Police need access to overwhelming force

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Regarding the Beedle and Zavadil letters of Wednesday, Sgt. Gary Zavadil is a friend of mine and has been a guest in my home a number of times. His service to his community and to his country are exemplary, and I am sure he would agree, fairly typical of those who choose to put themselves in harm’s way in order to help preserve the peace and safety of our society.

If the police in general, anywhere, must confront violence and other sociopathic behaviors perpetrated by members of that society, the police must be able to use overwhelming force to halt that behavior and see to the safety of everyone, not just the victim, but the perpetrator as well should circumstances permit. It must be remembered that our police mostly respond and react rather than interdict simply because of the nature of the freedoms that most of us enjoy. If the men and women who respond to our call for help are not equipped to deal with the threat, shame on us.

I spent the last four of my 12 years in Costa Rica teaching marksmanship and gun handling to Fuerza Publica officers and others. Perhaps Mr. Beedle will be comforted to know that the overwhelming majority of those officers had had practically no live fire training in the last 10 years, and the bravery and willingness to carry the fight to the bad guy that they display daily in Pura Vida Land may lend themselves to saving his bacon some day in spite of the lack of real support they receive, and the paucity of their numbers.

We trust our police with our lives. Should we not trust them to use, responsibly and professionally whatever tools are required to get the job done? If bigger, stronger more forceful means are necessary to keep the peace, is that not more of a reflection of society’s failure than law enforcement’s? There’s a reason they call it “law enforcement” and not “law, pretty please”.

Harv Brinson
West Yellowstone, Montana
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