Columbia MO – Having breakfast before work with colleagues is a way to connect in our otherwise hectic world. Small corner cafes are usually the best; good coffee, good food and a wait staff that knows everyone. I use to own such a restaurant in Denver.
While having their breakfast this morning, four Lakewood Washington police officers were shot and killed. Sheriff spokesman Ed Troyer said that the attack was targeted on these officers, not on the other patrons in the café. The names of the officers have not yet been released.
The death of a police officer, or any other public safety professional, is saddening. The calculated murder of four police officers is monstrous. It is terrorism.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to the City of Lakewood.
There is a theory about reward and punishment. The punishment should be so great that the action, in this case the murders, would not happen. The reward should be so great that there would be no hesitation for doing the right thing.
There is little evidence that the threat of the death penalty is a deterrent in the commission of premeditated murder or domestic terrorism. For terrorists, the punishment is just not big enough to deter the action. For terrorists, the reward of becoming a martyr is far greater.
This, as the fire bombings in Seattle last October, was an act of domestic terrorism. The shooters, reportedly two at the time of this writing, are no different from al Qaeda or Taliban suicide bombers. Their deaths will only make them martyrs in the eyes of others, whether members of their gang or of an anarchist group.
And if the reward for the murder of the Lakewood police officers was so great that the shooters planned and carried out the attack, the reward for finding them should be equal or greater.
It is more important to apprehend and convict in a court of law then to reward them with death. As of 1:00 pm CST, the reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the two shooters is $10,000. Considering the level of this attack, considering the level of the planning and coordination, $10,000 is not enough. The reward needs to be $100,000.
It is too soon for the city to have set up a memorial fund or a method of raising that reward to a level far more substantial. I know the citizens of this Tacoma suburb will contribute heavily to both funds. As ask that you find it in your heart to do the same.