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http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/06/gun_rights_and_the_law_holster.html

The Gresham Chief of Police wrote an op ed piece on the recent incident involving an armed citizen firing shots at a petty theft get-away car. Seems like a measured, well reasoned appeal NOT to think the Second Amendment trumps all other considerations of civility and public life. As he points out, the Constitution is designed to protect the rights of all citizens, not just those who want to bear arms.
 
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For those who don't like outside links.

Article said:
Being entrusted with the safety of Gresham residents, I'm troubled by the outcry over the arrest of Roger Witter for firing his handgun at theft suspects fleeing in a car last week. Witter's actions were clearly outside the confines of the law and endangered everyone in the immediate area. I've carefully reviewed all of the reports associated with the incident and fully support the police officer's decision to take Witter into custody that evening.

Because the community sometimes doesn't have access to all of the information in such incidents, including crime reports and witness statements, minds sometime get made up and opinions are formed with only the apparent facts at hand.

The U.S. Constitution and the state of Oregon afford residents the right to bear arms, and to carry those arms when they have the proper permits. I certainly believe in the Constitution and what it stands for or I wouldn't have stayed in my profession for 32 years.

But the Constitution was also crafted by our forefathers to protect the rights of all citizens in the United States, not only those interested in the 2nd Amendment. Those include the right to walk down a city sidewalk, shop in a business district and drive down a city's streets without having to be fearful of guns being fired in an area where people should feel safe.

I understand Witter's frustration with crime in the community in which he lives. As the police chief, I share the frustration of seeing businesses and citizens victimized by criminals. But I cannot allow citizens to take matters into their own hands and carelessly endanger others.

The laws in Oregon are clear regarding when lethal force may be used, and there is no doubt that Witter was using deadly force that evening. The criminals did not show or display a weapon or threaten anyone, they simply ran away with merchandise. Lethal force may be used only when people's lives are endangered, not when property is at risk of being taken.

The only weapon involved at the scene of last week's incident was the handgun fired by Roger Witter. Unfortunately, that evening he went from being a concerned citizen to someone who violated several laws himself.

Wanting to help is not a defense for committing a criminal act. Instead of firing shots at the fleeing suspects, Witter should have obtained as much information for the police as possible.

The overall safety of this community rests with the highly trained men and women of the Gresham Police Department, not in the hands of any individual who violates the law in an attempt to prevent another violation of law.


The chief seems very reasonable.
 
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Yeah, that seems reasonable. Even though the guy probably thought he was doing something to help, even though he wasn't. To many Dirty Harry movies I would guess! lol. I am hoping they don't hit the guy too hard though. It was just a stupid reaction. Some people don't handle stressful situations very well and may not react in the best way.
 
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I think it might behoove us as members of the firearms community to contact the Chief and let him know that the great majority of us that have CHL's agree with him that Witter's actions were completely inappropriate. Let's try to put some positive spin on this from the CHL community. I plan to e-mail him this evening when I get home.
 
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Sounded good till he got to this part,

The overall safety of this community rests with the highly trained men and women of the Gresham Police Department

Everyone knows that SCOTUS has ruled that the police have no obligation to protect you or your community so he's probably referring to writing traffic citations. You can't trust a guy like that. What a tool.
 
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Sounded good till he got to this part,



Everyone knows that SCOTUS has ruled that the police have no obligation to protect you or your community so he's probably referring to writing traffic citations. You can't trust a guy like that. What a tool.

He was wrong about this part too.

Lethal force may be used only when people's lives are endangered, not when property is at risk of being taken

Lethal force may be used to stop certain felony crimes also, though this is very narrow and specific so one should be very aware of what those terms mean.
 
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Just got a reply to my email to chief Junginger...

From: "Junginger, Craig" <[email protected]
To:
Subject: FW: Attn. Craig Junginger
Date: Jun 2, 2010 5:13 PM

Bob, thank you for taking the time to write to me. I appreciate your comments and appreciate you sending them to me. As I said in the opinion piece, I support the U.S. Constitution and for what it stands for; however, it is for everyone and nowhere does it say to take the law into your own hands.



I know that the majority of residents feel the same way that we do, but, I couldn’t let people blame my officers for doing what was the right thing to do with Mr. Witter.



Again, thanks for the e-mail.



Craig Junginger

Chief of Police

Gresham Police Department

1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway

Gresham, OR 97030

503-618-2313

"In the Company of Heroes"
 
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I know the police chief's intentions were good, and few people would disagree with the idea that the man shouldn't have discharged his firearm under those circumstances. But the police chief is off center on a couple of points. The overall safety of a community DOES NOT rest with the police. Safety of a community rests with all the citizens and constitutes it's culture. Citizen involvement is not just desirable, it is required for a safe place to live and work. The view that the police are responsible for safety is limited, or na&#239;ve at best. When is the last time a police officer answered a call ahead of time and prevented a crime? We have a very permissive culture here in Oregon and whether we like it or not, that kind of culture always delivers a higher crime rate. Period. Try looking at things like graduation rates, illegial's, drugs, etc to figure out how to make our community safe. All citizen issues that are resolved in the voting booth.

A second point is the fear factor. Sounds reasonable to be able to walk anywhere without fear of gun fire. I second that. However, fear is also very subjective. Many many people harbor fears of a lot of different things. Cars, snakes, big dogs, etc. All of which can be dangerous. I once met a woman sometime ago while buying a new cell phone who wanted gps on all the time so she would be safe!

The shooter was wrong in this society, no doubt. BTW...my spouse thinks he did the right thing.
 
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My letter to Chief Junginger.

Dear Chief Junginger,

I read with interest your article on the recent incident with Mr. Witters regarding his shooting at the suspects fleeing the AT&T store. Based on your article it appears you have been getting some criticism from some for arresting Mr. Witters and condemning his actions.

I have been a CHL holder in Oregon for many years and am also active in the pro 2nd Amendment and CHL communities in Oregon. I can assure you that the great majority of CHL holders and pro 2nd Amendment members of the firearms community in Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest believe that Mr. Witters' actions in this case were totally inappropriate.

It is never appropriate to display a firearm, let alone discharge it, if you or immediate bystanders are in no immediate danger of grave bodily harm or death. Shooting at two fleeing suspects that posed not immediate threat to anyone and endangering innocent bystanders over the theft of a couple of cell phones......please!

Mr. Witters actions were not representative of CHL holders as a whole. I would like to thank you for writing reasoned and balanced article about this incident without tarring all CHL holders with Mr. Witters inappropriate actions.

Best Regards,

XXXXXXXXX
Hillsboro, OR
 
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My letter to Chief Junginger.

Dear Chief Junginger,

I read with interest your article on the recent incident with Mr. Witters regarding his shooting at the suspects fleeing the AT&T store. Based on your article it appears you have been getting some criticism from some for arresting Mr. Witters and condemning his actions.

I have been a CHL holder in Oregon for many years and am also active in the pro 2nd Amendment and CHL communities in Oregon. I can assure you that the great majority of CHL holders and pro 2nd Amendment members of the firearms community in Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest believe that Mr. Witters' actions in this case were totally inappropriate.

It is never appropriate to display a firearm, let alone discharge it, if you or immediate bystanders are in no immediate danger of grave bodily harm or death. Shooting at two fleeing suspects that posed not immediate threat to anyone and endangering innocent bystanders over the theft of a couple of cell phones......please!

Mr. Witters actions were not representative of CHL holders as a whole. I would like to thank you for writing reasoned and balanced article about this incident without tarring all CHL holders with Mr. Witters inappropriate actions.

Best Regards,

XXXXXXXXX
Hillsboro, OR

left a out the fact that law enforcement is NOT responsible to you for your safety per SCOTUS. And I have a fear of being assaulted or robbed, which nothing but my being able to defend myself (as I have had to do once) can change.

Deen
NRA Benefactor/Recruiter
WAC member
SWWAC member
 
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I think it might behoove us as members of the firearms community to contact the Chief and let him know that the great majority of us that have CHL's agree with him that Witter's actions were completely inappropriate. Let's try to put some positive spin on this from the CHL community. I plan to e-mail him this evening when I get home.

Already wrote him ... It was nice of him to take time and write the article in "The Stump". I think we are carrying a gun mostly for self-protection. IF Mr. Witter's life has been threatened in any way by the theft suspects, I agree that he was entitled to pull his gun on them. Otherwise he should've done what Gresham Chief said: take as many details about the car and the theft suspects and write them down.

I think Gresham PD did right arresting Witter.
 
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The U.S. Constitution and the state of Oregon afford residents the right to bear arms, and to carry those arms when they have the proper permits. I certainly believe in the Constitution and what it stands for or I wouldn't have stayed in my profession for 32 years.

What part of either constitution says you need permits?


Score so far:

+1 for the USE of the weapon being criminal and stupid (in this case)
-1 for being wrong about the constitution(s)
-1 for stating that the police are solely responsible for safety
-1 for stating that deadly force is only allowed under law when threatened.

Final score: -2
 

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