Asides for Sunday, May 30, 2010

Written by Susan Mannella on .

IN THE SAME WEEK that FBI statistics showed violent crime in Pittsburgh fell 8.07 percent last year and property crime 6.7 percent, the wrongdoers were busy displaying ludicrous behavior. First, three 20-something chumps from out of town tried to break into Heinz Field last Sunday and soon discovered that you don't unlawfully enter the city's holy of holies without alarming the authorities. Because they appeared to be of foreign descent, the initial alarm was heightened by fears of terrorism -- but that was soon dispelled. Their story was that they liked the Steelers, had attended a wedding the day before at Heinz Field and returned to get some souvenir photos. Yes, alcohol may have been involved. On Thursday, two of them pleaded guilty in Municipal Court to simple trespass and a summary count of disorderly conduct after more serious charges of criminal trespass and criminal conspiracy had been reduced (a preliminary hearing for the third man was postponed until June 30). The message for visitors? At Heinz Field, intruders get sacked.

EVEN THE NUNS are tough in Pittsburgh. As Post-Gazette writer Eleanor Chute reported, Sister Lynn Rettinger, the 5-foot-3 principal of Sacred Heart Elementary School in Shadyside, confronted a man Tuesday who was seen near the school taking a wallet from an unlocked car with an open window. In the classic manner of nuns in Catholic schools (where Sister Lynn has taught for nearly 50 years), she said to the miscreant: "You need to give me what you have." While she wasn't wearing a habit, her voice of command did the trick. He meekly gave her the wallet and walked away. Of course, he got off lightly. He could have been made to say many Hail Marys.

MEN BEHAVING BADLY is routine news. Women behaving badly is extraordinary news. On Wednesday afternoon, the mother of all brawls erupted among women in the Mexican War Streets section of the North Side. By the end of the skirmish, which involved as many as 40 people, four women were stabbed or cut, five others were arrested, dozens of police officers were on the scene and a large crowd of spectators had congregated. Women and girls -- some as young as 12 or 13 -- were attacked with razor blades, bats and pepper spray, according to witnesses. Police were left to figure out what sparked the battle, which appeared to involve entire families. Extraordinary news, as in extraordinarily depressing. Calling all nuns.


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