To The Daily Sun,
Laconia Police Chief Canfield has stated that there is no evidence that the rooftop gunmen at Sunday's Black Lives Matter rally broke any laws, as no witnesses have come forward to say that they actually pointed their weapons at the crowd below. But such a report did make it to NHPR, where it was broadcast on Monday morning. If this did happen, I truly hope any witnesses will come forward.
The chief "had no problem" with the presence of armed counter-protesters, but the community members apparently didn't agree. Had I seen militia-types with assault weapons on the rooftop, I would have been alarmed enough to alert those around me as well as the police. What were they doing there? They did not shoot, but if they had chosen to do so, it would've been too late for those in the line of fire. We know from recent history that these things can happen anywhere — and they do.
Finally, the fact that there there is no training standard required to possess and carry assault weapons, as Chief Canfield noted, is not just outrageous, but frightening to most law-abiding citizens. Knowing that anyone, however unqualified, can brandish military-grade weapons doesn't make the public more secure.
I like to think that Chief Canfield's remarks were not intended to sound cavalier about public safety. But, to this reader at least, neither did they sound reassuring.