Tragedy at the Mall in Columbia leaves too many questions

A troubled young man armed with a shotgun took two innocent lives, and his own, at the Mall in Columbia on Saturday — an unspeakable, unbearable crime. It occurred in a relatively affluent suburb, in the anodyne precincts of an upscale shopping mall, amid a planned community known more for its cultural diversity and harmonious race relations than for violent crime. The murders appeared inexplicable; the gunman, 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar, had no obvious motive for his actions nor connection with his victims. That makes his crime no harder or easier to digest. It just leaves questions. (Wash. Post)

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Fewer students, better prospects

No one denies Maryland needs a highly skilled workforce to compete successfully in the 21st-century global marketplace. So at first glance it may seem like a bad thing that enrollments in the state's community colleges have fallen sharply over the past three years. (Balt. Sun)

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'Cow'-culated risk

Raw milk should be available to anyone who wants to drink it. But caveat emptor, as the Romans said — “buyer beware.” We’re not going to get into a debate over health benefits or the lack of them, but we will advocate for the personal freedom to put in one’s mouth what one wishes, be it a 32-ounce soda, a cigarette, or, yes, raw milk — as long as the consumer is aware of the dangers. (News-Post)

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Christopher Summers: Maryland's next round of transportation taxes

Marylanders who thought our debate over transportation taxes ended with last year's historic gas tax increase may be in for a surprise. A new study released by the O'Malley-Brown administration suggests that state government's long arm may reach into the commuter's wallet yet again. (Balt. Sun)

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A tragedy of undetermined cause

We join with those who mourn the young people who died in the senseless shooting at the Mall in Columbia Saturday morning. And we are grateful to those police and firefighters who fearlessly responded to the scene and extend our sympathies to those injured, both physically and emotionally, as a result of the incident. (Balt. Sun)

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Pruski: More public comment needed on the budget

In November of 2013, the county executive in Harford County hosted a public hearing for taxpayers and residents to hear recommendations for their fiscal year 15 county budget. Members of the county executive's cabinet and budget officials in Harford County attended this meeting to hear directly from citizens about their priorities. I believe it is time to follow this same process in Anne Arundel County. (Capital)

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Peter Ephross: Columbia's tragedy

When James Rouse created Columbia nearly 50 years ago, he never imagined the Maryland town would be catapulted into the national consciousness as the site of the latest senseless shooting. Unlike most postwar suburban communities, Columbia was planned, a product of 1960s-era idealism. Rouse — a shopping mall pioneer as well as the developer of Harborplace in Baltimore, Faneuil Hall in Boston, and South Street Seaport in New York City — founded Columbia on the notion that it is both possible and necessary to build safer, more livable cities. (Balt. Sun)

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Trash future murky

Even with questions arising over whether a contract period has expired for construction of a waste-to-energy facility, Carroll’s Board of County Commissioners should increase efforts to find a replacement partner or taxpayers could still end up on the hook for paying a $3 million penalty. (Carr. Co. Times)

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