Laurels & lances: Cold, animals, ‘known cheater’ and death threats |
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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo.

Laurel: To the fire companies, senior citizen centers and other groups which stayed open extra hours this week to provide warming centers or offered additional services as needed during the polar vortex. Thank you for all you do for our communities every day, but a special thanks for the way you step up to do what needs to be done in times of crisis.

Lance: To the neglect of dozens of farm animals in Butler County. It is appalling that the sheep, rabbits, donkeys and goats had suffered from lack of care and maintenance for what authorities estimate was up to 13 years. Farm animals are a responsibility that must be met with trust and faith. Which leads to a…

Laurel: To the rescue organizations that stepped up to provide care for the animals, including Frankie’s Friends Cat Rescue of New Kensington and Hog Heaven Rescue Farm of Cochranton , both of which are accepting donations to help with the costs.

Lance: To the KDKA employee who labeled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a “known cheater” on a broadcast, leading the CBS affiliate to fire him.

Look, we get it. We are all fans of something, and Brady — definitely no crowd favorite in Pittsburgh — is certainly a lightning rod for extremes in public opinion. But what it comes down to is the difference between voicing an opinion and representing that opinion as fact. KDKA made the right call.

Lance: To disagreements turning to death threats. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and City Councilman Corey O’Connor may have upset a lot of people with the city’s proposed gun restrictions, but there is no excuse for that opposition taking a turn from political and rhetorical to personal and violent.

O’Connor said he received a voice mail death threat two weeks ago. Peduto said he has also received at least one such threat over the proposal, but that he has received similar threats since 2014 and “They’re not scaring me.”

Public discourse on controversial topics is important. Debate on something that involves a balance of constitutional rights and public safety is going to be passionate. But there is no excuse for those debates threatening violence.

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