It was one of those precious moments in Payson history - Friday, the 26th of February, at the Charleston Motor Inn. There they were: two dozen of Gila County and Payson's finest, the Special Response Team in camouflage suits with beanbag shotgun loads, half of Payson's fire department with nozzles ready and one EMT vehicle.
With the National Guard recently removed from Payson, the backup was clearly marginal for World War Three.
Everyone in the crowd must have been wondering why the perp didn't just open the door and come out. Well, he did, and his worst fears were borne out. Unarmed, he was shot three times with beanbags.
I mean, why have all this stuff if you can't use it? Right, Chief? Thankfully, he had the presence of mind not to put his hand in his pocket. Otherwise, he may have been 41'd ala New York style.
The important part of this exercise is that the residents of Payson were shown that, with their hard-earned tax dollars, government has equipped and staffed the police to be ready for almost anything, including voter protests. Chief, have you requested the armored vehicle and the bomb squad yet?
My thanks go to the intrepid photographer who documented these events and captured the memorable shots we all saw in Tuesday's paper. With a little coaxing, Chief, I'll bet the Roundup will make some poster-sized blow-ups for the new police station. The rest of us will make do with the front page ones, which are almost suitable for framing.
Really folks, this was a legend in the making; and, remember, you were here when it happened.