Crime, crime-fighting and their sad impacts have shocked Vancouver in recent days. As we go about our business, we ask ourselves what our community has become. Perhaps we could all do better, but how?
Early on July 22, two men broke into downtown Vancouver’s historic Kiggins Theater. They stole equipment and then brazenly returned several times during the night. The next day, 15-year veteran Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Brown, a member of the regional drug task force, was shot and killed while conducting surveillance of suspects with past criminal records.
The violation of Kiggins Theater, an Art Deco building symbolizing Vancouver’s treasured downtown core, is discouraging. Local businesses are emerging from the near-death experience of COVID. Even a “minor” property crime such as this strikes at a business owner’s will to survive. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Tragically, that was not the case the next day. Brown’s death has elicited a community response of palpable sorrow. Elected officials, the NAACP, and many others have issued statements. It is a struggle to find the right words. The last death of a police officer killed in the line of duty was 17 years ago.
Sheriff Chuck Atkins’ tribute was especially moving in praising Brown, and in promoting him to sergeant posthumously. But there are no words truly sufficient under the circumstances. Is it time to consider that deeds, not words, are called for?