Letter to the Editor: Tragedy

This letter is written in response to an August 11 armed standoff in Bovina. Read our coverage of the standoff here. -- Ed

Dear Editor,

I want to take issue with the reporting in last week’s press stating that the Bovina hostage taking ends in ‘tragedy’. I realize that headlines like these sell and the various Press entities are for profit organizations. Although it was a very sad ending I don’t believe it a full blown tragedy when considering other possible outcomes. The hostages escaped unharmed, no others or law enforcement officers were harmed, no ‘friendly fire’ calamity and no law enforcement officer killed the suspect which could be quite traumatic for the officer and who also would have to undergo the usual second guessing by some that have never experienced a similar very dangerous standoff. It doesn’t take but a split second for a person with a loaded weapon aimed at his own head to level it at a negotiator and fire.

Some will call the death of the hostage taker a tragedy; I call it very sad, a convicted burglar with outstanding warrants for other crimes and a father of two kids DOA. Hopefully now his ex-wife will find a much better father figure for those kids to look up to and from which to seek guidance in their lives. Parenting requires the ability to withstand many stresses and anxieties of which alcohol abuse is of no help. This individual apparently was not of sound mind caused by unknown factors. Another part of this not so tragic outcome is, although sounding mercurial, the fact that taxpayers will not have to underwrite the huge cost of trial and incarceration is a small positive for society.

Coming from a career in law enforcement myself and having been in confrontations with people mentally unstable and armed is extremely dangerous no matter what the cause of the instability. The trigger here as reported in the press was the running over of his puppy, and a dispute with his parents this apparently was just enough to put the individual over the edge upon which he was teetering. There will always be those ready to second guess law enforcement officers; luckily in this case there was no opportunity. I am very happy to see the professionalism and rapid response by the many agencies involved proving the fact that we are well protected by them.

Jack McShane
Andes NY