Waking up to the news Sunday that three more of our nation’s police officers were gunned down, and several others injured, in Baton Rouge, La. hit me like a sledgehammer to the gut. It should for all Americans. 

In light of recent events in Dallas, where 5 area police officers were killed in an unprovoked mass-killing just over a week ago, the most recent violence seems almost inconceivable. 

Just days ago, thousands of mourners gathered to remember the officers gunned down in Dallas. Politicians, clergy, local leaders, and others from across the political spectrum came together and called for reconciliation, mutual understanding, and peace. 

And then this happened on Sunday.

No longer can the patrolman simply worry about the reported crime itself but rather he or she must approach these events as though they are potentially walking into the next Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Having spent over 18 years in law enforcement, the recent attacks on law enforcement officers cause me understandable grief and concern. But it also raises further questions as to just how the modern-day police officer will be able to cope — and function — in the coming days, weeks, and months. 

Being a police officer is already hard work. It’s dangerous and thankless. For most officers, though, it’s a calling — a desire to serve one’s community. 

But given recent events, what once could be thought of as “routine” in police work must now be considered potentially extraordinary. 

What feelings must resonate within the patrolman who is responding to a call of domestic violence or simple larceny? Am I the next target? Is this really a routine call for service or is it an ambush?

No longer can the patrolman simply worry about the reported crime itself but rather he or she must approach these events as though they are potentially walking into the next Dallas or Baton Rouge. 

And that is no way to function as a police officer. The stress, strain, and uncertainty would be unbearable. 

Officers being ambushed by criminals is nothing new. America saw it up close and personal on December 20, 2014 when NYPD officers Wenjin Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in their patrol vehicle during the height of anti-police sentiment in the wake of the death of Eric Garner. 

But today feels different. 

What we are experiencing right now no longer feels isolated. It no longer feels extraordinary. Sadly, this extreme violence against our men and women in blue is beginning to feel routine.

And that is particularly frightening.

Our society cannot operate — cannot function — when we normalize this type of violence against the very people dedicated and tasked with upholding the rule of law. 

No matter your background, political leanings, or your broader ideology, every single American must collectively stand up and say enough is enough. 

Scott G. Erickson is the Founder and President of Americans in Support of Law Enforcement.