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The winners and the losers

SHARE The winners and the losers

Winner: Sgt. Maj. Patrick N. Watkins Jr. had to wait a long time to be officially recognized for his heroism during a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam nearly 31 years ago. Last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine awarded him the Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor.

The mission, in which five of his team members were wounded and one was killed, was top-secret and, therefore, classified until 1991, which helps explain why it took so long to award the medal. But the delay can serve a useful purpose. It can remind today's generation of the important sacrifices men and women have made through the ages in order to preserve freedom.

Loser: When police decide to chase suspected criminals through the streets, few people end up winning. Now, a woman who was struck last summer while in her car by a vehicle being chased by Salt Lake police has decided to sue the city and the driver police were chasing. The woman was stopped at a red light. When the suspect hit her, she ended up in a coma for a time, and she was left with brain damage, multiple ruptures, internal organ damage and several bone fractures.

We have no comment on the merits of the suit, but it raises the much larger issue of whether officers should engage in high-speed chases that could result in greater harm to innocent people. In this case, the suspect was driving a stolen car, which, while certainly a crime, may not be worth the risk to public safety.

Loser: While we're on the subject of crime and criminals, what were a handful of people thinking last week when they apparently grabbed some of the money a bank robber had left behind in a parking lot and then calmly boarded a bus? The robber, who had just held up a nearby bank, was being chased by a hypnotist at the nearby Avalon Theater when a dye pack in the money exploded. He threw money out of his sweatshirt and ran.

The hypnotist deserves credit for being a conscientious citizen. The folks who blithely stuffed their pockets with cash that obviously didn't belong to them deserve a lot of sleepless nights and painful soul-searching.