In the line of duty

Senior Cpl. Mark Nix of the Dallas Police Department went to work last Friday as he had done for the past 6 years. The 33 year-old officer was engaged to be married, but that marriage will never take place. After a car chase involving what officers thought was a suspect wanted in a murder investigation, Officer Nix was shot in the chest by the suspect, who, as it turned out later, was not involved in the murder, but was in possession of illegal drugs.

Notwithstanding the original motivation the police had for chasing the vehicle, it's evident that they were pursuing a dangerous man. Anyone willing to run from the police and engage in a gun battle is a menace to society. We'll never know how many lives were saved because the police chased and ultimately caught that suspect. The price they paid was the life of one of their own. The cop-killer was wounded in the ensuing battle and is now facing a murder charge. The way the appeals system works, even if he's convicted and sentenced to death he's likely to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. Cpl. Nix wasn't as fortunate; he suffered the death penalty instantly.

His family and friends will have to deal with the pain and suffering of losing a loved one as they watch his killer receive all the benefits afforded him by a system which ludicrously refers to itself as, justice. I can't help smirking when I hear people say that capital punishment doesn't work. They are either pitifully naïve or suffering from a profound case of denial. When has capital punishment been administered the way it was designed? Every study involving criminal justice indicates that punishment should be swift and sure in order for it to have impact on the would-be criminal. Sure means when someone is sentenced to a penalty, that penalty will not be reduced. Swift means the penalty will be administered quickly.

In a country that had not lost its sanity, this trial would take about a week and the murderer would be executed the day after a guilty verdict. After a few cases being handled thusly, we could soon determine whether or not capital punishment really works.

A few months ago, in New York City, a young man was killed by police after leaving a suspected drug hangout in Queens. Based on prior information, a group of undercover cops watching a strip joint with a reputation for gun-toting patrons had reason to believe they were in danger when they confronted four men as they were exiting the bar and entering an SUV. When one of the undercover cops identified himself as an officer, the car lurched forward as the driver tried to run him down.

The officer, after calling upon the occupants to stop, fired upon them. His fellow officers, seeing the attack unfold, began firing too, killing the driver, Sean Bell. Although no gun was found in the car, witnesses and video footage confirm that a fourth man in the party fled the scene when shots were fired.  Mr. Bell and the other men with him all had arrest records for illegal possession of guns. One of them was an ex-con who had done a stretch for an armed robbery in which he shot the victim. Instead of viewing this as another case in which the police removed some bad guys from the streets, it became another political football for demagogues like Al Sharpton and Charles Barron, the city council member who could find racism in the color of his toothpaste.

Yes, Mr. Bell was black and the officer whose bullet killed him, is white. (If it had been the reverse, we wouldn't hear a peep out of various low-life loudmouths.) The fact that the first shot was from a black cop's gun had no impact on the decision by the 2 rabble rousers to proclaim that white cops go to work each day with one thought in mind, to kill black people.

In typical knee-jerk fashion, the system caved in to the protests in the black community, resulting in 3 cops being indicted by a Grand Jury. Incidentally, Mr. Bell, like Cpl. Nix, was engaged to be married, a fact that was seized upon by the protesters as some sort of aggravating factor in his death. However, we won't see any protesters calling for an end to violence against the police. It's as though dying in the line of duty is expected of a cop, while dying from a cop's bullet, even if you tried to kill him first, is an outrage that must be prosecuted.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.
Senior Cpl. Mark Nix of the Dallas Police Department went to work last Friday as he had done for the past 6 years. The 33 year-old officer was engaged to be married, but that marriage will never take place. After a car chase involving what officers thought was a suspect wanted in a murder investigation, Officer Nix was shot in the chest by the suspect, who, as it turned out later, was not involved in the murder, but was in possession of illegal drugs.

Notwithstanding the original motivation the police had for chasing the vehicle, it's evident that they were pursuing a dangerous man. Anyone willing to run from the police and engage in a gun battle is a menace to society. We'll never know how many lives were saved because the police chased and ultimately caught that suspect. The price they paid was the life of one of their own. The cop-killer was wounded in the ensuing battle and is now facing a murder charge. The way the appeals system works, even if he's convicted and sentenced to death he's likely to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars. Cpl. Nix wasn't as fortunate; he suffered the death penalty instantly.

His family and friends will have to deal with the pain and suffering of losing a loved one as they watch his killer receive all the benefits afforded him by a system which ludicrously refers to itself as, justice. I can't help smirking when I hear people say that capital punishment doesn't work. They are either pitifully naïve or suffering from a profound case of denial. When has capital punishment been administered the way it was designed? Every study involving criminal justice indicates that punishment should be swift and sure in order for it to have impact on the would-be criminal. Sure means when someone is sentenced to a penalty, that penalty will not be reduced. Swift means the penalty will be administered quickly.

In a country that had not lost its sanity, this trial would take about a week and the murderer would be executed the day after a guilty verdict. After a few cases being handled thusly, we could soon determine whether or not capital punishment really works.

A few months ago, in New York City, a young man was killed by police after leaving a suspected drug hangout in Queens. Based on prior information, a group of undercover cops watching a strip joint with a reputation for gun-toting patrons had reason to believe they were in danger when they confronted four men as they were exiting the bar and entering an SUV. When one of the undercover cops identified himself as an officer, the car lurched forward as the driver tried to run him down.

The officer, after calling upon the occupants to stop, fired upon them. His fellow officers, seeing the attack unfold, began firing too, killing the driver, Sean Bell. Although no gun was found in the car, witnesses and video footage confirm that a fourth man in the party fled the scene when shots were fired.  Mr. Bell and the other men with him all had arrest records for illegal possession of guns. One of them was an ex-con who had done a stretch for an armed robbery in which he shot the victim. Instead of viewing this as another case in which the police removed some bad guys from the streets, it became another political football for demagogues like Al Sharpton and Charles Barron, the city council member who could find racism in the color of his toothpaste.

Yes, Mr. Bell was black and the officer whose bullet killed him, is white. (If it had been the reverse, we wouldn't hear a peep out of various low-life loudmouths.) The fact that the first shot was from a black cop's gun had no impact on the decision by the 2 rabble rousers to proclaim that white cops go to work each day with one thought in mind, to kill black people.

In typical knee-jerk fashion, the system caved in to the protests in the black community, resulting in 3 cops being indicted by a Grand Jury. Incidentally, Mr. Bell, like Cpl. Nix, was engaged to be married, a fact that was seized upon by the protesters as some sort of aggravating factor in his death. However, we won't see any protesters calling for an end to violence against the police. It's as though dying in the line of duty is expected of a cop, while dying from a cop's bullet, even if you tried to kill him first, is an outrage that must be prosecuted.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.