Friday, December 4, 2009

The cold-blooded, execution-style shooting deaths of four Lakewood police officers in the state of Washington is a horrific event that is having a devastating impact on the victims’ families, colleagues, friends and the community at large (“Huckabee presidential hopes hurt by slayings,” Page 1, Tuesday).

In the prime of their lives, these officers apparently were targeted simply because they were identified as uniformed police officers. With a combined 47 years of experience and eight children among them, they were all parents and leave behind grieving families and children who will be unable to comprehend the nature of the loss. The country mourns with them.

The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, a convicted felon who was sentenced to a 95-year prison sentence that was commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, never should have been back out on the street. With a record of felonies - aggravated robbery and child rape, among other crimes - the parole board or any other entity should never have recommended he be released. The governor should not have heeded the recommendation, which should not have been initiated in the first place. Mr. Huckabee should have taken a strong stance and denied it without hesitation. The price for such an egregious action is now being paid with tragic and outrageous consequences.

Law enforcement officers are people like anyone else. They have families and personal lives, but they place their lives at risk in the line of duty to protect the communities in which they live and serve. The lives of these officers meant something. They did not deserve to die while sitting at a coffee shop planning for their shift that was about to begin, and they did not deserve to die because they were visibly uniformed police officers. The monumental loss that has been sustained by this shocking episode impacts us all and reminds us that life is truly precious and should never be taken for granted.


Adjunct professor of victimology

Marymount University


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