By HDN Editorial Board
Our compliments go to Havre Police Chief Kevin Olson, who had the wisdom last week to take a proactive approach to a potential problem in our community.
Olson publicly advised us all not to jump to negative conclusions whenever we see people of Middle Eastern descent.
Olson isn't going to turn a blind eye to hate crimes, he told the people of Havre.
What an excellent thing to say. People of Middle Eastern descent are among the many ethnicities that make up Hi-Line communities. Also, people from other nations have long come to Havre as members of the Montana State University-Northern community.
Havre has long opened its arms to people who for whatever reason have made the town their home for a short time or for the long haul.
Why should that attitude change now?
One of the horrible results of the terrorist attacks is that people have become suspicious of each other. In a way, it can't be helped. What American of any ethnicitiy isn't going to feel a bit on edge if several fellow passengers on an airline speak with something that sounds like a Middle Eastern accent. But we have to trust that the security we have in place and have tightened since Sept. 11 will protect us. Otherwise, fear and chaos will result.
Chief Olson has taken several steps to secure the safety of people in our community. He has issued his public warning and assigned an extra officer to patrol when passengers are getting off and on the Empire Builder.
Olson was wise to see that he needs to take steps to protect strangers, and our own neighbors, from the worst among us.