By Hollister Police Chief David Westrick
In the wake of the horrific event in Las Vegas this week, I found a few nuggets of wisdom, truth and looked within.
First off I must say, Las Vegas Metro Police Department and their public safety partners did an excellent job managing this enormous crime scene. They were better than textbook and credit should go to the sheriff directly and those managing the incident in its infancy. Amazingly brave, solid and steady work by those heroes.
Here in Hollister we have a large public gathering once or twice a year. We plan, discuss, go over possible scenarios and train almost all year for the rally. It is a huge undertaking by our staff to handle this event and keep it as safe as we possibly can. I am barely able to sleep for the week prior and during the rally. I age like six years each rally I work as the chief—last year was my 5th rally as chief.
I often talk about my love for people, community and always trying to be a good example. I try to see the good in every person, situation and to truly learn from the experience.
What happened on October 1st in Las Vegas—I don’t have much of anything. We did see tremendous acts of heroism. We saw destruction. We saw our worst fears. We saw death.
Ambassador Sarek in Star Trek IV surmised it was difficult to come up with an answer if one did not understand what the question was.
I believe we are there. We are seeing these atrocities and terrible things that are occurring all over the world. We ask ourselves why, but we don’t know the answer because we’ve never asked the right questions.
How do we come up with answers if we do not know what causes people to do these things? Is it ideology? is it because we listen to heavy-metal music? Is it because we have been desensitized as a nation and really as human beings in general because we’ve allowed violence to permeate our lives through video games, the media, through movies, through books and other sources? In the last 25 or 30 years what breakthroughs have we made in mental health? The low hanging fruit in this is of course guns. Many folks will argue that if guns were not there this tragedy would not have of occurred. That’s correct, the person in Las Vegas used firearms to commit these horrific acts. I would ask what about IEDs? What about Timothy McVeigh using fertilizer? What about the knife attacks in 2014 in China that left 29 dead and over 130 injured? How about a group of men wielding box cutters that together took down four airliners, killing 3000+ people. Moral to the story is, killers will always find a way.
Endless possibilities: it’s about motive, it’s about hate, it’s about ideology, it’s about mental illness. It’s about a lot of things.
Be good to each other.
The guest editorial was edited for space. Find the complete blog post at http://chiefwestrick.blogspot.com