Thursday, March 10, 2005


Normally, this blog attempts to concentrate on issues and events across Polk County and Central Florida, but I feel the need to make mention of one terribly sad story from across the border.

Today, a national memorial service was held in Edmonton, Alberta in honour of four officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who were shot and killed in the line of duty last Thursday near the town of Mayerthorpe. The four constables were watching a property overnight waiting for a special RCMP team of auto theft investigators from Edmonton. The original idea was to serve a search warrant looking for stolen vehicles when they came across a marijuana grow in a building on the land. As the Edmonton team arrived, they heard shots, and later learned what had happened --- the property owner, who had a long criminal record, a love of guns, a history of violence, and a hatred of cops --- had gunned down the Mounties with a rifle before taking his own life.

It was the worst incidence of officers being killed on duty in Canada since the Northwest Rebellion of the 19th Century.

Today thousands of Mounties and other law enforcement officers from throughout North America gathered into an arena on the campus of the University of Alberta to remember their brethren in arms as Governor General Adrienne Clarkson --- Queen Elizabeth II's personal representative in Canada --- and Prime Minister Paul Martin paid their respects along with family members of the slain officers. Before the service the serge-clad RCMP officers marched one kilometre from a city park into the arena, known as the Butterdome. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast the event live nationally.

One item of note, rather unusual for a large city: Hundreds of Edmonton residents offered up their homes to host visiting Mounties from across Canada who arrived Wednesday for the rememberence. Enough that the RCMP had to request people to stop calling

You don't expect to read such a story from Canada, where the gun laws are much tighter and gun violence is much less. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, as well as those of all law enforcement officers who work hard to keep our land safe. While we may occasionally hear of the bad apple, the vast majority of officers are hard working, honest individuals who are simply wanting to make a difference.


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