Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017
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EDITORIAL

To protect and serve

Bike-Path-Attack-Hero-Officer

New York City Police Officer Ryan Nash speaks to reporters at the Suffolk County Police Department's Fifth Precinct on Nov. 1, 2017, in Patchogue, N.Y. Nash shot the driver of a rental truck that ran down pedestrians and bicyclists in a suspected terrorism attack in New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

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New York City Police Officer Ryan Nash had a gun, and he knew how to use it.

Officer Nash, 28, shot and wounded Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbek immigrant charged with plowing a truck through a crowd of bicyclists and pedestrians in Lower Manhattan on Oct. 31, killing eight and wounding 12. After Saipov emerged from the rented truck that he crashed into a school bus, yelling “God is great” in Arabic and waving paintball and pellet guns, Officer Nash felled him with a shot to the abdomen.

Officer Nash has been lauded as a hero, and that he surely is.

Yet, Officer Nash, a five-year veteran of the police force, has been nothing but humble about his actions.

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Terrorist attacks are likely to occur ever more frequently for the foreseeable future.  That means providing police officers with the necessary weapons and other tools they need. While the police  are often characterized as trigger-happy and heavy-handed, the New York attack shows the critical importance of creating an environment in which officers know they can act forcefully when needed. They need our moral as well as physical and financial support.

But communities must do more than prepare their police departments. They need to adopt New York’s stoic perseverance — its inhabitants’ refusal to be intimidated by terrorism or to alter their lives in response to it.

More than once in recent years, the job of stopping a terrorist has fallen on the shoulders of one officer. A gunman who stormed Canada’s parliament in 2014 was shot dead by the sergeant-at-arms. In March, a lone officer fatally shot a terrorist in London who drove his vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman. Now add to those ranks Officer Nash, the ultimate good guy with skill and a sense of duty.

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