I have been reluctant to write any columns about the police shooting in Ogden that killed Officer Francom because I don’t have anything constructive to add to the conversation and don’t know any of the facts of the case.
Nobody else knows any but the most basic facts either, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds from mouthing off.
People who comment on stories on web sites need to be studied by someone with expertise on demented psychology. There are 172 comments posted on just one story about the accused shooter’s attorney being appointed (click) . It’s a wide debate over whether the cops messed up, whether the accused shooter was laying in wait, whether he was innocent, and on and on and on.
As is typical on chatboards, half the commens are irrational and absolutely everyone is taking a beating. A few trolls, especially, seem to know everything and are going to make sure everyone knows it.
One guy, rather ominously, says that he’s a gun afficianado who believes in the 2nd Amendment and if anyone crashes into his home they’re going to meet gunfire coming the other way too.
OK, we know that guy is scary, but nobody knows what happened in that house.
Nobody. Not the investigators, not the chief of police, not the shooter and not the surviving members of the squad of officers who went in.
We all THINK we know because we’ve seen TV and movies, or read stories. But nobody knows and nobody may ever know. That especially includes the people involved. Memories are the most plastic substance on the planet, eyewitnesses rarely see what they think they see, and in the panic of a shooting encounter like that nobody doing the shooting is going to remember as much as they should or even think they do.
The only things I know for certain is that one officer is dead, five others are wounded, and the one guy who lived in that house is wounded. I suppose we can say for certain that there were a lot of guns at the scene.
We also know for certain that tragedy of varying degrees has struck seven families in our community.
Beyond that, I don’t know anything, not for certain.
While I am reluctant to hinder the public discourse, if you think you do know something else for sure about this, I suggest you hold off expressing it until the formal investigations are done. Wait and see if what they reveal, as flawed as they are guaranteed to be, is close to what you thought you knew now.
If it is, congratulations, you were right!
If not, aren’t you glad you held off?