Editorial roundup

The (Cleveland) Plain-Dealer, Oct. 3

Americans reacted to news of the mass school shooting in a rural Oregon community college with heartache, shock, sadness – and a sense of recognition.

Not again, came the collective plea. Who could be so cruel, so without compassion? How can anyone target innocents like that? But we should also ask what more citizens do to identify those at risk for such madness. What creates such alienation from societal norms? Does the extensive media coverage of such atrocities yield copycats?

The reality is that such killings will continue until the nation decides to deal with the toxic mix of high-powered guns and troubled individuals who seem to feed off of each other’s’ crimes …

There needs to be an unfettered conversation about how improved gun laws, including how to keep guns out of the hands mentally unstable people.

Americans must also rally around Roseburg, the small Oregon community where many residents knew someone in the shooting, much as in Chardon, where a gunman killed three students at Chardon High School in 2012.

Umpqua’s students will need our prayers, counseling and a chance to grieve – and real nationwide solutions to address this horrific slaughter.

Online: http://bit.ly/1iZTTcv

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Oct. 4

There are a couple of slick TV commercials that are designed to convince voters of Ohio that the legalization of marijuana would be a good thing and would be good public policy. However, we would urge television viewers – and readers of the literature being mailed to households in the state – to beware of drug pushers bearing gifts. The push to legalize pot in Ohio is being led by ResponsibleOhio, an umbrella organization funded by a small group of so-called investors who will reap huge financial benefits if State Issue 3 on the November general election ballot is approved

It is noteworthy that while the commercials and other advertising paid for by ResponsibleOhio PAC tug at the heartstrings by featuring a family that has moved to Colorado so the child can have access to marijuana to treat her medical condition, and a former captain of the vice unit in the Cincinnati Police Department, there are many more individuals involved in health care and law enforcement who are stridently opposed to legalization …

So, here’s a suggestion for those who believe that legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes is good public policy: Defeat State Issue 3 on Nov. 3, and then push for a constitutional amendment to permit medical marijuana …

Online: http://bit.ly/1Q1jKfd

The Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 4

Despite the good intentions behind a new Grandview Heights law aimed at preventing teens from becoming addicted to tobacco, it is surprising such legislation was passed.

On Sept. 21, the Grandview City Council made it illegal to sell tobacco-related products to anyone under 21. This puts it in the company of two other Franklin County communities, Bexley and Upper Arlington, that also have banned under-21 sales.

But Grandview went a step further: It also made possession a crime for those under 21 and imposed minor misdemeanor penalties: Up to 20 hours community service, $100 in fines and required attendance at a tobacco education or treatment class.

Lone dissenter Councilman Ed Hastie, a former criminal-defense lawyer, was perplexed, saying after the council meeting, “You realize we actually made it a crime for a 19-year-old to have a smoke in this city?” …

When Needham, Mass., banned cigarette sales in 2005 to those younger than 21, smoking among those younger than 18 fell by nearly half, a recent study by the journal Tobacco Control found.

… But, as with all government legislation, it’s important to pay careful attention to language and scope, to guard against overreach.

If the Grandview Heights City Council wanted to send a message, a resolution would have sufficed.

Online: http://bit.ly/1OfLKN6