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Why releasing the man accused of opening fire at NAU isn’t a big deal

Steven Jones listens as his attorney Joshua Davidson argues for Jones’s bail to be modified during a hearing, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Coconino County Superior Court in Flagstaff, Ariz. Jones has been held in the Coconino County jail on a $2 million bond since shortly after his arrest on Oct. 9. He says the fatal shooting of Colin Brough on the Northern Arizona University campus was in self-defense. (Jake Bacon(/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

A judge decided Tuesday that Steven Jones, who claims that he shot and killed Colin Brough in self-defense on Northern Arizona University’s campus last year, will be released into the custody of his parents to await trial.

Oh, they’ll slap a GPS unit on him, remove all firearms from the property, give him a curfew, and call it good.

And people lost their ever-loving minds! Look, there is NO reason to be upset about this!

We have something called bail in the state of Arizona. People are released before trial every day.

We need to talk like adults here and look at the reason that this has become such a big issue.

There is one reason and one reason only people are mad: The shooting happened on NAU’s campus.

If this altercation took place down the road in the Red Lobster parking lot, we wouldn’t even be talking about it. Is it sad that we wouldn’t be discussing why a young man took another young man’s life? Yes! But unfortunately, that’s the way we are today.

It might sound heartless, but all of us would be hard-pressed to come up with the names of two or more victims of violence in the past month.

But we remember Jones and Brough. Why? Because the media labeled it a campus shooting.

As a parent, I can’t imagine what the parents of BOTH of these kids are going through. Yes, both of their worlds have been turned upside down.

So why should Jones be treated any differently than anyone else? His release to parental custody is a standard play in the justice system.

Tip of the hat to Judge Dan Slayton for seeing through the “campus shooting” hype and realizing that this was a singular incident. And this kid had stayed out of trouble his whole life, until that fateful night.

The bottom line is that Jones is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

He will have his day in court, we will see the evidence presented, the jury will decide and that will be that.

In the meantime, I think it is important to look at these events for what they are, not where they took place.

Then we won’t get so excited when another Jones is released pre-trial, along with hundreds of others in this country facing similar charges.

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