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Editorial excerpts: Kid pulled trigger on tragedy

Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on state gun laws in the wake of charges against 11-year-old in fatal shooting:
Not one but several tragedies mark the unfortunate case of Jordan Brown. First is the victim, Kenzie Marie Houk, whom police say Jordan shot and killed while she lay in bed; she was the pregnant fiancee of Jordan’s father.
There is 11-year-old Jordan, the subject of custody disputes years ago and now the defendant charged by police in Lawrence County with the homicides of Ms. Houk and her unborn child.
You can also count Chris Brown, Jordan’s father, who, in one act of violence suffered the demise of his fiancee, his next child and, quite possibly, his son’s freedom.
But there is one more tragedy … the weakness of state law on the handling and use of guns by minors.
Pennsylvania law is clear that no one under 21 can buy a handgun, no one under 18 can buy a rifle and no one under 12 may have a hunting license. But the law is silent, vague or lax on other important counts. …
Instead, weak gun laws and a Legislature that cowers before the gun lobby may have been a factor in the tragic circumstances that visited the Lawrence County family. … Certainly Jordan might have acted against Ms. Houk in another way, but easy access to his youth model shotgun gave him ready means. …
The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y., on photos of military dead:
Families of military dead will be empowered to decide whether to allow photographs of their loved ones’ final return home. This is an important first step to opening up the solemn process to media coverage, and by extension, the consciousness of the American public. Gates has formed a “working group” to figure out details. The hope is, as the policy develops, families will see that the coverage offers a chance to honor their loved one’s sacrifice. …
The decision to curtail all news coverage of coffin-arrivals was misguided. … Our sensitivities merit no such protection. The pictures certainly help convey the price being paid.
With the policy change, families will determine access. Therein lies opportunity for the American people to join in the solemn ceremonies and honor the fallen.
Florida Today, Melbourne, Fla., on President Obama’s budget and veterans:During the campaign, President Barack Obama promised to boost veterans’ health care to fulfill the sacred trust often neglected between the government and those who have served.
His new budget follows through on that pledge in a major way that helps veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and those who have fought in past conflicts. …
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have concerns.
The rumor mill says the administration may want to charge the private insurance companies of disabled vets for treatment of their service-connected injuries instead of the VA paying, which has always been the case.
The worry is veterans would be forced to pay premiums for care for which they already have “paid in blood and service,” said David Gorman, executive director of the Disabled American Veterans.
We’ll be closely watching when the final budget is released in April to make certain all veterans receive the care they have earned.

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