Pubdate: Tue, 08 Mar 2005
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Kirk Stephens
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


It's a tragedy that four RCMP officers who dedicated their lives to helping 
others lost their lives in the line of duty. We all share in the grief 
their loss brings.

Out of this tragedy will come the opportunity to assess the reasons these 
officers' lives were taken, and to make sure that these circumstances are 
never repeated.

Rational thought and reflection must be employed in the weeks and months to 
come. The last thing we need is a knee-jerk reaction that will do more harm 
than good.

The fact remains that a deranged man with hatred for everyone, especially 
police officers, was allowed to live in the community and was somehow able 
to get his hands on a high-powered rifle that he should never have been 
able to obtain in the first place. This obviously dangerous person, who was 
well known to the police and neighbours in the community, was likely to 
shoot at anyone who dared to set foot on his property, or to unleash his 
dogs on them.

Knowing the man's record, their superior officers ordered the four slain 
officers to enter his property, under-armed, under-informed and unprepared 
to deal with what they encountered.

This news story is not about grow-ops. It's about police procedures, as 
well as how we as a society allow dangerous criminals to live unsupervised 
among us.

The proper response is to determine how to make our communities safer, so 
we will never again lose officers under such circumstances. And finally, 
the government must ensure the legalization of marijuana, so that 
production is licensed, regulated and taxed, in the same way as alcohol.

Kirk Stephens,

Red Deer, Alberta 
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