July 3 // Is there a law that could have saved the Capital Gazette?

Surely we can all agree that someone who said in court documents that he had sworn a “legally binding oath” to kill a former Annapolis Capital reporter should not have been able to purchase a gun. Yet Jarrod W. Ramos, the man charged in the Thursday killing of five members of the Capital Gazette staff, passed a criminal background check and bought a pump-action shotgun legally from a dealer. Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. How could this happen? (Balt. Sun)

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Thanks above all to those who saved us

They saved us. What more can you say about the police officers who arrived at our Annapolis offices Thursday afternoon knowing there was a gunman waiting for them inside ready to kill again? What more can you say about Anne Arundel County Deputy Chief Bill Krampf, who coordinated the massive response to Bestgate Road by multiple police agencies? What can you say about the officer who carried one of our reporters across the broken glass of our front door, shattered with a shotgun blast by a man determined to kill us? Or the ones who captured that evil man as he was trying to hide after the gunfire ended? They saved us. (Capital)

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Jay Hutchins, Emily Scarr: Baltimore Fair Elections Fund gives political power back to the people

With a mailbox full of attack ads and too many candidates who are funded by big-donors, corporations and out-of-staters, it’s easy to feel that government doesn’t work for us. But, there is a reason to be optimistic about the future of Baltimore’s democracy. Last week, the Baltimore City Council cast a preliminary vote to put the Baltimore Fair Elections Fund and commission on November’s ballot. This unanimous vote struck a blow to politics as usual and is step No. 1 toward fixing our broken democracy. (Balt. Sun)

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Ann Hornaday: I lost touch with a friend from the Capital Gazette. Now I’ve lost him forever.

“Please tell me you’re OK.” “Please please please.” That’s what I frantically emailed Rob Hiaasen on Thursday afternoon, when TVs in the Washington Post newsroom suddenly broadcast live footage of the evacuation of the Annapolis Capital Gazette while an active shooter was inside. I had done a quick search of my email inbox to find his address with no luck; I wound up finding it through a mutual friend, who mentioned having written me earlier this summer with no reply. Guilt, remorse and doubt soon ricocheted around my brain: Hadn’t Rob emailed me a while back? Did I ever get back to him? Did I forget to respond? (Wash. Post)

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Rhonda Pringle: After Capital Gazette tragedy, it's time to stop attacks on media

The one truth that we can all agree upon is that the news media are under unprecedented attack. The constant labeling of all news that one dislikes or disagrees with as “fake news” has opened truth up to very real danger.  A gunman, Jarrod Ramos, who apparently had a longstanding grudge against the Annapolis Capital Gazette, last week opened fire, killing five people and wounding several others. For what grievous act was Ramos upset about? That in 2011 a reporter had written an article about Ramos’ guilty plea to criminal harassment. The truth hurt, and in 2012 Ramos sued the Capital Gazette newspapers for defamation and lost. Ramos appealed and lost again. In both cases, the judges cited truth as a defense. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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July 2 // Thank you. We will not forget.

Thank you. Thank you for the outpouring of sympathy for the terrible tragedy that took place Thursday in our Annapolis office. We will never forget Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara or Rebecca Smith, our five co-workers who were gunned down in a senseless attack. But we also will always remember the bells of St. Anne’s ringing as members of our staff — past and present — walked down Main Street surrounded by thousands who turned out to support us in a march to City Dock. (Capital)

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An attack on journalism itself

Friday's opinion page in the Capital Gazette consisted of only 56 words, centered around five names. It was a spare and eloquent — and heartbreaking — tribute to those lost in the tragedy that had befallen this storied newspaper the day before, and to the kind of journalism the newspaper embodies. The five names were those of the dedicated professionals who came to the Capital’s newsroom Thursday for the last time, their lives ended by a man police say had waged a long-running vendetta against the newspaper. (Wash. Post)

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Montgomery’s low-yield, razor-thin primary shows it’s time for voting reform

Montgomery County, with 1.1 million people, is Maryland’s largest locality, as well as the state’s economic dynamo — a place where leadership and governance are consequential. That’s why it’s faintly preposterous that as things stand now, the county’s top elected official is likely to take office on the strength of a primary last Tuesday in which the victor managed to collect votes from less than 6 percent of all active registered voters, or roughly 3.2 percent of Montgomery County’s total population. Not exactly a thundering mandate. (Wash. Post)

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