"We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings."

Barack Obama

In a 1962 episode of "Andy Griffith," Barney Fife is confronted by two large farmers selling fruits and vegetables along the roadside without a valid permit.

When the farmers attempt to bully and intimidate the scrawny deputy, Barney points to the star on his chest and utters with conviction: "You're both a lot bigger than I am, but this badge represents a lot of people. And they're a lot bigger than either of you."

A republic without law and order cannot endure.

And that profound premise should be food for thought in communities across America in the wake of recent killings of an assistant district attorney and a prosecutor and his wife in Texas.

Law enforcement officials representing the local sheriff's office, Texas Rangers and the FBI believe the slayings are related and suspect a white supremacist prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, could be involved.

Attacks on prosecutors, judges, and other law enforcement officials cannot be condoned. They must be dealt with expediently and with steely resolve.

Jefferson County is installing security measures in the Courthouse to provide more safety for all workers and citizens. Our judicial officials must be able to operate without fear of reprisal - both at the office and at home.

Just as they protect and serve us, it is our duty to make certain the lawless are aware they will pay a severe and certain price for attempts to intimidate officials or disrupt and demean the judicial process.

Barney was right, that badge represents all of us. A personal attack on our judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers represents a collective assault on our community, our nation, and our unyielding commitment to thrive in a civil society.