In light of Ryan Diviney’s death, lets’s reaffirm our revulsion at assaults

We’re not sure anyone is still counting, but someone should be.
The last time we counted the number of aggravated assaults in downtown Morgantown was in May 2014.
That time the count was three such assaults in a month, all of which went well beyond pushing and shoving.
Indeed, they were all violent and malicious. You know the kind — kicking someone in the head — when they’re already unconscious.
The results then included broken jaws, noses, cheekbones and teeth, and certainly concussions and more.
Though such an assault on Ryan Diviney almost 10 years ago never escaped our memory, news of his death Sunday stirred our outrage at such violence.
First, our heartfelt condolences to the Diviney family in their days of grief and even further heartache.
Their love and constant care for their son, who never emerged from a coma after being attacked by two young men, inspired hope in all of us.
This is no time to rehash the tragic attack on Ryan Diviney on Nov. 7, 2009.
Instead, this is a time to remind all parents, coaches, faith-based leaders and others to talk to young men about such violence. We emphasize young men, though men in general might be more appropriate, because they are almost invariably the perpetrators and usually the victims of such assaults.
What’s incredible is not that this level of violence is usually devoid of any credible reason or cause, but that it happens on our streets — downtown streets — the most public place in our community.
Of course, far too many assaults fall under the headings of domestic, racial or sexual. But the assaults we refer to here don’t, nor are they gang related.
Instead, they are random, malicious and usually fueled by drunkenness and a total disregard for the public’s safety and life itself.
Some such incidents may result after an exchange of words or an unintended or even an intended slight.
In Ryan Diviney’s case, it started over a dispute about the 2009 World Series.
Still, no matter what’s said in the heat of the moment, or even done in most instances, justifies such violence.
There can be no possible excuse for this kind of behavior. Someone being drunk does not mitigate such cases, either.
If anything, that’s all the more reason to pursue the maximum sentence for anyone convicted of malicious assault or malicious wounding in such cases.
Some will blame students or locals or visitors from out of town or out of state for such crimes. Others will point to society or the suspect’s parents, or even the victims.
We urge our courts to pin the blame on whom it belongs — the perpetrator — violent criminals.

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