Someone failed as VA problems continue

Veterans of military service ought to be asking an old cliche question about Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin: What did he know, and when did he know it?

A new inspector general report makes official what many Americans knew, that “failed leadership” at the VA during the Obama administration put some veterans in agency hospitals at risk.

Shulkin was the VA’s undersecretary of health from 2015-16. He was promoted to head the agency when President Donald Trump took office.

According to the inspector general report, officials in three programs under Shulkin’s oversight knew of “serious, persistent deficiencies” during 2015-16. But the report stops short of explaining whether anyone told Shulkin of the problems, and he has said he does not recall having been notified.

If he was, he ought to be sacked. If no one told him of the problems, those who kept the information from him should be fired. It is as simple as that.


The shooting death Wednesday of a high school student in Birmingham, Ala., was one more reminder of the complexity of keeping our schools safe.

Courtlin Arrington, 17, was killed and another student was wounded in a classroom, apparently not in an intentional shooting but, instead, an accident that occurred while students were handling a gun one of them took to school.

How the gun got into the school, which has heavy security including metal detectors, was being investigated.

In all likelihood, not a single one of the pieces of state and federal gun legislation being considered now would have prevented the death. It was another grim reminder that simplistic solutions will fall short of keeping our children safe in their schools.