In the March 1 front page photo, law officers hold a teenager at gunpoint in Benton City. They point two rifles at him, rifles being shot-for-shot far more lethal than a pistol. His life is within one mistake and a microsecond of being blotted out, with no vestige of due process. He has since been released without charge.
Accidental discharges of firearms occur regularly, even among trained officers. This is the reason for the No. 1 rule of gun safety: Don’t point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. The officers in the photo threaten the life of an unarmed person who hasn’t attacked them.
We haven’t yet legally ceded the role of jury and executioner to the police. The cover photo and the practice it reveals are disturbing. The rumor that a person is armed and dangerous isn’t a sufficient reason for holding him at gunpoint, jeopardizing his life.
Fred Adams, Kennewick