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by Abigail Van Buren

Devil's Advocate Has Sympathy for Cops Who Lose Their Cool

DEAR ABBY: I am an 84-year-old woman who would like to play the devil's advocate, but in this case, I would like to know who the devil is.

An officer of the law, whose job it is to reprimand anyone who is breaking the law, must drive 80 to 100 miles an hour on a freeway, chasing someone who is endangering the lives of everyone on the freeway, including himself.

Abby, how can we expect a police officer (who doesn't know whether he will go home to his wife and kids that night) to drive at breakneck speed for an hour or more, and keep his composure when he finally catches up with the criminal? If he's human, he will lash out at the culprit. Then, it seems to me, everyone is appalled at the behavior of the police officer -- instead of the one who is breaking the law.

Ten-to-one, the criminal is high on something, and though the marks on him are visible, I'll bet he didn't feel the blows as much as the high he was getting on the substance, which gave him the courage to drive that fast.

What say you, Abby? -- ELEANOR FROM BROOKLYN

DEAR ELEANOR: I can understand your frustration, but tolerating police brutality will not reduce our crime rate. The police are trained (and paid) to apprehend criminals. They are NOT vigilantes who may enforce their own code of punishment.

All citizens would be in great danger if taking the law into our own hands became acceptable.