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Friday, January 4, 2013

A tragedy strikes the 'dale.

On January 4, 2012 in the morning a tragedy struck the 'dale area. According to WTAE news:

A state police trooper shot and killed a suspect with whom he reportedly had a violent altercation Friday morning at the Crossroads Plaza shopping center.
Yellow police tape surrounds an area outside a grocery store while the investigation continues at the shopping plaza, just off Route 819 in East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County. (SLIDESHOW: Photos from the scene)
Witnesses told WTAE Channel 4 Action News reporter Ashlie Hardway that the situation began inside Save a Lot, where a man was told to pay for snacks that he was eating. A witness said the man didn't reply when a clerk told him to pay.
Police said a trooper responded and was cut by the man on the head with scissors. The trooper then shot him near the store entrance, and he ran into the parking lot and collapsed.
"I just saw the fighting going on. It didn't last very long," witness Joyce Gales said. "Then I heard four shots. The man ran."
Police said they were first called to a nearby Walmart store after the same man was threatening employees there with scissors. He left and went to Save a Lot, where the fight and shooting happened, police said.
The suspect was identified as Seth O'Donnell. An Excela Health Frick Hospital spokeswoman said O'Donnell was pronounced dead in the emergency room. Without being more specific, police said he was from the area and had prior run-ins with authorities.
Police said the injured trooper was getting stitches for his cut and would be OK. His name has not been released.

We are quickly reminded by this event that our small town is not immune to problems. No one is protected wherever the road leads them. 

As a normal adult, curiosity and wonder often takes us to various news sources to learn facts. Sadly, this if often friends and facebook. While we realize that information is often speculation and rumor at this point, we will grasp on any information to learn more.

Curiosity often turns to fear as we start to connect pieces of a puzzle together. We wonder if victims or perpetrators are people we know. Could we somehow have a direct link to this event?  We start to worry about our loved ones and children. Is the school locked? Is someone I know hurt or killed?

Fear is then lessened when we find out facts. "Whew, no one I know." "Schools lock-down, good."

Then fear turns often to anger...."But, it could have been my sister, brother, child..." We ask ourselves why tragic events happen. As humans, we are quick to blame others.  We band together as groups like the NRA. We yell either for or against gun control.  We blame video games. We blame people, we blame systems, the government mostly. However, I am advocating we stop the blame. We turn and take responsibility. We recognize that human beings are dying. They are all our brothers and sisters, all children of us. We are all the same. We are people hurting and need help. 
We need to be watchful and help others when necessary. There is not one answer to problems. We need to turn to experts and listen. Shut our mouths and listen. Start to advocate and stop the hate.
We need to come together and use the skills we have for help. Stop running our mouths about gun control, video games, music, bad parenting, the list goes on and on.....blame. 
We need to stop the blame. We need to start the healing.

RIP Seth O'Donnell....I hope you have not died in vain, but yet as a lesson for all of us.
Thank you to the officers that put your life on the line to protect us.

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