Does a Leopard really change his spots? We ask this in connection with a front page story in Friday’s Herald concerning the release of a convicted murderer from prison.
Shawn Jarrett, 49, was released from prison after 30 years behind bars for strangling his neighbor. Jarrett admitted he did not know why he killed 64-year-old Mary Sposito in her Farrell home.
But in announcing Jarrett’s release, Mercer County District Attorney Robert Kochems took the opportunity to remind all of us that “extremely dangerous people” walk the streets.
Actually, we are reminded of that all too often. The slaying of 20 children and 6 adults at a Connecticut elementary school drove that home pretty well.
Yes, dangerous people walk the streets locally as well. And part of the problem is the justice system which allows it.
Jarrett was only a teenager when he committed the senseless murder. But is there any indication that he really has been rehabilitated and no longer a threat to society?
Kochems seems not to think so. But when criminals serve out their sentences, they are freed. And there are a lot of others who have been released from prison who will someday be headed back to jail. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak.
The record of rehabilitating criminals is not a good one. Just as the record of rehabilitating drug addicts is a huge failure. Still, as a society we must try.
Violence has become more prevalent in Mercer County in recent years. Just this past week we saw a headline story on the killing of a French Creek Township man, David Dignall, who was shot and his body burned. What precipitated that still remains a mystery.
Family and friends are still saddened by the senseless shooting death of well-liked Farrell businessman Bill Basilone, who was assassinated in a brutal manner outside his popular restaurant last year. The suspects in that case are still awaiting trial, but how long will they get in prison if they are convicted? And what happens if they ever return to the streets?
One of the major concerns involves the drug trade that has moved into the Shenango Valley, especially the Detroit connection. Far too many people are carrying guns and at times have they shown their willingness to use them. Especially on each other. But of course, even when large crowds witness violence, nobody saw what happened. Until that culture changes, things won’t improve.
In informing the public to be aware of dangerous people, Kochems made the following recommendations:
ä Lock doors and windows.
ä Don’t admit strangers to your home or give rides to strangers.
ä Report any suspicious activity to police.
We echo the sentiments expressed by the district attorney. And we express hope that everyone has a happy, healthy and most of all — safe — New Year in 2013.
Down 18 with under 5 left and win, you’re kidding, right?
Even the most ardent of Farrell supporters couldn’t fathom what was to transpire during the last four minutes of the Steelers' District 10 basketball playoff game last week. It was a comeback from the basketball dead for the ages.
OUR VIEW: Be careful – better yet, stay home
If you must be out and snow squalls hamper your vsision, pull off the road when and where it is safe to do so. The life you save may be your own as well as that of another driver.
OUR VIEW: Don’t imperil the students with a nearby injection well
We side with Saxton and the school board on this issue of fighting any well-drilling near the school. While the pros and cons of fracking are still being debated around the country, erring on the side of safety should be No. 1 when it comes to protecting children.
Holy broccoli! Obesity may be dropping among toddlers
I’ll have to admit that I was a bit excited to read a recent story in The Herald that carried the headline: “National drop in obese toddlers, study suggests.”
My wife baby-sits our granddaughter Kara on weekdays and she is definitely not obese. Among her favorite things to eat are cantaloupe, grapes and get this – broccoli.
Soundoff from Sunday, Feb. 23
Why no coverage of the Mercer County Democratic Committee governor’s brunch last Saturday? It was held at the Sharpsville VFW - just down the road from The Herald’s office. Four candidates showed up - some traveling from across the state in bad weather. Zero Herald reporters. I see there was (still) days of Valentine-type romance stories all over the front page ... zzzzz
When we needed a stitch, ‘Millie’ had it all sewed up
A lot of things happen in my life today that take me back to my fond days of growing up on the 1000 block of Emerson Avenue in Farrell.
It can be the simplest of things – which is only appropriate because in retrospect, things were uncomplicated in the 1950s and 1960s.
OUR VIEW: Hoping for best for rail project
We find ourselves dismayed at times when we learn of other interesting economic developments in areas outside of Mercer County. It leaves us and others in the county scratching our heads and asking. “Why not here?”
OUR VIEW: County commissioner’s role requires full-time commitment
Try this at work: Tell your boss you aren’t going to show up during the day because you have another job; you’re going to skip meetings, but you’ll check your e-mails often and catch up on some work on evenings and weekends.
PennDOT plan for freeway barriers falls short of mark
Here are some thoughts from a guy who is very glad to see that PennDOT has finally agreed to put up barriers on part of the Shenango Valley Freeway under the Oakland Avenue Viaduct.
It was always school work before play around the house
I was listening to the radio on my way to The Herald one day last week, and caught most of an ad sponsored by the state education association about how its members are trying to forge stronger bonds between students and their parents to help the education of our youth.
So-so interest by bar owners, could trim impact of new law
MAYBE THE recent news that a Pennsylvania law allowing legalized gambling in bars won’t affect private clubs and charities as much as first imagined.
Beatles’ legacy remembered, along with ‘day the music died’
Music plays a role in almost everyone’s life growing up. For most of us today, that ranges from doo wop to hip hop, depending on age of course.
You can tell the size of a winner’s heart by his eyes
The eyes can tell it all. As they did in the 1978 movie thriller, “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” in which fashion photographer Laura Mars is able to look through the eyes of a serial killer as he commits his crimes.
Don’t fret Phil’s forecast. He’s wrong 61% of the time
When Punxsutawney Phil crawled out of his lair and saw his shadow, meaning that there will be six more weeks of winter, I was happy to hear that forecast.
When is it adult bullying, or just dishing out discipline?
I fully understand the horrific situation when a child is bullied by other kids – especially when that badgering takes the form of cyber bullying, which is nearly impossible to resolve.
It’s different than a case of physical bullying, which is a great deal easier to control. The sad consequences of children being bullied by others are well-documented, which have included emotional breakdowns that have at times led to suicides, and to a lesser degree, poor performance at school.
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