It is stunning that by virtue of entering an office with a knife, an attention-seeking, sick, criminal was able to shut down a large part of downtown Pittsburgh on a busy workday, interfering with millions of dollars of commerce and causing concern and worry on the part of tens of thousands, particularly for the pitiable victim that was held hostage and had reason to fear for his life throughout a six-hour ordeal that must have seemed like 60 years.
The perpetrator is said to have told police that he chose Gateway Center 3 for his intrusion because he had observed that access to the building was easy. Gateway Center management has now done the responsible thing and increased visible security. Who will pay for this? The law-abiding citizen, of course, not the intruder.
What has been learned of the actor should be frustrating and infuriating to those who adhere to the law. He was recently found to have committed numerous crimes, including a violent act in which he pushed a woman to the ground as he engaged in a carjacking, and leading police on a lengthy chase through area streets as he sought to evade arrest. The sentence was a mere six to 12 months in jail, but was immediately suspended, apparently because criminality is looked upon with extraordinary leniency when the criminal is a former member of the military as was the case here.
I do not believe the prospects of complete and immediate rehabilitation are great for an individual who has engaged in crimes against society and the lenient "sentence"/no sentence, dispensed to him by a Common Pleas Court Judge illustrates why I rarely vote to retain any incumbent jurist. The judicial system is a mess; it works best for the criminal and the criminal defendant. Probation is the order of the day even for serious crimes.
I wonder what the justice system tells the poor soul that was terrorized in his office by this character, a knife held to his throat and at his eyes during the horror as the criminal is alleged to have threatened to kill him about 50 times. How do we explain that every advantage must always be given to those who seek to shatter civilized society, and the heck with protecting the public from the likes of him? The proclivity of judges to release a violent criminal before the safety of the public can be reasonably assured is the reason that mandatory minimum sentences have been enacted into law. How different the situation would be if judges were held accountable in some meaningful way when the criminals they have freed went on to commit additional crimes.
The death of common sense is again evident.