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Texas shooting strikes fear in the heart

A Texas district attorney and his wife were gunned down at their home Saturday night, another bitter reminder that law enforcement officials are in danger not just while they are on the job, but at all hours.

There is a great deal of uncertainty about who might have committed the murder. Some speculated white militants were after the district and his deputy who was murdered two months ago.

This comes just after Colorado's corrections director, Tom Clements, was shot to death when he answered his front door.

It's easy to say that this can't happen in Montana, much less on the Hi-Line, but we can't be complacent.

People living in Kaufman, Texas, must have said the same thing.

Montana has its share of kooks on the right wing, the left wing or just plain out there who might think in their warped mind that somehow shooting a law enforcement officer would be just the thing to do.

While the Texas case is more in the public light than most, the number of such attacks has increased markedly in recent years, according to people who track such incidents. Judges, prosecutors, police officer, jail guards and other have been targeted.

By taking their oaths of office, law enforcement officers are affirming their belief in society — that for all its problems, the our society is worth keeping and enhancing.

It is devastating to see people who represent all of us gunned down so brutally.

Maintaining that optimism must be hard when they read stories like those about the Texas shootings.

Every time an officer pulls over a speeding driver, chances are real good that the motorist will be thinking hard about making up an excuse. But there is always that outside chance that the driver might be somebody whose anger at the authority is exacerbated by political passion, past experiences or booze. It might be just enough to trigger the kind of senseless actions that have taken place in Texas and Colorado in recent days.

It might be time to have a tip of the hat to the many people along the Hi-Line who enforce the law along the Hi-Line. They are in the public eye, and get a lot of criticism from the public and from politicians, but we wouldn't have much of a state without them.

Thanks for your work. Take care of yourselves.


While the legislative video conference is on hold this week, Tuesday, April 9, at noon people from Havre and Hi-Line can talk to local lawmakers on issues still facing the Legislature, which is set to conclude its session at the end of the month.

The conferences are sponsored by the Havre Public Schools and the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce.

It's not unusual that many key issues are left unresolved at the three-quarters point in the session, but this year it is more true than ever.

Construction projects at Montana State University-Northern, the state budget for the next two years and expansion of the Medicaid system to provide care the thousands who who have no health insurance are just three outstanding issues.

This would be a great time to attend these sessions and let people know how you feel.

There is usually a good turnout of people at the conference, but often it is the same people. Some fresh blood would be great.

John Kelleher is managing editor of the Havre Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected], 406-265-6795, ext. 17, or 406-390-0798.


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