Letter: Lingering questions about shooting in Oak Creek
Last week, in a quiet town where my children play, a violent man shot up multiple homes. There aren’t words for the amount of hurt our community is feeling, and my heart goes out to all of you who are injured, traumatized or missing your loved ones. This should not have happened. In fact, as I process everything and sort my thoughts, I have lingering questions.
• Why wasn’t I notified that a violent criminal was released so close to my home? Are there more? We alert citizens of public risk in other areas, such as the sex offender registry. Please give us the information we need to assess our risk in the future.
• Thank you to the gun owner who stopped the shooter. I offer my condolences that you were put in this position. Know your community is grateful this event didn’t go on for one moment longer.
• How did the shooter illegally obtain a firearm, despite being a felon?
• Thank you, first responders. You take on the heavy task of walking into scenes of bloodshed and violence to advocate for the victims. You are heroic and courageous. We see you.
• What level of accountability can I expect for community leaders who released a violent criminal into the streets? Who made this decision and why? Will they remember how this ended as they make future decisions on similar cases? Are the victims’ families informed on the legal actions they can take?
• There are many cases where violent criminals have been released during the coronavirus pandemic to prevent crowding in prisons. How is this considered less dangerous than COVID-19? Do not mischaracterize me — I believe in protecting the vulnerable from this disease, but prisons exist to keep domestic violence offenders away from the people they target. If a criminal caught COVID-19 in jail, the chances of recovery are high. Most importantly, their chances are far higher than their victims’ chances when they are released from jail. Our system and our community need to put victims and survivors above an abuser’s freedom.
In summary, I am asking for three simple things. They are legal transparency, legal accountability and for our system to prioritize victims over violent abusers. Moving forward, those who trample on the rights of innocent people should not be allowed to continue, and preventable deaths should be prevented.
Routt GOP secretary
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