- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A collection of editorial opinion from recent Arkansas newspapers:

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Aug. 3 - Bob Dole has a new project. Long a champion of this country’s veterans, his own withered arm says more about his wartime service and sacrifice than any statue could. Now he’s leading a peacetime campaign to get the long-planned Eisenhower Memorial in Washington finished while he and other members of his generation are still around to attend the dedication.

The problem is that the memorial’s design is still more about its world-famous designer (Frank Gehry) than its subject. Even if a couple of statues, one of Eisenhower the general and the other of Eisenhower the statesman-president, have been added. Much as a couple of statues were added to the graceful Vietnam Memorial - just enough to mar its simple, sloping lines.

What do you think General and President Eisenhower would do? Wait till plans for his memorial mature, or do a hurry-up job memorial to meet an arbitrary deadline? It’s impossible to know. Ike is far beyond such concerns now.

But we do know what the man did. He spent years putting together the grand coalition that liberated Europe, paying close attention to every detail, rather than speed up the invasion of Normandy. Till the day before the planned invasion, he was postponing it till the weather was right. And as president, he was a frugal chief executive who preferred balanced budgets to flashy effects.

We also know that the general’s family objects mightily to the current hodgepodge of a design for his memorial, however it’s been prettified here and there by a little statuary. Here’s hoping the Eisenhowers stand fast against all these hurry-up-and-build-it pressures. Why build in haste only to repent at leisure?

The important thing is to get it right, not just to get it built.

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The Sentinel-Record, Hot Springs, July 31 - A week has passed since the death of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore, the son of Division 2 Garland County Circuit Court Judge Wade Naramore, and we still know little more now than we did then.

Plenty of speculation, much of it hurtful, has swirled around social media since the young child’s death, much of it fueled by the tight-lipped attitude taken by law enforcement regarding its release of Naramore’s connection to the incident, which did not occur until the following Monday.

And that’s about all of the additional information that we know at this point. We know the child was found last Friday (July 24) in a car stopped in the middle of Fairoaks Place, a quiet neighborhood off Malvern Road, but we have no confirmation as to who was driving the vehicle. We know that Judge Naramore made the 911 call, but investigators and now the special prosecutor in the case, Scott Ellington, of Jonesboro, have declined to release the recording pending the filing of charges. We know that the child died of “excessive heat” in the car, and was left there for an undetermined time on the hottest day Hot Springs has experienced in around two years.

We don’t know whether Judge Naramore will face criminal charges in his child’s death. We likewise do not know how this will impact his career on the bench.

As an elected official, Judge Naramore is held to a higher standard than the rest of us, which is one reason why this “tragic accident,” as the family said in a statement released to the newspaper on Sunday night, is due more than the normal amount of scrutiny. Add to that the fact that Naramore is the judge over the sole division that deals with juvenile cases, and it’s understandable that the public feels it is due more answers than it has received.

And yet, public opinion this week has taken the appearance of a virtual lynch mob. Relying on the relative anonymity of social media, Judge Naramore has been charged, tried and convicted on Facebook and websites, some of them purporting to be “journalists,” in the loosest sense of the word, since the child’s death came to light. Such speculation is not only hurtful to a family mourning the loss of a child, but it is irresponsible.

The Rev. C.B. Baker, in a guest column in the newspaper on Thursday, noted that the comments seem to fall into two categories: “On the one hand, we have parents who say they would never leave their children in a car, which then is often, but not always, followed by varying degrees of contempt directed toward our grieving family. On the other hand, there are people who simply are filled with venom and feel no punishment for the parents is strong enough, and whatever it is, it should have already begun.”

We applaud the responsible actions that have followed this tragedy, most notably Terri Harris, the Garland County prosecutor, who on Monday quickly moved to recuse herself, along with her office, from the case. Harris showed by her actions that she did not want to cast any sense of doubt over any potential criminal charges that are filed in the case.

We likewise applaud the Rev. Baker and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for recognizing this week that the community needs to heal from this terrible wound. The church hosted a nondenominational Community Service of Hope and Healing Thursday night to allow the community to come together to pray and recover from this, and other tragedies that have affected the area of late.

To the family, we offer our sympathy for the loss of your child. To the law enforcement officials and the special prosecutor, we admonish you to continue to do your due diligence. To the public, we say, move on. And be kind.


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