Our View: Whig Editorial

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To State Sen. Stephen Hershey for responding honestly to the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. Hours after the second shooting in less than 24 hours, Hershey tweeted, “I’m done with the thoughts and prayers. I’m done with the phony outrage from scores of politicians. I’m angry. I’m horrified. I’m devastated. Our American culture is suffering. Let’s call this what it is: A white nationalist committed an act of terrorism.” He later implored President Trump to acknowledge the growing issue of white supremacist-linked domestic terrorism — a problem that the FBI recently reported to Congress is as big a threat to public safety as international terrorist groups. Much has been made about Hershey’s comments about both Republicans and Democrats needing to “meet in the middle” on bipartisan solutions, and we understand conservatives concerns about giving too much away in regards to gun ownership rights. However, we agree with Hershey that “responsible gun owners want to make sure that guns don’t end up in the hands of the wrong person.” Enhanced background checks and additional restrictions on semiautomatic weapons should be policies that all responsible gun owners can get behind.

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To the failure of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive and well preceding his trial for abusing and sex trafficking young girls. The multi-millionaire hung himself in his cell after the two prison guards who were supposed to be watching him fell asleep and then falsified logs to try to cover their tracks, numerous news sources reported this week. Blame can also be laid at the feet of the prison’s warden, however, as he made the decision to not keep Epstein on suicide watch despite an attempt to take his life in June. That meant that the registered sex offender was given back bedsheets, which he ultimately utilized to commit suicide. The warden also approved moving Epstein’s cellmate, who could have been a deterrent for Epstein’s suicide attempt. The failure of the BOP to safeguard Epstein means that his dozens of alleged victims will not get a full sense of justice, nor will prosecutors be able to learn more about those who may have aided Epstein in his alleged crimes or taken part in them as well. It’s a travesty of justice that has also unfortunately sparked a new round of fringe conspiracy theories. Attorney General William Barr has vowed to investigate the circumstances of Epstein’s death and continue on with the associated prosecution of his case, and we hope that through that the victims may be able to find some peace.

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