Of the 58 homicides in Allegheny County this year, the shooting of Zachary Sheridan in Oakland is particularly unsettling to me because I live in an adjoining neighborhood and walk on that block from time to time. But this incident is no more troubling or important to the city as a whole than the multiple shooting deaths this year in Garfield, Homewood and elsewhere.
Yet, Tuesday's Post-Gazette quotes District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. calling the Sheridan murder "a very important case to the office. It is a very important case to the community because it took place in the heart of our academic community in Oakland" ("First-Degree Murder Charge Sought by DA," Aug. 20). Mr. Zappala is quoted in the Tribune declaring, "If you're going to commit a crime in Oakland, certainly a major crime, you will be seen, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted."
Implicit in this statement is that if you commit a major crime in another Pittsburgh community, you might get away with it. But if you threaten public safety in a white, affluent community with institutions significant to the regional economy, the full force of the law will be employed.
It is troubling that for one of our top law enforcement officials not all neighborhoods or neighbors are of equal importance.