LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Let's wait for New York Store investigation


I'm having trouble figuring out exactly why Bruce McCutcheon continues to mention the Constitution in regards to the tragic New York Store incident (tragic for all concerned, not only for Cesar Chavira, who apparently initiated it, but his family and Mr. John Saul as well).

I applaud Mr. McCutcheon's high regard for the U.S. Constitution and feel the same - as do most Americans, especially those of us who have supported it by serving in the military and other government agencies in the U.S. and overseas.

This issue, however, is not about the U.S. Constitution but about Washington state law.

I've seen three letters by Mr. McCutcheon. The first stated, "I do not wish to condemn or convict anyone," but then goes on to do just that in each letter using both innuendo and personal opinion.

Why don't we just await the results of the investigation before making accusations and judgments here on the U-B opinion pages?

The words "vigilantism" and "vigilante justice" appear in the letters along with "premeditation" (twice), "intent," and "judge, jury and executioner." If this isn't prematurely condemning or convicting someone, what is?

Also, why such serious mistrust of our own elected coroner and law enforcement departments that would demand an "outside agency" (FBI or DOJ?) investigate rather than our own city and county personnel?

Regarding my point about law, while I'm no lawyer I do recommend a careful reading of Washington state laws. For example, RCW 9A.16.020 (Use of force - when lawful), RCW 9A.16.030 (Homicide - when excusable), and RCW 9A.16.050 (Homicide - by other person - when justifiable). Google them. They provide an understanding of applicable laws pertaining to incidents such as what occurred at Mr. Saul's business and private residence on May 4.

It is unfortunate we sometimes "jump to conclusions" when tragic shootings occur. A good case in point is the Florida incident in which Trayvon Martin was killed. It's become apparent from photos and a recent video that George Zimmerman was physically attacked with obvious injuries inflicted upon him that very well may have justified a lethal self defense response. In that case, too, final judgments should be postponed.

Let's wait until the open and continuing investigation of the New York Store incident is completed and a legal finding presented to County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle, as mentioned in Sheriff John Turner's press release of June.

Steve Singleton

Walla Walla


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