The killing in Massey yesterday of a New Zealand Police officer is a devastating event, most particularly for the officer's family and friends.
We are only fortunate in that this is a relatively rare occurrence compared with overseas territories. It has been 11 years since a police officer was killed in the line of duty in New Zealand. Senior Constable Len Snee was shot dead by gunman Jan Molenaar in Napier in May 2009.
There will be some who will cite this tragedy to call for more weapons to be provided to police officers, or to criticise the Government's weapons buy-back scheme. These discussions are important and will be held in coming days.
Similarly, what exactly took place before during and after what was a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive will come out in the fullness of several inquiries.
Today, we mourn an officer who did not return home after a shift, we grieve for the people who received the most unwanted visit from the officer's superiors, and reflect on a community stunned and shamed for what took place there.
Today, our entire nation should take pause to consider the loss of a person who volunteered to walk towards danger for their fellow citizens. There can be no greater sacrifice and we should be sincere and generous with our gratitude.
Police officers, none more so than this officer, are us.