Okay, it's not like this is the first time a police officer has been involved in a violent crime, and okay, maybe we can rationalize this outrageous, and horrifying event by noting what a rare occurrence it is to see members of law enforcement committing homicides. Oh, and yes, maybe it's completely inappropriate to talk about ready access to firearms of all kinds, especially when we're talking about police. But, what does the police manual, in Crandon, Wisconsin, say about carrying a weapon when off duty? Yes, of course, this appears to have been a crime of passion, so one wouldn't expect the deputy sheriff to consult his manual beforehand.
That said, there appears to be far greater leniency with respect to the carrying, and use, of weapons by members of law enforcement in this country than is desirable.
Interestingly, as you know, police officers in Great Britain don't carry guns, and that country has a much lower incidence of violent crime.
There are many who will use the "rotten apple" argument iin defense of America's law enforcement, and say that police departments needn't bother taking a closer look at the way they train their recruits with respect to when, where, how, and why they discharge their weapons, tear gas, and tasers. Maybe they're right. The commission of a crime like this by a police officer is clearly an anomaly, but we, as a society, can no more afford complacency, and apathy, when it comes to the actions of those we entrust with enforcing our laws than with those we elect to higher office.
But, what does this have to do with a clearly deranged young man who, possibly after what may have been little more than a lover's quarrel, does in his girlfriend, and her whole family? Simply this, when we are bombarded with news accounts of soldiers gunning down innocent Iraqi citizens, of Los Angelenos being tear gassed for speaking out against draconian measures targeting illegal immigrants, of riot police routinely making their presence felt at anti-war protest rallies, of youngsters being tasered, whether they be students at a college in South Florida, or young men of color in our nation's inner cities, how can any reasonable person possibly expect anyone who has access to a gun not to model the kind of obscene, irrational behavior that destroyed the lives of six, and will force the state attorney general of Wisconsin to consider what the evaluation process is, and how it is this 20 year old got to be a member of a sheriff's department in the first place. Hopefully, too, the attorney general will place more restrictions on the use of deadly force by the police on the police, or on any human being. Deadly face is no substitute for due process.
While one often thinks of Charleton Heston when thinking about the NRA, in this age of the cowboy, any gun-toting madman will do just as well..
This officer who fired his gun, and took the lives of six isn't the only poster child for the NRA; each of his victims is, too.