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Jeffrey Shifler shouldn't return to city

April 07, 2007

To the editor:

The purpose of this electronic mail correspondence is to address an issue that has adversely affected the entire community of Washington County. After attending the Hagerstown City Council session and witnessing Mike Shifler address council members, it became quite clear to me the community in general is in denial about the gravity and magnitude of Jeffrey Shifler's actions!

To briefly recap, Mike Shifler addressed council members about the ordeal his family has been through in light of his younger brother's actions, which he explains were motivated by anger and eventually caused him to lash out at Councilmember Alesia Parson-McBean. He mentioned that he was trying to apologize to the community for a situation that has brought shame and disappointment to him and his family. However; he never apologized directly to McBean or to the targeted North and South Hagerstown High School students and their families for the terrorism experienced as a direct result of Jeffrey Shifler.

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During Shifler's address, which went beyond the usual time limitations, he mentioned that he hoped the community could heal from this "thing" as he is still a part of this community and knew that when Jeff returned to the community he intended to continue to be a part of the community as well.

Jeffrey Shifler returning to the Washington County community is very problematic for several reasons. Shifler confessed to communicating terrorist threats to kill students at several Washington County public schools. The threats were communicated through the board of education, causing school officials to take extraordinary measures to ensure for the safety of all students. Shifler also confessed to terrorist threats against a city council member as well as other members of the community.

Compounding these crimes were the undeniable motivating factors of racial hatred.

Putting aside the racism and bigotry factors for a moment, I ask the following question:What has Jeffrey Shifler done to make amends to the City of Hagerstown and Washington County for terrorizing community members and disrupting the educational process of the public school system consequently costing the city and county unnecessary taxpayer dollars?

It is true that he is paying his debt to society in general by serving time in prison for committing felony criminal acts, but has he offered the community an apology for his actions and/or has he attempted to make amends through some form of community service once he returns, as big brother Mike has indicated?

The sad and unfortunate reality is that Jeff Shifler has tendered no such apology for his actions nor has he made clear any intentions of reconciliation through voluntary community service. I believe he feels no remorse! Another unfortunately reality is that the Shifler family as represented by Mike Shifler are so shamed and in denial about the situation, that they are at a loss for words that accurately depict Jeff's actions or as Mike Shifler refers to his brother's actions - "this thing." Some white local community members have responded to McBean's reaction to terrorist threats and racial hatred by accusing her of being a racist. But McBean has never been on trial for a racially motivated crime. Jeffrey Shifler, on the other hand, can't say that!

It is my belief that based on the heinous, calculated, callous and cowardly actions of Mr. Shifler that the city and county governments should take the necessary measures to ensure that Jeff Shifler be barred from entering the city and county limits based on the crimes he committed against the public.

Additionally, politicians should pursue passing local ordinances and state laws that require convicted criminals of terrorism and hate crimes to register with local authorities the same way sex offenders and child molesters do. In Shifler's case, where his crimes directly impacted the government and taxpayers, the local government should reserve the right to deny the criminal residency in the same county where the crimes occurred.

The message here is clear - terrorism will not be tolerated. Not from al Qaeda, nor from Jeffrey Shifler!

Jonathan R. Burrs

Hagerstown

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