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Taking offense is no excuse for criminal acts
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Dear Editor,
I read the article in he Great Bend Tribune, “Ohnmacht found guilty of spitting on pizza” (Aug. 17 online). This was no prank of someone doing such a despicable act as a joke to a “friend”; it was the willful actions of Jacob Ohnmacht, age 27, of Larned, who was “found guilty of spitting on a pizza, a severity level 9 felony.” To make matters worse, the person who ordered the pizza (the innocent customer) was reported to be a Larned Police Officer, whom his mother allegedly did not like. That is no excuse for taking vigilante justice into one’s own hands.
I am completely disgusted by the combination of childish behavior, vengeful behavior, and yes, the criminal behavior of people who spew hate. It is completely disgusting that today’s society has whole classes of people who direct their hate toward police officers, historic monuments that have stood a century, or objects or people that they are supposedly “offended-by.” This is no license for anyone to break the law.
I have relatives in the Larned and Great Bend areas. I wouldn’t want any of them to be the victim of a criminal act and conversely, nor would I condone them if they committed a criminal act. Under Kansas law it is a felony to just threaten to adulterate, contaminate any food, raw agricultural commodity, beverage, drug, animal feed, plant or public water supply. These areas are sensitive and essential to public safety and human health.
No matter who any offender is, if they go through “due-process” and are convicted as Mr. Ohnmacht was found guilty, I would hope such offenders are given the maximum possible penalties. Not only to see that “justice is served” but also to deter others from committing similar stupid acts which are also very criminal acts.

James A. Marples

Editor’s note: Mr. Marples’ read an online version of a story that was later updated for clarification. The updated story was published in the Aug. 18 Tribune under the headline “Larned man said he spat on pizza.” Both articles noted that while Ohnmacht was found guilty of criminal threat for claiming he spat on an officer’s pizza, the judge at his bench trial was not asked to determine if the defendant actually did spit on the pizza.