Few Tragedies Unsettle Us Like the Murder of a Police Officer

Next month will mark the 40th anniversary of a tragedy, its memory eroded by time. On May 18, 1978, an Austin police officer was murdered, shot 10 times during a routine traffic stop by a University of Texas honors student-turned-drug dealer. It was my first week in the newspaper business. A callow teenage obituary clerk at the Austin paper, I watched the sleepy newsroom jolted into action. I saw shock on the faces of veteran reporters, some of whom had covered the 1966 tower shootings on the UT campus. The murder of a cop was one of the few things that could still rattle them - the same way it rattles me today, decades later. The way it rattles all of us, entire communities, every time it happens. You may think your taxes are too high; you may not like the way individual police officers conduct business in particular neighborhoods. You may have had some run-ins with law enforcement yourself.   Continue reading...

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