Some of the stuff that caught my eye this morning.
When the Right to Bear Arms Includes the Mentally Ill (NY Times)
This article is horrifying.
"Last April, workers at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut called the police to report that a psychiatric patient named Mark Russo had threatened to shoot his mother if officers tried to take the 18 rifles and shotguns he kept at her house. Mr. Russo, who was off his medication for paranoid schizophrenia, also talked about the recent elementary school massacre in Newtown and told a nurse that he “could take a chair and kill you or bash your head in between the eyes,” court records show...
Connecticut’s law giving the police broad leeway to seize and hold guns for up to a year is actually relatively strict. Most states simply adhere to the federal standard, banning gun possession only after someone is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility or designated as mentally ill or incompetent after a court proceeding or other formal legal process. Relatively few with mental health issues, even serious ones, reach this point.
As a result, the police often find themselves grappling with legal ambiguities when they encounter mentally unstable people with guns, unsure how far they can go in searching for and seizing firearms and then, in particular, how they should respond when the owners want them back."
There are a ton more examples in the article of people with serious problems who're armed to the teeth and who threaten nearly everyone they meet. It's frustrating because you can see that the seeds of disaster have already been planted, but no one cares enough to actually do anything about them.
We live in the greatest country in the world, and because of that, we're blessed beyond measure. But we just can't get out of our own way.
During Religious Season, Nonbelievers Assert Right to Celebrate (NY Times)
Seems like kind of a non-story to say that non-Christians celebrate Christmas, but what surprised me was the way some of these guys put together "worship" services tied to the solstice in order to give the season some meaning. I mean, I like the solstice, too, but if you're an athiest, own it. Don't "connect with the universe" or whatever. Just live your beliefs.
3 Terms Nearly Up, Bloomberg Makes S.N.L. Cameo (NY Times)
"Asked by Seth Meyers, the co-host of 'Weekend Update,' what he planned to do after leaving office on Jan. 1, Mr. Bloomberg said he would be 'fulfilling a lifelong dream of enjoying a small soda on a non-smoking beach.'"
Bloomberg might be the greatest modern architect of the nanny-state, but I still think we're gonna miss having him as our mayor. Consider: NYC has had a balanced budget--for years! And this is a big city that provides its citizens and working non-residents with a lot of services. Balancing that budget and keeping it balanced--in the wake of 9/11--was no small feat.