On Oct. 4, David Bresnahan and others saw a van run a red light and strike another vehicle in West Jordan. What occurred after that has somehow become very confusing in a series of leading TV news stories and spectacular front-page newspaper headlines and articles.
Upon seeing the accident, Bresnahan and other witnesses began to get out of their cars, in an attempt to help the injured. Surprisingly, the van began to leave the scene. Bresnahan tried to move his car to block the fleeing van (which, if he had been successful, would have ended the whole scenario). When the driver slipped around him, Bresnahan and three bystanders chased the driver and another passenger in the van for some distance. The race then continued for some 200 yards on foot.The driver and the other person were attempting to escape over a fence and enter another neighborhood when Bresnahan, who has a concealed-carry permit, fired one shot from a .25-caliber handgun. He aimed purposely and safely into the soft dirt banks of a canal and ordered the suspects to stop. They did.
A great deal of criticism has been directed toward those who tried to step in and be of assistance - far more than toward those who committed the crime. As it turns out, these two apparently were driving under the influence of alcohol, in a car that had no license plates, at high speed, ran a red light, caused an accident, injured a female passenger in the car they collided with and were in the process of illegally leaving the scene of this accident, until they were captured by four men whom I would call heroes.
We seem to be focusing our attention completely on how to punish the person who actually made these men stop. The apparent message here is to mind your own business because if you care about others enough to get involved, you will soon come to deeply regret it.
Is this the message that we really want to send to four people who had enough courage to pursue and subdue two criminals? We may not all agree on the technique that Mr. Bresnahan used that day, but I find it difficult not to agree with and support what he tried to do and ultimately accomplished without endangering anyone. I would like to praise the courage of all four people involved.
It appears to me that by charging Bresnahan, there is a strong attempt to publicly make an example out of him - to show that we can't tolerate this kind of behavior, particularly from a public figure. In my opinion, he has set an example in this instance.
Let's not punish him for doing what many of us hope someone would have the courage to do for us, if we ever become unfortunate enough to be the victim. As sad as it may seem, a high percentage of our population will be in that very position at some point - looking for and depending on the hope that some onlooker will step in and help us when it is our emergency.