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We deserve better 

It's difficult to be clear-eyed during an emotional time, when our human instinct is to focus on our survival and to adulate those who have seemingly protected us.

Such is the case with the recent ordeal in Paso Robles involving a murder and the subsequent manhunt for the perpetrator. Once the killer was eliminated, the community sprang forth with accolades for the law-enforcement personnel involved.

I rise with a counter perspective, based on statements made by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson and others:

1. Suspect Mason James Lira (a young man with numerous emotional problems) "shot up" the police station, yet he managed to "escape" when officers responded, and one deputy was shot in the face.

2. Lira was then spotted in an apartment complex, which was "surrounded" by officers, yet he managed to "escape." All of the injuries and waste that followed were due to that incompetence.

3. After Lira was spotted at a mini-mart and departed to the nearby riverbed, law enforcement again "surrounded" him. This time there were hundreds of personnel involved, some in battle armaments; dozens of assault vehicles; at least two aircraft; and a drone. Despite this "impressive" show of force, Lira, apparently armed with only two handguns, managed to hold off his pursuers for more than 12 hours, with two more deputies injured, perhaps one from "friendly fire."

Yes, the suspect was finally killed. Yes, no one in the community was injured during the standoffs.

But I ask you: Is this bungling of the situation for almost two days worthy of our congratulations?

I call for the California Attorney General's office to investigate this fiasco. It should not be investigated by the people involved in this colossal waste of personnel and weaponry.

Call it Monday Morning Quarterbacking if you wish, but I believe that we deserve better from the "professionals" we hire to "protect" us.

Will Powers

San Luis Obispo

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