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Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Wednesday - 7/23/2014, 3:16pm  ET

The Associated Press

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:

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July 18

Newsday, Melville, New York, on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17:

As last week slammed to a close with searing images of a Malaysia Airlines jet smoldering in Ukrainian fields, the American president who once ran for office promising "to deal with the world as it is rather than what it might be" stepped to the microphones to give a not-so-subtle warning to Russia about igniting Cold War II.

Barack Obama was quite correct to offer Russian President Vladimir Putin a finger-wagging lecture on Friday. Obama said "there will be costs" if Russia proceeds with any military activities in Ukraine.

The president is also right to demand an international response, and he should keep up pressure on European leaders, who until now have been quite reluctant to confront the megalomanic Russian president. While Obama was careful not to directly put blood on Putin's hands, his advisers were less diplomatic.

Before Obama's White House remarks, Samantha Power, our ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council in Manhattan that the Russian weapons were so technically complex that it was "impossible to rule out" that the separatists weren't trained by their Russian sponsors.

Beyond the immediate diplomatic and economic actions the United States and our allies must take, the tragic loss of life could underscore a philosophical turning point -- reversing America's growing retreat from world affairs.

Suddenly a civil war that has raged quietly in an obscure part of the world has broken out into the open -- claiming 298 innocent souls.

It's now evident that a surface-to-air missile destroyed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over a section of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists. It's possible the combatants who fired the missiles thought they had targeted a military aircraft. They had boasted earlier of shooting down at least two Ukrainian military planes.

That it was probably a mistake is of little comfort.

"This looks less like an accident than a crime," said Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia. "And if so, the perpetrators must be brought to justice."

But can Europe do that? It depends on Russia for oil and gas, which has helped explain why some of its leaders have been reticent about calling out Putin on his military adventures -- most recently, his violent annexation of Crimea. But any excuse for silence has vanished.

This unthinkable episode should galvanize public opinion here and around the world -- in a way we have not seen before -- to isolate Putin.

Online:

http://www.newsday.com

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July 18

News Tribune, Jefferson City, Missouri, on state legislation that would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons:

Arming teachers to respond to deadly attacks is an unsettling concept.

Gov. Jay Nixon on July 14 vetoed legislation that would permit educators who specifically are trained for armed response to carry concealed weapons.

We understand and appreciate the motivation for the legislation.

Massacres in the schools, although rare, are a grim reality. We support exploring ways to prevent violence or, failing that, to limit its scope, not only in schools, but in all venues -- workplaces, movie theaters, etc. -- where massacres have occurred.

Supporters of the bill contend students' lives could be saved by the more rapid response offered by trained, armed teachers.

We have no quarrel with that theory.

But theory does not necessarily translate effectively into the reality of an adrenalin-fueled, bloody gun battle.

Law enforcement officers -- who serve as resource officers in many of our schools -- train regularly and rigorously to assess and respond to the violent episodes. Under stressful situations, they must evaluate a range of unknowns regarding the number of assailants, the location and safety of potential victims, and the most effective way to intercede.

Teachers are trained to educate. Even if teachers have background and experience handling firearms, can and should they be placed in situations where they must make life-and-death decisions?

In his veto message, Nixon said: "I have supported and will continue to support the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers, but I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids."

We agree.

In our capacity as journalists, we have interacted with countless educators over the years. We have the utmost respect for their professionalism, dedication and compassion for their students.

Their job is teaching, and teaching must not and should not place them in a position where they must ask themselves if this is the moment when they will kill another human being.

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