I normally don’t respond to anonymous attack postings on Muse. I say what I have to say and stand behind it.  But a post earlier today by a cop’s wife who identified herself only as "checkmate" requires a response.

Although I’ve only lived in Floyd County a few years my husband assured me the residents were really nice. But I see a lot of people like Doug Thompson, liberal agitators. I wonder if Doug Thompson would have been happy if Trooper Hughes was fatally wounded? Another dead officer, a good one?

Checkmate, you’re a damned fool if you believe for a second that I — as either a citizen or a journalist — would welcome the death of a police officer. Human life is sacred and I respect those who put their lives on the line to protect others. I thank God that Trooper Hughes survived the attack and I also pray that Branscome is brought to justice for his assault on a law enforcement officer and his many other crimes.

I have a high level of admiration and respect for the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department. It is one of the best rural departments I have encountered in over 40 years of dealing with law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. They work for unbelievably low wages.  A starting customer service rep at Echo Star makes more than a deputy with five years’ experience. That in itself is a crime

I consider Shannon Zeman a friend. He drove long haul trucks with one of my brothers before entering law enforcement. Jimmy Howery, a retired state trooper and current court baliff, is our neighbor and I’ve known Chief Investigator Jeff Dalton’s family for years. Investigator Steve Graham and I share a passion for photography and have spent many hours discussing that passion.  Likewise, most the state troopers assigned to Floyd County are rational, professional law enforcement officers and we have discussed the topic of rational versus over-agressive law enforcement tactics a number of time. I also serve on the regional Alcohol Safety Action Program advisory board with police chiefs from a number of area jurisdictions.  I’ve known many police officers over the years and the vast majority are dedicated public servants who put their lives on the line to protect all of us.  I support the death penalty for those convicted of killing a police officer and think the criminal justice system is far too soft on those who break the law.

But I cannot, and I will not, stand silent about what I see as the abuses of some members of the State Police Tactical Team. I cannot, and will not, show respect for an officer who points a loaded automatic weapon at a home owner whose only crime is being in his own home. I cannot, and will not, respect officers who disrepect county sheriff’s deputies by making jokes about them over breakfast at the Blue Ridge Restaurant. I’ve sat at a nearby table this past week and heard their derision about the "local yokels."  When I called them on it, they did not response but one later challenged me for taking photos of their armored vehicle. I cannot, and will not, support the swagger and attitudes of those who act like they are above the law.  Police departments are not para military units nor should they act like one.

My comments have been aimed squarely at what I see as over-agressive tactics by some of the Virginia State Police tactical squad members. Their actions discredit the many other professional officers who gave their time to help out in Floyd over the past week. Their tactics are too similar to what we saw from the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Criminal Interdiction Team this past summer at FloydFest.

As I said Checkmate, you are a damned fool to think, for a second, that I would ever welcome the death of a police officer, even one whose tactics I find overzealous. You are free to have an opinion about what I write but such an incredibly insulting claim cannot, and will not, go unanswered.