"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." --Robert Louis Stevenson.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Murderer Clemmons Dead after Frightening Seattle and Raising Questions of Compassion
Update this morning on Maurice Clemmons, killer of four Lakewood, Washington police officers, cause of city-wide concern and unease, and source of Mike Huckabee's future political demise.
As I'd hoped in my post of last night, Clemmons was found, about 2:40 am. And, due to the criminal's own bravado and stupidity, killed, saving taxpayers the expense of trial and incarceration and probably executing him anyway.
Clemmons, who had evaded capture with the help of nefarious low-lifes, decided to steal a car. The vehicle's owner, Harvey Lagon, watching TV in his South Seattle home about 12:45 am, heard his car revving and, looking out the window, watched it being stolen. He decided to call the police rather than pursue the thief himself. That choice might have saved his life.
Several blocks away, Officer Benjamin Kelly, on routine patrol, came upon the car with the hood up and motor running. He determined the car was stolen, and began the paperwork when Clemmons approached. Kelly recognized him and commanded him to stop. When Clemmons ignored two further commands and reached into his waist area, the officer fired. On Clemmons' body was a firearm taken from one of the Lakewood murdered officers.
The collective sigh of relief in Seattle is audible. The day began with this beautiful dawn (I took the photo), the opening of a sunny day in the light-starved Northwest. Today my daughter and her friends can walk to class at the University of Washington with less trepidation.
I hope this tragic episode can motivate support for government aggressively eliminating danger and effectively punishing criminals. We need to shift the mindset so that perpetrators are seen as responsible decision-makers, rather than victims of a society that owes them help and sympathy, since it failed to provide optimal upbringing.
The economy and individual freedom depend on citizens' living in safety. Providing that is the most fundamental task of government. I'm sure Gov. Huckabee--and we all--now regret that nine years ago he didn't keep that duty foremost in mind.