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Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Our Newest Op Ed

Criminal Memorialized At High School
- By Warner Todd Huston

A young man from Niagara Falls, New York, with a criminal record got himself killed while attempting to rob a pizza deliveryman in the last week of April. Generally, we hang our heads in sorrow at both the loss of a young life and the bad choices made leading to the criminal activity and that caused his death. But when one hears such a story the first thing one generally thinks to do isn't to go about creating touching memorials for the thug who got himself killed while perpetrating a criminal act. And one certainly never imagines that we should display our nation's flag at half-staff to memorialize this miscreant.

But that is exactly what happened at Niagara Falls High School. Not only did they allow the students to festoon Anthony Sheard's locker with touching notes, memorial cards and flowers but they also lowered the US flag to half-staff on the flag pole outside the school in the boy's honor.

The flag being displayed at half-staff for this criminal is even more galling because the school has never honored the loss of our soldiers in Iraq with such a memorial.......

Click HERE To Read On
To begin with I am rather astounded that such a critical article exists in a newsletter/newspaper so far away from where the story originates. I also regret that I found such an article so long after it’s publish date, and wasn’t given the opportunity to defend my school, my city, and the people who live here along with it. Niagara Falls High School provides a very caring and nurturing environment. I have learned some of the most valuable lessons at the schools in this city that I have attended over the years. It puzzles me as to how someone writing an article for a paper based in Phoenix Arizona, can state such a biased opinion about something that they have very little information on. From what I can tell your only resource on the matter was from The Niagara Gazette, although our paper is based in Niagara Falls it does not represent our community as a whole. I was a freshman at NFHS when Anthony Sheard was shot and killed last April and although I did not know him personally, it is still a rather difficult situation to grasp. I believe that what he did was terribly wrong, but only a person with a cold heart could say that he deserved to die. His death gave him no chance of redemption, I am not excusing his behavior, but he was 16, an age in which the young mind can be easily influenced, when one can make somewhat radical decisions. The decision he made obviously hadn’t been thought out, but why should the people who cared about him be punished for their grieving? He was a young man who got off track and had his life taken from him because his actions were foolish. We were not honoring a rapist, a terrorist, or a mass murderer, we were grieving the death of a fellow student who made wrong decisions. His death also serves an example to us of what can happen when we make seriously wrong decisions and that any decision can end up in tragedy. I do not understand the purpose of bringing up the fact that we have not lowered our flag to half mast to honor our soldiers who are fighting in Iraq. We honor them in other ways, we raise money and bring in supplies to send to them as well as writing letters to our troops, we respect them and honor them, because some of them are our relatives or friends of our families, but above all we honor them because they fight willingly to protect us and to preserve our freedom. Lastly I am very irritated to see the way you put down those who chose to write in to the Gazette, they may not have the perfect grammar, or the right tools to articulate what they felt, but obviously they were upset enough to do what they could, to defend someone they cared about. I hope that in writing this you will realize that the youth of Niagara Falls as a whole are not illiterate thugs who go around committing crimes, but are caring generous people who have good intentions. And before you blame education for “things getting bad in society” you might want to think of the role the media has to play, what children are brought up seeing on television, hearing on the radio, and even reading in the newspaper. Children can only achieve as much as what they know, to achieve higher they rely on the help and guidance of others, so next time when you think to yourself “wow they could have done better” tell them that you believe that they could do better and help them along the way.

-I am posting this comment for anyone who happens to come across this article.I want them to look upon the topic from a different point of view-

-NFHS student-
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