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Come forward ...


   It's view with alarm day in The Buffalo News Opinion corner.

- Disrespecting the dead - Buffalo News Editorial
   Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III had the nerve to do the right thing in the aftermath of the killings outside the City Grill in downtown Buffalo. Now, those who have information about what happened there need to screw up their own courage to do the right thing.
   [Officials cite factors in charging wrong man - Buffalo News 8/17/10] 
   Four people were killed Saturday and four others were wounded in what appears to have begun as a TextATip gang dispute, but law enforcement officials initially arrested the wrong person. As soon as that fact was confirmed, Sedita went to court to have charges dropped—and we mean as soon as. The original suspect, Keith D. Johnson, was released before dawn on Sunday. As of this writing, the search police are making for a suspect has not led to another arrest.
   [Police question person of interest in mass shooting - Buffalo News 8/18/10] 
   Like many others, we find it disturbing that authorities arrested the wrong man, but we cannot help but admire the forthrightness not to fiddle with the facts, hold the suspect a little longer and take your time acknowledging a serious error. Sedita and the police took the honorable route, and that’s worth acknowledging.
   Now it’s time for those with information about these shootings to do the same. Some, no doubt, fear for their safety, especially if this terrible crime is, indeed, gang related and could lead to even more retribution. Police need help. Anonymous information could be useful, but tips from those who know something and would be willing to testify are most important.
   [Gang dispute apparently sparked shootings - Buffalo News 8/16/10]
   The alternative is for those with information to abandon the dead and wounded—to say, in so many words, that their fates are not important; that spraying a marriage celebration with gunfire is acceptable in Buffalo. It’s not, and Sedita, along with ministers and others, is pleading with witnesses to come forward.
   [Services are awash in grief - Buffalo News 8/16/10] 
   “We desperately need people to come forward with information,” the district attorney said after charges against Johnson were dropped. “There were 100 to 200 people present during these shootings. There were many eyewitnesses . . . So far, only a few people have come forward.”
   Thank heavens for those few—those people who quickly saw the moral necessity of speaking out. More people need to follow that example. Like many poor cities, Buffalo deals with a crime problem, but for the most part, this is a city of good people. Some of them were at this party. It is time for them to speak up.


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