Local student’s death prompts reflection

First it was a local story. Then it became much bigger than that, and shook up a whole community in the process. Saturday, the body of Mercyhurst College student Jenni-Lyn Watson was found by police in a park near suburban Syracuse, N.Y.

Watson, 20, was a junior at Mercyhurst and studied dance. After returning home to Syracuse, N.Y. for break two weeks ago, she went missing on Nov. 19. Authorities did not find her until eight days later. A few hours after her body was found, police arrested her ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Steven Pieper, and charged him for second-degree murder.

Gannon and Mercyhurst might be rivals on the football field, but we are a close-knit community off of it, especially during times of crises. “What’s a Laker?” chants aside, Gannon is a family to Mercyhurst.  During their time of tragedy, the Gannon community reaches out to comfort our green friends across Erie.

When a victim of violent crime gets on national news, you might not think anything of it. Sure, you feel sympathy, but it’s quick to fade. But when that person is someone who goes to your college or someone you are close to, then it takes an emotional toll on you. Devastation and horror happen in movies a lot, but that cannot prepare people for real struggles.

The Gannon Knight staff wishes to send our deepest sympathies to Jenni’s family, friends and all who knew her. We encourage students to take time for their busy schedules to think and pray for her and her family.

The loss of a young woman with high aspirations is undeniably painful.  She won’t have the chance of most of us to grow old and look back on their achievements. Jenni will never have the chance to do that, but hopefully she is in a better place now.