Some may ask why I have dedicated so much space on this blog to the shooting that occurred on the Blue Ridge Parkway this past week. There are several reasons.
Crime in our parks is a reflection of the criminal activity in local communities. Generally the types and frequency of crimes in parks are lower than in surrounding jurisdictions, but they can receive more media coverage and expressions of outrage from the public. Most think of National Parks as places of refuge, tranquility, and quiet. We all own a share of the parks and when our perception of sanctuary is shattered it affects us all. It is as if this horrendous criminal act has occurred in our own backyard.
The National Park Service’s Park Rangers and Special Agent that were involved in the initial response and investigation are also close personal friends of mine. These are the people that I worked with daily and on some occasion put my life in the hands of. I congratulate their efforts in aiding with the identification and apprehension of the suspect in this case. I also give thanks that they were all able to do their jobs efficiently and effectively returning safely home to their families.
Many people believe that the bureaucracies of law enforcement agencies develop rivalries that prevent cooperation. It has been my experience in the past - and this case proves as another good example- that this is not always the case. It took effort from all agencies’ involved to work together and make an arrest in such a short period. A citizen called in a tip that led to this arrest, but it was interagency cooperation that resulted in a safe and successful apprehension.
We as citizens should be proud and grateful to law enforcement officers who put it all on the line to keep us safe while ensuring the protection of our national heritage.