Today’s Sun Journal (New Bern, North Carolina) posted an article about the way Mayor Outlaw handled the recent deadly shooting of a policeman by a local young man. The young man also wounded another policeman. The shooting was horrible, and there is no way to defend the actions of the young man, who was killed during the incident. However, many policemen and residents of New Bern have criticized the way the Mayor handled the aftermath of the event. I think the criticism is unwarranted. First of all, there is no way the Mayor could have handled this that would have pleased everyone. Second of all, the Mayor is not in office to please everyone–he is there to keep order in the town, uphold the law, and do what he believes is right.
The article explains some of the actions of the Mayor in the aftermath of the shooting:
For his part, Outlaw said he went to Stallings’ funeral Thursday because he had known the family a long time.
“When somebody dies, there is a loss to the family, it doesn’t matter to me if it was cancer, a heart attack or someone getting run over by a train, dying a violent death,” he said. “I don’t focus on the death. I focus on the family. …My thought was I have a dear friend and if that friend needs me I’m there for them. That in no way distracts my admiration and mourning for officer Alexander Thalmann. I don’t control why people die. I just know that I’m going to be there for the family.”
The Mayor did the compassionate thing, I don’t think the criticism is appropriate–he was not honoring the shooter– he was being a friend to a family going through a very difficult time. The family did not shoot the policeman–their son did. Why would anyone want to deny them their friend at their son’s funeral?
The Mayor is the Mayor of all of the City of New Bern–he has responsibilities to all of the residents along with the obligations to friends that all of us have. I understand the anger of the law enforcement community, but I don’t agree with it. This is a time to extend grace and pray for healing in the community.