Most of the Kootenay, along with the rest of the province, have been watching the ongoing story of the search for a Slocan gunman.
It’s a search that ended tragically on Monday with the death of suspect Peter DeGroot.
Many of the details of this incident are still unfolding. Unfortunately, the age of social media has turned this tragedy into an opportunity to make accusations, political statements or just to vent frustrations and despair.
Make no mistake, this is a tragic ending and our sympathies go out to the friends and families of the deceased.
However, our sympathies also go out to the police and emergency personnel who are being lambasted by some commentors on Facebook and other websites.
The RCMP and the emergency response team are being unfairly labelled, as are some of the residents of Slocan.
Anyone who thinks our police officers go out with the intention of killing someone — as some posts have indicated — obviously know little about law enforcement.
Officers risk their lives to protect the public. It’s just that simple.
Nobody can say they know that the suspect wouldn’t hurt anybody. Nobody can say that there was no danger. You can guess that, you can speculate that, you can believe it or assume it, but you don’t know.
Neither do the police. They have to treat the situation, a man with a gun, as life-threatening. He may have had trouble with mental health issues; that doesn’t make him non-threatening.
Had the suspect escaped, or hid inside a house and harmed an innocent bystander, we believe the same commenters would be complaining that the police didn’t do enough.
It’s a tragic outcome for everyone involved.