Pubdate: Tue, 08 Mar 2005
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Kirk Stephens


It is a tragedy that four police officers, who had dedicated their
lives to helping others, have been taken from us. 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 make sure that these
circumstances are never repeated.

Rational thought and reflection must be taken 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 lunatic with a hate on for everyone,
especially cops, was allowed to live among the community and was
somehow able to get his hands on a high-powered rifle that clearly he
should never have been able to possess in the first place.

This criminal was obviously a dangerous person who was well known to
the police and his community.

The lunatic was likely to unleash his dogs or shoot at anyone who
dared to set foot on his property.

Knowing these facts, the four slain officers were ordered by their
superior officers to enter the property unprepared to deal with what
was about to come at them.

This story is not about grow-ops.

It's about police procedures and how we as a society allow dangerous
criminals to live unsupervised among us.

If all that we can do about this tragedy is go out of our way to crack
the skulls of a bunch of pot growers, then we are going to be guilty
of missing the point.

The proper response will be to evaluate how to make our communities
safer by keeping the types of people that would shoot at someone out
of society and how to improve police procedures so never again will we
lose an officer walking into a situation unprepared.

And finally, we must review the legalization of marijuana so that
production is regulated and taxed like alcohol.

Kirk Stephens

Red Deer
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