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Local opinion columnists

Grim reality of suicidal shooters

By From page A7 | June 26, 2014

Fairfield police responded heavily to the shooting on Springwood Circle in Cordelia Villages, when the nine-hour standoff ended when officers found the apparent shooter dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officers evacuated some residents and had others shelter in place during the tense standoff.

Instead of praise for law enforcement, online I saw people ripping the Police Department for its response time, the militaristic gear they wore, their allegedly bloated pay and the fact that officers shot an aggressive dog. It seemed an odd reaction to officers responding to a shooting to protect residents and apprehend or neutralize the perpetrator. After all, the person to blame for this incident is dead.

But the misdirected anger over incidents like this is more likely due to the fact that these types of shootings aren’t necessarily preventable. Sure, depressed people can seek help and through therapy and sometimes medication can right their sinking ship. Mental health treatment should be seen as no different from physical issues.

But if someone doesn’t voice their intentions – whether to a friend, in a letter, on YouTube or an online forum – and they have access to firearms, shootings like this are unstoppable. No amount of proactive policing, detective work or city council crime panels can stop someone from waking up and shooting up their neighborhood.

We talk a lot in this country and our community about combating shootings. We talk about new gun laws, closing loopholes, addressing mental illness, bringing in more law enforcement agencies and having people study the issue. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do those things, but we have to realize that there is a cost to the type of society we’ve built. There are tradeoffs. One of those tradeoffs is that we’re vulnerable to sudden shootings.

Gun enthusiasts know how fast a 10-round magazine can be emptied and another reloaded. A determined shooter could easily get off dozens of rounds before police could respond. That’s not the fault of the police, because there has to be a call to the dispatcher, a location given and the dispatcher gives the information to officers who must drive, not teleport.

For those that think more guns is the answer, do you honestly believe that this situation would’ve been better if more citizens, without nearly the training of police, were returning fire on Springwood Circle?

We should just be thankful no one was killed or injured by all of the shots the gunman fired. We also can be thankful we have well-trained, dedicated officers who responded and fulfilled their mandate. My condolences to the family of the man who took his own life.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow that from time to time the disturbed, the depressed, disgruntled and angry will shatter our peace with a final burst of violence.

Thirty years ago this July, Fairfield Police Officer Art Koch was shot and killed while responding to a similar standoff with a shooter. The crime shocked the city because shootings like that were so rare. Now, hearing gunshots is much more common.

The best outcome would be to get folks help before incidents like this happen, but that’s not always possible. So, the best outcome in this case is that no officers or innocent bystanders were killed. Peace.

Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • Bill of RightsJune 26, 2014 - 5:46 am

    Well said. Always enjoy the true and raw reality of your stories.

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  • CD BrooksJune 26, 2014 - 6:05 am

    Kelvin, well said. Could not agree more with your last sentence!

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  • BobJune 26, 2014 - 7:16 am

    They won't get the help they need because the powers that be want new railroad stations, fancy downtowns, more money to fight chop shops, fight crimes in schools and I could go on forever. Fix your priorities mental health causes these problems, too many gun laws you can't enforce don't help, quit spending money on the war against pot, put it to use by helping the mentally impaired.

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  • Rick WoodJune 26, 2014 - 7:43 am

    It's always good to start a debate at a point of agreement. Thank you Kelvin.

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  • boomJune 26, 2014 - 9:17 am

    With as shortsighted and quick to anger as some of my fellow commenters(present company excluded of course)are, I wouldn't be surprised if someone typing their ballistic rants on this rag of a paper wouldn't someday meltdown and go postal, just wonder if they'll identify themselves by their user name to the police?

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  • JimboJune 26, 2014 - 12:12 pm

    I bet if you traced the IP addresses of the whiniest posters you would find they do not even post from within the state of California. It seems that ever since the GW fiasco, conservatives with huge sticks up their 'ahem' have no jobs and probably collect social security mental disability so they can post all day on websites in progressive states about people who actually work for the society that sustains them..

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  • Former FF ResidentJune 27, 2014 - 1:25 am

    "For those that think more guns is the answer, do you honestly believe that this situation would’ve been better if more citizens, without nearly the training of police, were returning fire on Springwood Circle?" Maybe not in this specific incident but don't fool yourself for one second and think that all cops are best shots or best trained with a gun. Still trapped in California and gainfully employed for the last 18 years non stop.

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