Threats against officials must be punished

Recent events nationwide have focused attention on violence and threats of it against public figures. This week, West Virginians were reminded we are not immune to the problem.

Last week, a Clarksburg man, Donald Charles Criss, 52, was arrested on charges of making a terroristic threat and committing a civil rights violation. Police say Criss sent a letter making threats against Gov. Jim Justice.

The nature of those threats was not disclosed. The authorities took them seriously enough to check fingerprints on the letter against the FBI database, then arrest Criss, however.

More information will come out as criminal proceedings occur. For now, it is known that someone — police say Criss — made serious threats against West Virginia’s governor.

That is unacceptable.

If Criss is found guilty of making the threats, he should be punished severely. Perhaps that will deter others from taking similar action.

Here in the Mountain State, politics can be a rough-and-tumble endeavor. But there is no room for violence or threats of it in our interactions with public officials or those seeking office. None at all.


Few will shed tears over the death last week of infamous mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in the Hazelton federal prison in Preston County. Bulger, 89, was a truly, deeply vicious man.

But his murder was not the first at the prison. Two other Hazelton inmates have been killed during the past six months.

Federal officials know Hazelton is a dangerous place, because its staff is not adequate to handle the facility’s 1,270 prisoners.

Five members of Congress made that point in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He and other Justice Department officials need to do something about the problem — and fast. Dangerous ituations such as that at Hazelton can threaten the safety of surrounding communities.