Our opinion: Shooting could have been much worse

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The headlines on the front of this week's Journal could have been very grim indeed, and we're grateful they're not.

According to police and prosecutors, officers from multiple agencies had responded to Matthew Novick's home on Red Mountain Road in Arlington early Monday morning when Novick allegedly opened fire in their direction. Police returned fire.

Everyone involved is lucky to be alive, including Novick, who was at Albany Medical Center in critical but stable condition as of press time Wednesday. He's now facing charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

We're especially relieved that none of Novick's neighbors were hurt in the exchange of gunfire.

But in the meantime, our thoughts dart back to the story the Journal published in 2017 on the 45th anniversary of the death of Manchester Police Chief Dana L. Thompson. As many area residents might remember, Thompson, for whom Manchester's crown jewel of a park was named, was shot and killed in the line of duty during a robbery at a pharmacy on Main Street on Dec. 12, 1972.

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The descriptions of that event and its aftermath remain startling nearly half a century later.

It seems impossible that an attempted robbery in Manchester could escalate into a gunfight resulting in serious injuries and death. But it all really happened.

And if Monday's incident teaches us anything, it's that the pastoral calm we take for granted is not a given.

Police know they have a dangerous job. And it sounds melodramatic, but it's true: Even here in Vermont, where violent crime is relatively rare, every officer knows that the next call could put his or her life on the line.

We are grateful that those men and women accept that risk in protecting

human life and the rule of law.


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