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Death By Bureaucracy

by Officer Jay D. Grimes
Craig, Colorado

I read a depressing story on the Fox News web site today. Nothing new I suppose, but this one made me think. You see, four firefighters are dead, their names are:

Tom L. Craven, 30

Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18

Devin A Weaver, 21

Jessica L. Johnson, 19

They are dead, most likely, because helicopters were not able to obtain water to drop on their location quick enough. Why, you might ask, was there not enough water to save the lives of these four heroes? Because the closest water source, the Chewuch River in Washington State, is home to protected species of salmon and trout.

That's right, the Endangered Species Act. Fire helicopters must receive permission to dip water out of protected areas. Apparently there is a fear that endangered fish might be scooped up with the water and destroyed.

OK, what does this have to do with law enforcement officers? The problem lies in the location from which the Endangered Species Act was derived - the UN.

The ESA states it is enacted, "pursuant to: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora," That, in short, is the UN. Recently the UN held the "United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects". In the Draft Program of Action from the conference it states:

"To ensure, subject to the respective constitutional and legal systems of States, that the armed forces, police or any other body authorized to hold small arms and light weapons, establish adequate and detailed standards and procedures relating to the management and security of their stocks of these weapons. These standards and procedures should, inter alia, relate to: appropriate locations for stockpiles; physical security measures; control of access to stocks; inventory management and accounting control; staff training; security, accounting and control of small arms and light weapons held or transported by operational units or authorized personnel; and procedures and sanctions in the event of thefts or loss." Section 2, para.18.

What concerns me most is, "...physical security measures; control of access to stocks;... security, accounting and control of small arms and light weapons held or transported by operational units or authorized personnel;".

It wasn't so long ago the Clinton administration was pushing hard for "smart gun" technology to ensure only authorized users could fire a weapon. Remember the Smith & Wesson deal? I'm sure most of you are familiar with what went on. For the time being the issue seems to be on the back burner - but how long will it be before it rears it's ugly head again?

If this most recent "Program of Action" is placed into effect (The US was party to it's creation), what better way to would there be to ensure, "control of small arms and light weapons held or transported by operational units (police officers) or authorized personnel;"? I don't care what any manufacturer says, "smart gun" technology, isn't. Whether it is a wrist band, ring, bio-device, etc., the more "bells and whistles" you put on a piece of equipment the more likely it is to malfunction - and at the most inopportune time. Murphy is a mother - and she's not to be tempted.

Just imagine you and a partner standing in the middle of a domestic when it all "goes south". Your partner is shot, laying on the floor unconscious, your gun jams, you reach for your partner's and - sorry, you're not an authorized user or your wristband is inoperable. Goodnight, good-bye, chalk two more heroes up to "smart" guns.

Today we read about four firefighters killed because of bureaucracy - how long will it be before we read about four police officers...

Credit to Fox News for airing the firefighter story and to William LaJeunnesse and Robin Wallace for contributing to it. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,31019,00.html

Jay D. Grimes is a career police officer in Craig, CO. nomads@amigo.net  (The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily representative of the Craig Police Department. I am solely responsible for the content. They are not endorsed by CPD or the City of Craig.)

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