Most people like to talk about the freedoms we have, and the principles our country was founded. Many of those same people are the first to advocate doing away with those protections when public safety is invoked. It shouldn't suprise us - the desire to protect ourselves and our families is necessary for survival. Unfortunately, what often happens is that innocent people are caught in the net.

The Twin Peaks shootings is the most recent example. Clearly that was a horrific incident, and its a miracle no innocent bystanders were injured or killed - at least as far as we know. What happened afterwards is equally as troubling though. The police arrested and took into custody over 170 people; a willing magistrate then set the bonds so high they are going to remain in jail until everything is sorted out. When the dust settles, my guess is that many of those people are only going to be guilty of having been a member of a motorcycle club.

The sheer number of arrests should be an indication that the police have no idea what happened, and who did what. It's difficult to imagine that all 170 committed some criminal act. At this point I'm sure the stories are conflicting, and the challenge will be deciding who is responsible for what. Just become you belong to a club and were there doesn't make you guilty.

I admit, the decision for police is a difficult one. Do you arrest everyone and try to sort it out later? Or do you wait to make arrests after you have all of the evidence. Clearly they chose the former, and I doubt many people are going to be concerned with that. The longer the investigation takes though the more of a tragedy it becomes. Let's hope they move quickly. Charge those who committed crimes and release the rest.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.
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