Online Opinion Outpost: July 22

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The Online Opinion Outpost features opinions and commentary on the latest hot topics from national news sources. As much as you love hearing from The Universe, we thought you might like to hear from journalists around the nation.

Kids and guns
New York Times

The world at large heard instantly about the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., where 20 youngsters were murdered in 2012 in a terrifying spree of gunfire. Far less noticed but no less horrific is the unending toll from the more routine bursts of gunfire that each day send an average of 20 American children and adolescents to hospitals, many of them for long-term treatment.
The cases in the 2009 study showed that very few of the shootings occurred in schoolhouses, which offers little comfort for school authorities who need to prepare for the worst. But it shows that the wounding and death of youngsters is a national health crisis that deserves far more attention — no easy task when the gun lobby continues to block research and data collection about guns.

Is Russia responsible?
Wall Street Journal

The world’s investigators will need time to fix responsibility for the crash in Ukraine of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, but U.S. intelligence officials had already concluded on Thursday that the Boeing passenger jet was hit by a surface-to-air missile of uncertain provenance. If the source of that missile turns out to be separatists backed by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, then the civilized world will have no choice but to change how it deals with the Kremlin.
As the Malaysian plane’s identity was revealed, the rebels withdrew earlier boasts about downing a Ukrainian plane and blamed Ukraine’s military. Kremlin media carried a report that “the Ukrainian rocket” mistook the Malaysian jet for Mr. Putin’s presidential plane, which it said the new pro-Western government in Kiev wanted to shoot down.
The downing of MH17 should at the very least clear the fog around the conflict in eastern Ukraine. If not for President Putin, none of this would be happening. The conflict was conceived, funded and armed by Russia.
As Ukraine’s popular new president launched an operation to liberate the east last month, the rebels acquired fancier new weaponry. The Kremlin put advanced weapon systems in the hands of a band of outlaws — and it is ultimately responsible for how they use them.
Perhaps the downing of MH17 will be a similar turning point in our post-post Cold War era.
It’s notable that Mr. Putin was the one leader who didn’t show restraint on Thursday. He blamed Ukraine as “the government on whose territory this occurred.” The world should ask why he would be so quick to jump to conclusions.

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