APRIL 5, 2004

To the Editor
The Rocky Mountain News
100 Gene Amole Way
Denver, CO 80204

Re: RE: Officer Turney

The debate over Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman's recommendation to suspend, rather than fire, Officer James Turney in the shooting death of a young man with serious mental or emotional problems highlights an odd --- maybe not so odd - liberal conundrum.

For years, public employees have been a well-defined and well-defended group of privileged workers, who received good pay and even extraordinarily good benefits - but most of all - who enjoy the privilege of being nearly impossible to fire.

Now, when one of the protected group apparently stands to benefit from that protectionism, some of the same crowd of liberal defenders that helped create the protectionist scheme is clamoring for the very penalty that they've so eloquently made impractical if not outright impossible to apply in the public sector.

Sure, the police union and police officers aren't commonly linked to the sandaled highbrows, who normally come out of the woodwork to defend public employees, and those same sandaled highbrows aren't normally the types to defend cops under any circumstances - but the connection is there, just the same, and one more example of the law of unintended consequences.

This is apart from whether or not Officer Turney deserves to be fired… and perhaps should be. The point is that the rules governing public employees have long exceeded reasonable bounds.

And what the liberals have ended up with here is comeuppance.

Sincerely yours,

Rick Johnson

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