Some thoughts on the past week:
Take a breath
Wilkes-Barre had its third fatal shooting of the year Thursday night, reportedly following a scuffle after a basketball game in Coal Street Park.
Wilkes-Barre and surrounding communities have more than enough trouble with criminals buying and selling drugs, as well as people in gangs. Their ilk have no respect for the community or the law or other people. Frankly, violence from them isn’t a surprise.
However a pick-up game of basketball shouldn’t end with a call to the coroner and a pool of blood in the street.
There’s no winner here: not the city, not the neighborhood. Not the families and friends on either side of this fight.
There’s little hope that hot heads read editorials much less take advice, but we offer it nonetheless. Leave the adrenaline and bravado on the basketball court. And when confrontation comes a knocking, be the bigger man. Walk away.
Honor the honorable
On Wednesday the name of disgraced ex-state Sen. Robert J. Mellow was removed from buildings on the campuses of Marywood University, Lackawanna College and Keystone College. Last month council members in Mellow’s home borough of Blakely voted to remove Mellow’s name from a park in the Peckville section of the community.
The removals are warranted. Mellow is serving 16 months in a federal prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for using his state Senate staff to do political work for himself and friends. A state grand jury report charged Mellow with corrupt organizations, bribery and conspiracy, among other offenses.
But the question should be asked why Mellow’s name was ever put on these buildings?
Mellow was an elected official, not a hero deserving recognition or a benefactor who used hard-earned money to endow institutions with capital. Mellow was elected to work for taxpayers. He steered taxpayers funds throughout the state.
Mellow’s name should not have been on these buildings and the public shouldn’t condone such grandiose, misplaced gestures. It creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, of the possibility of preferential treatment, even for an elected official whose credibility hasn’t been challenged.
And that goes for buildings and parks named for disgraced ex-Congressman Daniel J. Flood.
Honor the heroes. Honor the dead. Honor virtue, fidelity and integrity. Carve that in stone.
Salute to the flagman
Congratulations to Jim Walsh, a Wilkes-Barre resident who refused to surrender in his efforts to get more American flags on display in Wilkes-Barre.
On Tuesday, Walsh announced at Wilkes-Barre City Hall in front of the police station the U.S. American Flag Committee Fund to raise money to purchase flags for display in the city. There are several phases to the plan to have more flags on the Market Street Bridge, Public Square, North and South Main streets and Coal Street.
Walsh has been strident in his mission to have a stronger show of patriotism in the community. He’s hounded city hall; he’s badgered this newspaper with visits, calls and letters. He certainly deserves credit for his perseverance.
And if you agree with him, make a donation to the fund or show your support by displaying an American flag on your own home or business.