Assault on judge a wake-up call to re-examine security
We can think of no reasonable security measure that would have prevented the shooting last Monday in Steubenville of Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. The judge, who is expected to recover from his wounds, was ambushed as he was walking from his car to the county courthouse.
Still, the fact that one man was, for whatever reason, so angry that he did what some viewed as unthinkable — shooting a judge — should prompt officials in our area to review security in both courthouses and magistrate courtrooms.
It already is quite tight at some buildings, where visitors must pass through metal detectors. And in most courthouses, armed sheriff’s deputies and bailiffs are common.
At some other locations, however, security is light. Many magistrate-level courts include few, if any, safeguards.
As the assault on Bruzzese reminds us, the job judges at all levels can make enemies. There is nothing like sending someone to prison to make that person very, very angry.
Outbursts in courtrooms are not uncommon. Most of the time, they are limited to a few harsh words.
We don’t know yet — and, because Bruzzese’s assailant was shot dead, may never understand — what prompted the shooting. We do know it was planned in advance.
And, again, we know that it is impossible to protect judges at all times and everywhere they may go. But ensuring they are safe in their own courtrooms is something, and officials in our area should take another look at security to be certain it is as tight as possible.