perimeter of my life and so many of my friends and family for two decades. He was one of my brother's first friends at Eastplain Elementary School when we moved to Massapequa, grew up nearby and worked the counter at Pappalardo's Pizza Cove.StorySchool official: Moore 'wanted to make a difference'EditorialEditorial: Remember the dangers cops faceCartoonDavies' latest cartoon: The birthers return
To all of us, he will always be "B-Moore" -- part of a pack of scrawny, freckled Long Island kids with unlimited energy who spent summers shooting hoops and playing kickball, followed by rounds of video games at night.
Being a cop was what he wanted to do, and anyone who knew him would tell you it was his calling. Not only because he had deep family roots in law enforcement, but because he was so good-hearted and levelheaded.
In a quiet, no-nonsense way, he always stood up for others. My brother's reaction when we heard Brian had been shot Saturday night was how his friend had come to his defense in a playground fight years ago, how he was the voice of reason and managed to calm down rowdy boys. That was Brian -- friends with everyone.
That was the overwhelming reaction in our community, too, as our Facebook feeds became inundated with stories about Brian. "Always smiling." "Never complaining." "He told me everything would be ok." It's an endless digital scroll of testaments to his character. The online videos of him smiling and enjoying life are both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Some of us have become so numb to the violence between cops and communities that when the breaking news alert flashed across the TV screen Saturday night, it barely registered. Then the text messages started flooding in with rumors that we knew the then-seriously injured cop. It's an entirely far-worse numbness now that the violence has reached our backyards.
The explosive chaos of Ferguson and Baltimore had seemed so far away. The debate has become so riddled with generalizations that it's easy to forget that it's good guys like Brian who work on the front lines.
Brian, who defended my brother on the school playground and who protected Queens Village on Saturday night.
A neighbor, like mine.
Amanda Fiscina is a online producer for Newsday Opinion.