Some comments on killing go too far

Wednesday’s deadly shooting in AuSable Forks was horrific. It’s easy to understand why some people’s emotions would run high. But we ask people to do their best to keep anger contained until more information is revealed.

Witnesses described seeing David Bova fire multiple rounds at Magen Goyette from a few feet away, while he was walking in a public road and she was riding in a pickup truck driven by her mother. A bullet wound to her head killed her, an autopsy found.

She was 30 years old. They had been in a relationship, according to her Facebook page.

Bova, also 30, has been charged with second-degree murder. Many people are wondering why it wasn’t first-degree.

Also, some are outraged by the report that he pleaded not guilty in court.

People might be calmer and more reasonable if they had more information. State Police have said very little about the case, and the Clinton County district attorney’s office has said nothing. We know they had reasons — probably very good ones — for pressing the charge they did. We wish they would explain their actions to the public, to dispel rumors and reassure people that they are in good hands.

But while communication could be better, we’re not criticizing authorities for the job they’re doing. Rather, we are very grateful to State Police for catching Bova quickly and preventing any further violence.

At least, we hope no further violence ensues from this incident. But some of the comments readers posted on Facebook worried us.

It is relatively common, in response to a terrible crime, for people to presume the defendant is guilty and call for severe punishment. Therefore we were not surprised to see people call for the death penalty against Bova on our Facebook page Friday.

New York state has not executed anyone since 1963, and its capital punishment apparatus was ruled unconstitutional in 2004 and abolished in 2008. Nevertheless, if someone hopes an alleged criminal is executed, that’s within their rights.

But lynching is another matter — and as harsh as that word is, it is the accurate one.

We were disturbed to see at least six people post comments endorsing a vigilante killing of the defendant, under a story we posted Friday with Bova’s police mugshot and the headline “Bova pleads not guilty to AuSable Forks murder.”

“Save the taxpayers the expense of a trial and hope for a dirt nap to come quickly,” one local woman wrote.

“He needs a bullet to his head,” another woman added.

“AMEN!! Point blank, exactly like he did to her!” the first woman replied.

“A fair trial should take about an hour,” a local man wrote. “I know a number of good carpenters who should be able to erect a gallows in the park. Let’s go back a 100 years or so, sort of a centennial day and all see this monster get what he deserves. This is the face of absolute EVIL”

“I have a shiny 40 cal hollow point. One is all it would take. Case closed,” another man posted.

“Shoot him at close range,as he did to her,” another woman wrote.

We deleted those comments from our Facebook page.

We honestly doubt these people could or would carry out these vigilante death wishes. Also, we truly do want our Facebook page to be a forum for free speech. But we have an obligation to not enable those who rile up others to commit violent acts.

Have people lost that much faith in our justice system?

Please, readers, let the wheels of justice turn. There is a whole lot we do not know yet — but we will know what we need to in time. Patience is hard, but please wait for more information to come out before rushing to judgment. Our reporters will do our best to find answers to important questions and sort the facts from the rumors and fiction.

Meanwhile, another bit of gratitude is in order to the students, teachers and staff of the AuSable Valley School District, which was locked down while police searched for Bova Wednesday morning. Superintendent Paul Savage said everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do, showing they had been paying attention during lockdown drills.

One wishes there was no need to prepare young people for violence, but after Wednesday’s scare, we cannot help but agree with Savage when he said, “I’m glad we have these procedures.”