Letters to the Editor

LETTER: First responders must become even better when confronting atrocities

Dear Editor,

All it takes is a micro-switch on the door and a relay to the lighting controls to make the house lights come on in a theatre when the emergency door is opened. I think clip capacity is a reasonable request of responsible gun owners (maybe 9) because at least intended victims stand a 3-second chance to “move” when a clip has to be replaced even in high velocity assault weapons. In WWII, Germans learned to listen for an empty clip hitting the ground to attack, our men carried an empty clip to toss to make the sound and sometimes that outwitted the enemy on the battlefield.

My current concern is the prevention of copycats. Aurora Police Chief Oates and his officers did their jobs well and acted swiftly not knowing the killer would give up because his weapon failed. The arresting officer had the restraint to not kill the obvious perp on site. Some of us presume we might have given the killer a permanent right to remain silent. But information is abundant to “prove” this case although insanity is what some folks will call evil. Still we might learn something from a killer. The Columbine true confessions known as the “basement tapes” were never made public because there was no killer to take to trial.

Oates has made headlines for restricting information about the preparations of the killer. Yet some of that information also is necessary to try and prevent copycats. It is not enough for officers of the law to know, but not the public, about “red flags” which we are hearing about. Many reports have surfaced from those who wish they had said something to authority when they saw something suspicious. The combined tips might have lead to an intervention. It is a new concept to some in law enforcement to collect and consider synergistic or “compiled meaning” tips from the public. We must.

Our society must evolve towards a reasonable ethic of reporting incidents observed which, individually, might seem odd but collectively, when reported to a “vortexer” or authority on the warning signs of violence, could lead to a court order. Remember Jefferson County, Colorado lied for several years about the search warrant that had been prepared, but not acted upon, for the home of killer Eric Harris prior to the Columbine Massacre.

Chief Oates is not Sheriff Stone. I pray Oates will not consider this observation a criticism. We have to get ahead of the violence when possible. Those trained to react when violence erupts have gotten better since Columbine. That is not good enough.

Steve Schweitzberger
Littleton