DEAR ABBY: Recently here in the Santa Rosa area, a police officer shot and killed a man who was behaving in an irrational manner. He was advancing toward the officer with a wooden bar in his hand.
A few weeks ago, a man was killed at a service station because he attacked a police officer with a screwdriver.
Abby, I think I have a way for the police to protect themselves without killing anybody if they feel threatened.
I have always enjoyed "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom." When they have shown episodes where they were checking on the health of a potentially dangerous creature such as an elephant, rhino, etc., they shot the creature with a tranquilizer before approaching it!
It seems to me that having a tranquilizer gun in his hand instead of a .357-caliber Magnum would give the police the means to gain control of an incident, and allow everyone to go home to their families without being in a coffin.
Why can't the police use a tranquilizer gun in cases where they feel threatened? -- WAYNE IN SANTA ROSA, CALIF.
DEAR WAYNE: That's an interesting question, and one that I took to James Butts, chief of police in Santa Monica, Calif., who responded, "Tranquilizing agents don't affect everyone uniformly. Therefore you cannot predict whether or not you have a sufficient dose to tranquilize the individual.
"Second, any tranquilizer will take time to enter the bloodstream and sedate the individual. If someone is advancing on you with a deadly weapon or a threatening object, there's no way a tranquilizer would take effect in the two to three seconds it would take someone to seriously injure you."