District Attorney Dave Sullivan
We all remember the good old days when you didn't have to take off your shoes while going through security to board an airplane and you could bring along your bottle of water or tube of sun tan lotion and yes, even a nail clipper with that swing out little file attached.
Or when you could walk right through the main door of your daughters' elementary school without having to await being buzzed in, and then sign in at the office, and wear a visitor ID sticker while doing a one minute chore with your child.
But times have changed. Nineteen zealots turned civilian airliners into guided missiles, and one deranged young man with a lot of firepower and the single-minded determination to use it against innocent children, changed everything.
So I"m not bothered in the least by the actions of Northampton police, endorsed by Northwestern District Attorney Dave Sullivan, to acquire handwriting samples of Northampton High School students for possibly identification of the perp who left a threatening (hand written) note in the school.
Less than a week after the unthinkable happened at an elementary school not all that far away.
When I first heard that a written "pledge" was used as a response to the incident I was reminded (cue rolling of eyes) of town and UMass officials and DA Dave Sullivan handing out oatmeal cookies to UMass students in the southern section of campus while the northern end exploded in a riot.
But then it became clear the pledge was simply a cover to get handwriting samples. Kind of like something you might see in a Hollywood movie. Only this movie did not have a Hollywood ending, as the perp is apparently still at large.
When lives are stake -- as in this case they most certainly could have been -- extraordinary measures need to be taken. Terrorism, drunk driving, domestic abuse or child abuse: The offenders certainly don't play by any set of rules.
And they must be stopped.