WTVM Editorial 7/8/16: Senseless tragedies

WTVM Editorial 7/8/16: Senseless tragedies

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – No one, no matter how angry or frustrated they become with events should ever take the law into their own hands.

The shooting deaths of five Dallas law enforcement officers is indefensible.

Peaceful protests like the ones in Minnesota, Atlanta and New York (and Dallas before the sniper attacks on officers) are justified in the wake of the two civilian killings by police last week.

In those separate incidents, the deaths of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota at the hands of police officers are events worthy of protest.

In both cases, so far, it appears officers escalated each situation, firing at and killing the suspects in short order.

Instead, in light of those two killings, we urge police to de-escalate these kinds of situations where possible.

De-escalation is not a new idea.

A law enforcement industry magazine called "police," says de-escalation is taught to officers around the country, but not often enough, due to a general lack of funding for training.

In light of the questionable deaths of Sterling and Castile, citizens have a right to ask if better training, including how to de-escalate these specific types of stressful traffic stops, searches or arrest situations, is a strategy worth trying.

De-escalating requires good communication and quick thinking. It may not always be the best approach, but it might work in many cases.

Meanwhile, as the nation mourns the officers ambushed in Dallas, we should all pause, reflect and remember that no one, not any police officer and not an angry group of citizens, ever have the right to take the law into their own hands.

When that happens, one kind of senseless tragedy is only compounded by another, and that is not a solution.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road 
Columbus, GA 31906

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