Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
The Greenwood Commonwealth on a Mississippi Court of Appeals ruling that a convicted drug dealer could not be prosecuted for murder after a customer died:
The Mississippi Court of Appeals used proper restraint last week in ruling 8-2 that a convicted drug dealer could not be prosecuted for murder because one of his customers died.
The dealer and user were friends, and each took two doses of synthetic LSD in 2014. That helped convince the majority of the court that the dealer's actions did not meet the legal definition of murder, which is the intent to kill or cause other harm.
The Court of Appeals overturned the dealer's second-degree murder conviction by an 8-2 vote. The majority said trial evidence did not support that charge or one for the lesser crime of culpable negligence manslaughter.
If the Attorney General's Office does not appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, the dealer will be resentenced on a well-deserved drug-trafficking conviction. Officers found 425 doses of synthetic LSD in his closet, which makes it obvious that the man who died was not his only customer.
The urge for revenge against drug dealers is understandable. They supply and profit from illegal substances that take advantage of people's weaknesses, and too many times their greed destroys lives.
The unfortunate flip side is that dealers rarely force their drugs on anybody. There is no shortage of eager and willing customers. Murder — meaning the intent to kill — almost always is an inappropriate charge in a drug transaction.
A bill to increase the penalty against a drug dealer whose transaction leads to an overdose death failed in the Legislature this year. But that would be a much better way for the law to address such tragedies.
Natchez Democrat on the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
Wednesday marks 17 years ago and one day since terrorists took down two iconic buildings and attacked the Pentagon.
And it was on this day that a nation brought to its knees by the evil, surprise attack stood tall and proud. We were wounded, hurting and scared, but foremost, we were Americans.
The deep, painful scars of the 9/11 attacks will forever be burned in our memories. Most Americans who were of an age to remember the attacks can vividly remember where they were and how they learned of the horrors unfolding before a live audience.
But as the smoke was still rising and dust settled, something much greater, something much more powerful than an airliner turned bomb was unfolded.
A giant American flag hung from the Pentagon brought tears to the eyes of many Americans. It was an enormous symbol to say to the terrorists, "We've been wounded, but we will not be broken."
In the days and weeks following the 9/11 attacks an unprecedented, at least since World War II, level of patriotism and togetherness spread across the country.
We were no longer a nation divided by differences of policy, political party or pigment.
We were a people welded together by a love for our country and for each other.
Today, our prayer for our country is that we can remember how that emergence of patriotism felt and that we have the collective wisdom to set aside our differences and find ways to celebrate those American emotions again.
God bless our country and may we never let enemies — foreign or domestic — split our country's resolve to work together.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Leader says Mississippi teachers deserve pay raises:
Teachers in Mississippi make less money than teachers in most states in the country. That's a fact straight from the National Education Association.
There may be slight fluctuations from time to time, but Mississippi stays steady in the bottom five in teacher salaries along with Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Carolina and West Virginia.
Sadly, this likely comes as no surprise to most Mississippians. It's certainly not a truth in which we ought to take pride.
Teachers in our state could seek out a classroom in any direction outside Mississippi and secure a better salary for themselves.
Thankfully, there are teachers who are committed to staying put, and helping to educate the young people in this state.
Sit and talk with any Mississippi teacher for even a moment or two, and if you ask the right questions, you will learn about second jobs worked by many - a necessity to make ends meet.
You'll also learn how they spend money from their own purses and pockets for supplies to decorate classroom bulletin boards and other things to help them better educate our children.
There have been improvements.
First-year teachers in 1979 on the Gulf Coast, one of the highest paying districts in the state at the time, made $11,000 a year.
Thankfully, Mississippi has done better for teachers since nearly four decades ago.
According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the state's teachers in 2016-17 made an average of $44,659, including some extra money from local salary additions.
A first-year teacher in Mississippi with a bachelor's degree has a beginning salary of $34,390. Of course, teachers with advanced degrees and experience have higher state-mandated salaries.
But the truth is, good teachers who play such a crucial role in the lives of Mississippi's kids deserve better. They deserve more competitive salaries that might not only keep good teachers in this state but also encourage teachers from other states to try Mississippi.
Thursday brought what could be promising news for teachers, if it comes to fruition.
Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have said they'd support pay raises for teachers in next year's legislative session.
Apparently, most of the teacher pay raise discussion was done via tweets and there are no set-in-stone plans. Also, this chatter has come only months before state elections.
It's been four years since state legislators approved a salary hike for teachers. It was $2,500 to take effect in a two-year period.
It's time for another.
That a pay raise is even being tweeted about is a positive thing, as long as it's not simply a cruel carrot dangled before Mississippi teachers by politicians hoping for support on election day.
Teachers are certainly deserving of a pay raise. Our elected officials ought to be more than aware of this and work hard to make it a reality.
It's the right thing to do.