Like many other central Pennsylvanians, we have no sympathy for Kenneth J. Piner Sr., who is facing decades in prison after accepting a plea deal for selling cocaine.
Piner, 51, complained to Mirror reporter Phil Ray about his case and the sentence of at least 19 years and perhaps up to 50 years behind bars in a story published on Sunday.
While Piner admits to selling cocaine, he claimed he wasn't a big-time dealer and doesn't deserve spending up to 50 years in jail.
If he hadn't decided to sell cocaine, he wouldn't have had to worry about potentially spending the rest of his life behind bars. He knew cocaine dealing was illegal, and he did it anyway. Now, unfortunately for him, he must pay the price.
Under his plea agreement, Piner will serve 19 to 38 years if he cooperates with investigators in pursuing other drug dealers and 25 to 59 years if he doesn't. If he had gone to trial and been convicted on all counts, Piner could have been sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.
Piner said he viewed the potential of a 227-year sentence as a threat.
No, that's a reality. Perhaps in other communities, he might have received a shorter sentence, but Blair County judges - to their credit - have been taking a hard line on those who bring and sell illegal drugs in our community for their own profit.
Going to prison is one of the potential costs for selling drugs. Local law enforcement and the judiciary are wisely trying to make sure those caught really pay as part of an effort to make this area less attractive to drug traffickers.
In that respect, we're glad Piner is upset about his sentence. We need to get the word out that dealing drugs here carries a heavy penalty.
Regrettably, it won't stop all drug dealing locally, but if it discourages even one person, our community is better off.