Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two Arkansas Cops Killed by Anti-Government Activists

Police officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were killed on Thursday during a routine traffic stop in West Memphis, Arkansas.  Some time later, their killers, a father and son, were shot and killed themselves in a shootout with police.  Two other officers were wounded.  Such stories are tragic but not all that uncommon. 

What is uncommon is the killer's motivation for shooting these officers.  Unlike your average traffic-stop-gone-wrong, where the suspect is trying to get away from police because they are wanted for a more serious crime or because they have something in the car they don't want police to find, these shooters were not on the run from the law.  They were so-called "sovereign citizen" activists.  They did not recognize the legitimacy of the government or the authority of the police.

Death in the line of duty is unbelievably complicated.  Paudert and Evans' fellow officers undoubtedly want to hon
or them for their service, as does the general public.  They died protecting and serving the rest of us.  At the same time, their deaths are scary, to us and to other police officers.  Cops know that any traffic stop could be their last, and when it actually happens to someone they work with it drives that point home rather drastically.  Spouses and children of cops, similarly, will look at their officer loved ones and wonder whether this could happen to them.  Add to this the fact that, while Paudert and Evans worked to protect society, they could not adequately protect themselves, and there is probably a lot of blame and guilt in the law enforcement community in West Memphis.

All of this is textbook stuff that goes on whenever a police officer is killed in the line.  But this case has a complicating factor on top of all that.  This was not, in fact, a typical cop killing.  These officers were not killed because they were trying to get a bad guy who didn't want to be gotten.  They were killed because they were cops, period.  There is no amount of training and strategy that can adequately prevent someone who wants to kill you no matter what and at any cost from doing so. 

If you read the news stories about this shooting, you'll find lots and lots of information about the shooters.  Their names are easy to find, as is information about their background.  The names of Paudert and Evans, meanwhile, are something of an afterthought.  They aren't as colorful characters as their killers.  They don't make as good a story.  And they aren't, frankly, as scary to the general public as their shooters are.  There are people out there -- the Hutaree, the Guardians of the Free Republics, or just two guys like these -- who not only don't like the government but want to take it down, and are willing to take others with them.  That makes it scary to be a cop.  It also makes it scary to be someone who thinks having cops around is a generally good idea.


Meet the Quarterback

My Photo
Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at
View my complete profile

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Quarterback for Kindle