Good afternoon, Netizens...
You probably should read Shawn Vestal's piece on the police-involved shooting at Northwest Boulevard and Monroe which is http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/nov/24/to-police-officers-who-answer-the-call-thank-you/ to gain a different view of the perennial the police versus us contention that always seems to be present in our discourse. Then, read the story about three police officers who, in my opinion, went beyond the call of duty early this morning to rescue a suicidal man who wanted to jump off the Maple Street Bridge here http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/nov/24/suicidal-man-rescued-maple-st-bridge-pedestrian-ca/.
I just got off the phone with Shawn and in retrospect, I cannot help but remember one of the oldest lessons I learned as a young man growing up on my own in a harsh world. You cannot, history has taught me, judge a man until you have walked in his shoes.
I have never shot at a person. Had I done so, through years of having maintained good marksmanship through constant practice, I am relatively certain I would hit my target and thus take a human life, something I also am completely opposed to ever doing. But if it ever became necessary for me to do so to protect an innocent life, I could do so without a second's thought.
However, to routinely strap on a weapon and be emotionally prepared to do that every day, to subconsciously keep in mind I might not be coming home that night because of a mentally-ill man with a shotgun, NO WAY. I reserve my deepest respect for those who can and do.