Editorial Roundup

Editorial Roundup

May 22

The Boston Herald says the revelation that an FBI informant monitored President Donald Trump’s campaign raises questions:

Revelations that the FBI used an informant to monitor the Trump campaign in 2016 serve to reinforce the president’s contention that “deep state” forces are out to get him.

He let the world know his displeasure via Twitter on Sunday: “I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that the Department of Justice would have the inspector general look into the informant issue, noting in a statement that he would “expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

The informant, named by multiple media sources, is Stefan Halper, a 73-year-old Cambridge University professor who has done work with several Republican presidential administrations and has ties to intelligence services in the United States. He had several conversations with members of the Trump campaign in 2016 and corresponded in email as well. This is troubling.

Best-case scenario, a counterintelligence investigation focused on Russian election tampering organically led to members of the Trump campaign and FBI resources were dispatched to investigate. It would make sense to be thorough and ferret any information that might be pertinent to the core case.

Worst-case scenario is that the Obama DOJ looked to compromise either candidate or President Trump or both and sent the FBI buzzing around the campaign looking to entrap whomever they could. It is not fair to impugn the entire FBI, but 2016 was not its best year. It was the year of Jim Comey — a director who took unprecedented liberties in the Hillary Clinton investigation.

Let’s remember, there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Even if there were a willingness to collude, that would not be a crime unless it was acted on. So what are we still doing here?

We may have to wait for the inspector general’s report on that. Until then, it looks more and more likely that the misdeeds were committed by the “swamp” and not the man trying to drain it.


May 21

Des Moines Register says gun owners should be held responsible for failing to secure firearms:

A 17-year-old boy cannot legally walk into a sporting goods store and buy a .38 revolver. Not even in gun-loving Texas.

Yet Dimitrios Pagourtzis was armed with a shotgun and revolver when he entered his Santa Fe high school last week and started shooting. His victims include a substitute teacher, a foreign exchange student and a football player.

The guns Pagourtzis used to kill and injure nearly two dozen people belonged to the shooter’s father, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

That father should be held responsible by law enforcement and the courts. Authorities should make an example of him to send a message to all gun owners about the importance of locking up firearms. Too often, the weapons used in school shootings come from the perpetrator’s home, where adults failed to properly secure them.

Adam Lanza’s mother was a gun enthusiast before the 20-year-old used her guns to kill her, 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary school and himself. The guns were acquired legally, registered, not adequately secured and used to massacre innocent children.

Then there are the so-called accidents that happen after young children have access to guns left in drawers, purses or glove boxes by adults. These children include Jayden Choate of Elgin, Iowa. In 2016, the 4-year-old picked up a gun in a neighbor’s home, shot himself in the head and died.

Every single time a young person gets a gun and shoots himself or others, the firearm owner should be held responsible. Every single time.

Criminally charging these individuals and press conferences announcing charges may be the only way to get through to gun owners to secure firearms, regardless of whether they have children living in a home. Trigger locks can be purchased for as little as $13 at Walmart. A search of the retailer’s products online also returned dozens of gun safes for less than $100.

Yet nearly 2 million American children live in homes with guns that are not stored properly, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing violence. It reports there is an unintentional shooting involving a child in this country every 34 hours. There have been at least 70 such shootings so far in 2018.

While the U.S. Congress and state officials bear much responsibility in failing to do more to prevent gun violence, individual Americans, including parents and prosecutors, can do more. There would be many fewer “accidents” involving small children and shootings by teens if gun-owning adults locked up their weapons.

Those who do not do so should be held criminally, and very publicly, accountable. That may be the only hope for saving children — and their classmates — from gun violence.

Editorial Roundup