It was with great interest that I read your January 23 report on the Grand Jury’s finding in the shooting death of Cpl James M. Dixon III. After thinking about this case for more than a year, I agree with the Grand Jury, and presumably, the GBI findings. Simply stated, James was holding a gun. He would not, or more likely could not surrender his gun so the use of deadly force was justified. Note, however, that the term “justified” is not synonymous with “necessary” or “morally correct” or “humane.” There are still many unanswered questions in this case. Among them are: Did the sheriff determine that his entire department was incompetent to handle one man armed with a shotgun? Did the sheriff have any non-lethal systems at his disposal? Why, after talking to James face to face, did the sheriff walk away and turn him over to SWAT? Did James threaten to harm anyone? If it had been the sheriff’s child instead of James, would he have walked away? I understand that the snipers are trained to shoot only to kill: is their policy “Surrender or die”?
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