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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

Police should give medal, not condemn

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Chris Cope is a hero despite the mild admonitions of law enforcement."

It's not too often I openly disagree with law enforcement but a crime in Memphis, Tenn., last week caught my attention. It was not so much the crime itself but the police reaction that followed that brings my disagreement. I think you'll agree.

A bizarre incident unfolded last Friday at a Schnucks Supermarket just outside Memphis. A disgruntled worker went on a rampage and stabbed eight co-workers. The attacker apparently had a disagreement with the store and the incident erupted into bloody violence. Armed with two large kitchen knives, the attacker began stabbing and slashing co-workers in the store. He chased one victim into the parking lot until he was subdued by a man who works at a nearby business who had watched in horror as the attack occurred.

Chris Cope, who manages a financial services office in the same shopping center, grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing a co-worker across the parking lot. Cope pulled the gun and told the attacker to stop. When he saw the gun, the attacker fell to the ground and surrendered. Police arrived shortly and took the man into custody.

Here's where my beef begins. Police said they commended Cope for his quick thinking but "we don't encourage people to take that kind of risk. He could have been hurt."

Now wait just a minute. If you see a man stabbing people at random and, if by chance, you have a gun, are you supposed to sit idly by? Police may not "encourage" such action but they darned well should do more than commend and then condemn Cope's actions. Instead, they should give him a medal for bravery.

I can understand that police don't want a group of vigilantes armed to the hilt who play judge and jury. But this incident is far different. Cope had the means to save a life and he took the action to do just that. Had the attacker ignored Cope's warning, Cope would have been justified to end the confrontation with the help of his handy 9mm.

Granted, subduing bad guys is the work of law enforcement. But Cope was at the right place at the right time and had the means at his disposal to save a life and end the rampage.

Chris Cope is a hero despite the mild admonitions of law enforcement. I bet that privately, most law enforcement officials would agree.

The only difference between Chris Cope and most of us is that Cope was disciplined enough not to pull the trigger and ask questions later. Regardless, his actions may well have saved a life and law enforcement officials may not want to encourage such actions but they shouldn't discourage them either.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen