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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials/commentary: Fast, furious and Aurora ...

We're fashioning another editorial in response to the mass murder that occurred in Colorado last week. In the meantime, here's one we were already working on, about a related issue:

- Fast and Furious: Outlaw gun trafficking - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Operation Fast and Furious is the name of a federal firearms trafficking investigation in Arizona that went awry. Republicans in Congress charge that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms deliberately allowed hundreds of guns that were purchased by middlemen for Mexican drug cartels to fall into criminal hands. Two of those guns showed up where a federal Border Patrol officer was murdered in Arizona in 2010.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has testified multiple times before a House committee investigating Fast and Furious. Holder’s department has furnished documents to the committee, but he has withheld others, citing executive privilege. As a result, Holder became the first attorney general in history to be held in contempt of Congress by the House last month. Some are claiming that Holder and, by extension, President Obama, are presiding over a cover-up on par with Watergate.

However, the political firefight over Fast and Furious has obscured a more important concern, the toothlessness of U.S. gun-sales laws. [Read the rest ...]

Others have held forth on the Aurora shootings:

- In Aurora aftermath, it’s time to mourn and heal, not debate - Peg McEntee, The Salt Lake Tribune

- Lives cut down as they began - Denver Post Editorial, Today

Among the victims of Friday's theater massacre in Aurora were many with promising plans and dreams.

- Grieving another horrifying act of terror - Denver Post Editorial, Friday

For the second time in little more than a decade, metro Denver has been convulsed by a mass murder of calculated and methodical viciousness, an act so pointless and incomprehensible that it leaves us all shaken and bewildered.

- Colorado needs an act of kindness - Edward P. Smith, The Denver Post

- We’ve seen this movie before - Roger Ebert, for The New York Times

... I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation. Whenever a tragedy like this takes place, it is assigned catchphrases and theme music, and the same fragmentary TV footage of the shooter is cycled again and again. Somewhere in the night, among those watching, will be another angry, aggrieved loner who is uncoiling toward action. The cinematic prototype is Travis Bickle of "Taxi Driver." I don’t know if James Holmes cared deeply about Batman. I suspect he cared deeply about seeing himself on the news. ...

- The way we fear now in America - Ross Douthat, New York Times/Denver Post

... Nolan's films are effective dramatizations of the Way We Fear Now. Their villains are inscrutable, protean, appearing from nowhere to terrorize, seeking no higher end than chaos, no higher thrill than fear. Their hero fights, not for truth, justice and the American Way, but for a more basic form of civilizational order: He knows his society — his Gotham, our America — is decadent and corrupt in many ways, but he also knows that the alternatives are almost infinitely worse. ...

- Obama, Americans shouldn't be shocked by mass killing - San Jose Mercury News Editorial

- After the Colorado massacre, it's time to hit the Pause button - [Portland] Oregonian Editorial

- Tragedy shows need for gun control - San Francisco Chronicle Editorial

- Give victims strength through unity, support - Prescott [Ariz.] Daily Courier Editorial

- Colorado tragedy is all too familiar to Tucsonans - [Tucson] Arizona Daily Star

It's too late for these victims, but sencible gun laws could help in the future.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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