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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scranton Police Invovled In Fatal Shooting

Story Link Here.

This is getting a lot of attention on both talk radio and the Internet, which should make most people wary to begin with.

First, by way of disclaimer, I actually knew the victim of the shooting, although not well. Growing up I lived in the Midtown Apartments in downtown Scranton (the same area where the late Ms Williams was from). I can't claim to have known her well, as she was a few years older than me, but I did spend some time with her younger brother and sister (David & Ellen). My heart goes out to the family during what must be a horrible time in their lives. Ms Williams was only 52 years old, which in this day and age is far too young to pass along.

Second, there are tons of back-seat drivers coming out of the woodwork on this case, which is a shame. This is a tragic event, and I can not help but believe that the police who were involved have been deeply impacted by it. I know, the impact they feel is far less than that of the family of the deceased, but never the less I am sure it is impacting them. There is one indisputable fact though that we all need to bear in mind: We don't know all the facts, and until we do, I personally feel that we dishonor the lost life of Ms Williams and the reputations of the police officers in question by second guessing events.

Third, there have been media reports that Ms Williams may have been struggling with some mental health issues. As I've written about in the past, I have members of my family that to this day struggle in this area, so I know first hand that these kinds of issues don't fit neatly into little media-sized sound bites or paragraph chunks. That's all the more reason for anyone who wants to engage in...

" should have happened like this..."
"...what they did was wrong..."
"...she should have..." take as step back and tone down the suppositions. When it comes to mental health issues, second guessing is the cheap and easy way out. The families of those who suffer from mental health problems know from first hand experience that by their nature it's difficult to impossible to fully understand what drives someone to act in the ways that they do. We may never know everything that happened leading up to this tragic event.

The bottom line is this: Let's allow the Pennsylvania State Police to conduct the complete investigation that I know they are capable of performing and then let's draw some conclusions. Allow the family to grieve and allow the investigative process to work. Respect the memory of Ms Williams. Presume that the officers in question are innocent until their is proof of their guilt. In other words, let's all try and do the right thing.

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