MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 19, 2013

Let justice system work for you


— Anyone who is angered or outraged over the alleged killing of a pit bull needs to let the justice system work.

A Cherokee teen allegedly killed a pit bull with an arrow and then posted a photo of the dog on Facebook.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputies have not talked to the teen since the alleged slaying.

They have set up a meeting with the teen for today.

Deputies must determine whether a crime has been committed.

That’s their job.

But posting of the photo has led many to be disgusted with the teen’s alleged actions.

Some have called law enforcement. That is exactly what they should have done.

But some have gone way beyond that.

They have posted the teen’s address online.

Giving out the teen’s address is — at the very least — extremely poor judgment and borders on inciting harassment.

Others have made death threats.

There is no doubt that making a credible death threat is against the law.

Vigilantism is not one bit better than the alleged crime.

The law says if  the teen killed the dog without provocation, he may be guilty of a crime.

The answer to that question needs to be determined by someone other than those reading about it on social media.

When someone finds out about a possible crime, that person should notify law enforcement.

Law enforcement should investigate and make an arrest, if necessary.

Prosecutors should determine whether to charge that person with a crime and decide whether to take the suspect to trial.

A jury should determine guilt.

A judge should pass sentence.

But so far, only the teen knows for sure if he took the life of the dog without provocation.

Everyone who is outraged with the alleged act should let the justice system work.

Anyone threatening the life of this teen should face a judge as assuredly as the teen might — if the justice system determines a crime has been committed.