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Darrell G. Graf, Published December 02 2012

Letter: ‘Not much we can do’ probably contributed to shooting incident

Burglaries, break-ins, thefts – a product of the economy or a gross indifference to the value of rights of life, safety and property?

With the small stuff of thefts from stores and vehicles to the gross incidents like the killing of a New Town, N.D., family, when will this stop?

One answer is there likely will be a hell of a slowdown of crime in Little Falls, Minn. We don’t have the facts needed to arrive at a formal conclusion (initial police/newspaper reports are often sketchy at best and many times flat-out wrong), so it is not likely to have a fact-based opinion on certain events.

I am in no means communicating that killing, as described in the reports published concerning Little Falls, is a solution to the incident. If I were a known burglar, I would be “on leave” from that area for a long time – in fact, forever. Corrupt gain does a dead man no good.

How many times did this Little Falls homeowner (victim) ask for help from the sheriff for previous burglaries and was told, “There’s not much we can do”? Many of us have heard that little speech, while the honest taxpaying citizen (and voter) gets charged with minor traffic and other small, incidental violations that mean nothing (except revenue) – while there seems to be this “there’s not much we can do” attitude from those sworn to protect us.

It turns out this Little Falls victim had previously reported crimes and was given that excuse; one cannot blame him for being prepared to defend his person and property. I only wish Grandma Johnson in New Town had been armed when her “visitor” showed up and destroyed her and her grandchildren’s lives …over nothing.

I’ve been a victim of burglary and responded in a non-armed fashion (I am a country boy at heart). After the perpetrator got out of the hospital, he got three years in the pen. I hope he learned that sometimes, even though I did not have a “rod” handy, the end result of being a burglar is not something he wanted to experience for the second time at my house.

When there is “not much we can do,” there is a lot you can do. The more this gets “done,” the less crime we will have. We know there are two fewer burglars in Little Falls. Hope the rest got the message – Americans are getting fed up.

Graf, Bismarck, is former police chief of Medina, N.D.