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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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Western Opinion Sampler: Prison should stay, Swallow should go, Provo falls silent ...

Prison break: State must consider all the costs — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The unseemly haste with which lawmakers seem to be moving toward the relocation of Utah State Prison seems to suggest that our elected leaders have forgotten just what a such a facility is for.

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Prisons serve many purposes. First, of course, is that they separate us from people who are likely, given past behavior, to harm us. They also endeavor, with varying degrees of success, to rehabilitate those who have broken the law, hopefully to the point that, once released, they will be able to make their own way in the world, without either dependence on public aid or invasion of private property....

... A prison located further from the state’s main metropolitan area would make it harder for inmates to stay connected to their families and other support systems that are necessary for them to successfully re-enter society. Volunteers who now provide education and other services would be more difficult to recruit. So, perhaps, would professional staff. And there would be higher costs, and greater risk, to move prisoners to and from court or for medical care.

A bill moving through the Legislature, SB72, would consider none of that as it proposes to front $1.7 million in taxpayers money to a Prison Land Management Authority to get the project moving along....

It's time for Swallow to resign or be impeached — Dan Liljenquist | The Deseret News

The scandal swirling around Attorney General John Swallow is only getting worse. ...

... I cannot imagine a more damaging blow to that social compact than to have the chief law enforcement officer of the state of Utah under investigation for corruption. Should Swallow continue in office, even if no federal charges are ever brought against him, every decision made by the attorney general's office during his tenure will be under a cloud of suspicion. ...

Editor's note — The Provo Daily Herald

The Daily Herald has recently made some organizational changes, and with those we have decided to change the way we present opinions in the newspaper. This is a popular section, and we will keep bringing it to you, but we will no longer be printing a daily opinions page with editorials, wire opinions and cartoons. ...

As Charlie Brown used to say: * Sigh *

Oh, well. The editorials are still flowing in Ogden, and elsewhere:

Ban all drivers from phones — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

Why is the Utah Legislature considering a bill that would ban mobile phone use by all drivers under 18? Why are kids being singled out, when a far bigger problem is adults using mobile phones while they are supposed to be concentrating on driving? ...

Gun ban would threaten students — Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial

Colorado’s House Democrats want to disarm screened, qualified, trained adults who carry concealed guns on public college campuses. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pen will be the last hope if this ill-conceived bill gets through the state Senate. ...

Arming teachers, principals won't make schools safer — Arizona Star Editorial

... unrealistic thinking says that school shootings happen because schools are "gun-free zones" and that's why shooters choose them. In a logical world, maybe that would make sense. But the mind of a person bent on homicide isn't motivated by common sense - the decision in most mass murder cases is to commit suicide in the most spectacularly awful way possible. The shooter typically plans to die, at his own hand or those of police, and to take as many people as possible with him. Knowing that someone on campus might have a gun, or access to a gun, won't stop a person bent on attaining the twisted glory they believe will come to them once they've showed the world what they're capable of doing. ...

Chalk. Crayons. Glue. Bullets? — E.J. Montini | The Arizona Republic

Oscar Pistorius incident reaffirms -- more guns mean more deaths and injuries — San Jose Mercury-News Editorial

We don't know whether Oscar Pistorius meant to kill his girlfriend last week in his South Africa home or just shot at what he thought was a burglar in his bathroom, as he claims. But if he hadn't had a gun handy, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp would almost surely be alive today. ...

Roads bill good start, but schools are priority — Spokane Spokesman-Review Editorial

The Washington Legislature, at last, has a real gas can to kick down the road: a proposed transportation plan that will cost almost $10 billion, with gas tax increases that will pay for it. ...

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