An incident well-handled
The list of top news stories in 2015, as determined locally by the Tri-City Herald and nationally by the Associated Press, included coverage of encounters between troubled individuals and law enforcement where things went terribly wrong and the outcomes were tragic.
We would like to start 2016 by drawing attention to an encounter where the outcome could have been just as tragic — but wasn’t.
According to a Tri-City Herald report by reporter Ty Beaver, a man wielding a sword in central Richland pounded on the doors and windows of a daycare, forcing it and nearby Christ the King School in Richland into lockdown Tuesday afternoon. When Richland police officers arrived, the man refused to drop the sword and reportedly yelled at police to shoot him. So they did — with their tasers. That forced him to drop the sword. Although he continued to resist arrest, officers were able to subdue him without serious injury to anyone involved.
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Thumbs up to those officers.
WSU Tri-Cities STEM scholarship
Washington State University Tri-Cities is making it easier for new students considering science- and technology-based careers to fulfill their dreams through a new STEM Scholars program. The university will award $8,400 per academic year to as many as 10 students, according to a press release from the Richland campus.
“Right now, there are thousands of STEM positions that the industry is unable to fill,” said Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young. “Through this program we are encouraging students to pursue STEM degrees, which satisfies demands for those positions while allowing the United States to continue to be a leader in innovation, research and technological advancement.”
Thumbs up to the chancellor and his team.
Oregon standoff foes and fans
Passions are running high on both sides of a standoff between federal officials and armed protesters who seized empty buildings on a federal reserve near Burns, Ore.
The leaders of the protests say they came to the town to protest the conviction of a 73-year-old rancher and his son, who had been sentenced to prison for setting fires that spread to federal lands. But that’s not really the case. In fact, relatives of the convicted ranchers have distanced themselves from the armed takeover, although they say they understand the anger over federal land policies.
The county sheriff there accurately characterized the protesters when he said they came “claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”
Organized demonstrations against government policy and public space to make a point has been a form of protest for decades. Arming themselves to the teeth and implying blood will be shed if officials attempt to stop them is not acceptable. However, these protesters are not — as some are calling them — terrorists.
Thumbs down to both sides — those who allow themselves to be misled by the protestors and support their dangerous tactics, and those who try and lump them in with terrorists who slaughtered 14 innocent people in San Bernardino last month.