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To the Editor:

I was the first person to speak at the public hearing on the city budget. My comments were the only ones that addressed the topic of funding the budget itself. (They) were followed by a lemming-like stream of nonconstructive comments parroting a (defund the police budget) mantra basically protesting the police use of tear gas.

I try to always be objective in my thinking and combine facts with my personal experience to (hopefully) arrive at a logical conclusion. The term “peaceful” went out the window with the brick tossing so how to deescalate the situation without the use of physical force became the challenge for the police.

I have had experience with tear gas. Part of my military training include a class in CBR (chemical, biological, and radiological warfare. My group met in a sealed building where we were introduced to the array of chemical gasses that we could face and to the proper use of a gas mask.

The importance of wearing a gas mask was demonstrated when we donned our masks and the room was filled with tear gas. We then found out if we had correctly put it on. We were then instructed to remove our masks and got a whiff of the least deadly of the gasses. The doors were opened and we headed for them.

The point here is that the tear gas was the least injurious response to the brick throwing. In my opinion, the confrontation was preplanned. A brick doesn’t suddenly as if by magic appear. The unfortunate thing here is that a group of young people were not thinking and acting as the responsible individuals that they normally are.

Instead, they allowed one person to convert their individual idealism into what was becoming a lawbreaking mob. It seems that the old saying that “One bad apple can spoil the barrel” applies in this case.

Richard Baines

Murfreesboro

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