This is a belated first response to John McCauley's two letters criticizing my stance regarding the Kuenzli-Fish affair.
McCauley and some others took umbrage at my referring to him as a "newcomer." While newcomer is a term of derision in some communities and areas in most of the country it is simply a descriptive term with neither positive nor negative connotations. I believe that to be the case in the Rim country based in part on the number of favorable profiles of newcomers who appear in the Roundup. While I have lived here for two decades, I consider myself a relative newcomer and certainly in no way an old-timer.
The contention by McCauley and some of his supporters that I took the position that he had not been here long enough to be entitled to express an opinion publicly on a local matter is utter hogwash. As far as I am concerned, from the moment McCauley first set foot on local soil he had as much right to sound off on local matters as the most prominent living descendent of this area's pioneer families.
If Mr. McCauley is of the opinion that law enforcement officers in this country are generally given too much discretionary authority, I might very well agree with him. Nevertheless, I find his statement that the investigating detective in this situation "represented himself as judge and jury" patently ridiculous. I don't think there is any doubt that he had full authority to decide whether or not to make a case against Fish while he was on the scene.
I believe that the Coconino County District Attorney opted to override the detective's finding and ask for Fish's indictment because the McCauley-promoted petition had the same effect on him as a 300-member lynch mob outside the courthouse howling for Fish's blood would have had.
Mr. McCauley stressed that it was a grand jury and not the county attorney that indicted Fish for second-degree murder. It would appear that McCauley is not aware of the well-known adage that "any district attorney worth his (or her) salt can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."
Otis M. Trimble, Payson