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Another View -- John Coughlin: From Watertown, Mass., thanks to State Police and people of NH

Please excuse the delay in writing you, as things have been a little crazy around here lately. Very early last Friday morning, my wife and I had the unpleasant experience of being awakened by gunfire and explosions followed by hours of sirens, helicopters and emergency and law enforcement vehicles zooming past our house.

When an armed terrorist, likely wounded and one who was already in the midst of an indiscriminate killing spree, was roaming our neighborhood, you can imagine the fear, chaos and confusion that followed. Within moments, my home town was crawling with local, state, regional and federal law enforcement personnel and all of their vehicles and equipment.

By daybreak on Friday, at the end of my driveway, local police appeared with guns drawn and were eventually replaced by even more heavily armed Massachusetts State Police. Then what appeared to be military-type armored vehicles rolled down the street, deploying SWAT teams throughout my neighborhood.

About a half dozen heavily armed soldiers came up my driveway with weapons ready and then fanned out. The officer in charge came to the front door. He quickly identified himself as an officer of the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team.

This gentleman could not have been more cordial and reassuring. After a series of questions, he then asked permission for his team to search several sections of my home. They were more than welcome to go wherever they pleased.

Watching heavily armed SWAT team members move from room to room in my home yelling "Clear" at each turn was, I admit, a little unnerving. One of them must have understood what my wife and I were going through. On the way out of my finished cellar, he winked and said "Great man-cave." (ANY member of that SWAT Team is more than welcome back. I'll have an ice-cold beer waiting for you!)

Those members of the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team were extremely efficient, professional and clearly lethal. Man, am I glad they are on our side! As unsettling as their visit was, we were very relieved that they were there to protect our lives, and we are very grateful for that protection. Very grateful!

My wife and I offer our heartfelt "Thank you" to the good people of New Hampshire for racing your law enforcement personnel and equipment to Watertown to protect us and our community. Special thanks to the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team for placing your lives at risk for our protection and benefit. It was a gesture that will never be forgotten.

John Coughlin lives in Watertown, Mass.


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