Online Opinion Outpost: March 17, 2015

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The 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.

Ferguson officers
The Los Angeles Times

The shooting of two police officers early Thursday at the close of a protest at police headquarters in Ferguson, Mo., is a reminder to the public at large that officers put their lives on the line daily and that criminals target them.
It appears, however, that the protest, although sometimes angry, remained peaceful and was hijacked by someone firing from a distance.
Responsible parties on all sides of the nationwide confrontation and dialogue over policing — protesters, officers, commentators — ought to work mightily against granting violent criminals that power.
A program for remedying those problems is likely to be presented this year — and, if it is successful, should result in a police department better able to walk the line between responsible and oppressive policing, and one with a more productive relationship with the people it serves. It would be a shame to allow the brutal attacks on police, and the increased tension they inevitably will cause, to divert attention from that reform process.

NFL players retiring early
Roxanne Jones, CNN

Patrick Willis, the San Francisco 49er linebacker, isn’t really sure what he’ll do next, but he knows he won’t play another game in the National Football League. Willis said his nagging injuries and desire for a happy life are why he walked away.
And while many sports fans are in shock that any guy lucky enough to play in the NFL would just walk away from fame and wealth, it sounds to me like Willis has his priorities right. It’s refreshing.
And Willis is not alone. Several other high-profile players have decided to hang up their cleats. And what’s surprising is how young they are.
So maybe there is another way out for young players who are now better informed about the dangers of the game. Just maybe all the debates about the ugly side of football — concussions, brain injuries, depression and suicides– have done some good, after all.

Offline legislators
Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post

A lesser-known, longer-brewing e-mail scandal should be far more upsetting, at least if you’re under the age of, say, 40.
This came to public attention on last week’s “Meet the Press,” when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), considered a possible presidential candidate, was asked if he had a private e-mail address.
“I don’t e-mail,” Graham replied. “No, you can have every e-mail I’ve ever sent. I’ve never sent one.”
A few days before Graham’s confession, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he doesn’t use this newfangled electronic messaging system either. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) later told Politico that he also abstains from electronic communication.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) told the New York Times that he dabbles “not very much” in the ways of the computerized communique.
The casualness with which these senators acknowledge such habits reveals something scarier, at least to those born after about 1980: how utterly uninterested they are in understanding the daily experience, workplace expectations or priorities of their younger constituents.
Not taking the time to learn to communicate the way that pretty much everyone else in the nation does reveals such mindboggling levels of societal incuriosity that it should be considered political malpractice. It should probably also disqualify you from crafting any policy that has even been tangentially touched by the now decades-old digital revolution. Which is pretty much every kind of policy you can think of.
If you’re still using a carrier pigeon while lecturing us about how it’s our fault that we haven’t acquired the skills desirable to 21st-century employers, don’t expect our vote.

Say no deal to Iran
Mitt Romney, USA Today

Are there any fans of President Obama’s foreign policy record — other than our nation’s adversaries, that is? Democrats have been noticeably quiet on the subject; Republicans have been appropriately brutal. But the president could silence critics like me and even qualify for a Profile in Courage Award by doing the right thing on Iran: Walk away from a flimsy nuclear agreement.
I say courage because signing an agreement — any agreement — would undoubtedly be a political home run. The news media would repeatedly feature the signing ceremony. The coverage would rehearse the long and tortured history between our two countries and exalt at the dawn of a new era. The Iranian pooh-bahs would appear tame and responsible. The president would look, well, presidential.An agreement would also boost the prospects for Hillary Clinton: achievement by association.
Walking away from all that would be courageous. It would also be right.

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