Last year during a visit to New England my wife slipped on ice and dislocated her shoulder, leaving her in excruciating pain. It wasn’t the first time it had happened. Since suffering a bad skiing accident in the 1990s, Kate’s left shoulder has been increasingly unstable and prone to pop out at the slightest provocation.
It hadn’t happened in a while, but having been through this ritual at least four times in as many states, she thought she knew what to expect: A trip to the emergency room where a doctor would greet her with a stiff shot of morphine and then pop the errant ball joint back into its socket. Simple as that, she assured me.
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As the theories about what set Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis on his homicidal tear pile up, old policy clashes are re-emerging. Gun control advocates are quick to offer assorted “we-told-you-so” arguments, and for good reason. But as fevered as the uproar over guns is the conversation on mental health.
Once details emerged that Alexis had a long post-9/11 history of mental issues, the spigot of outrage flowed. How could a 34-year-old disturbed Navy veteran with a Molotov cocktail of “anger management” and firearms episodes get a security clearance to the facility overseeing Naval operations worldwide? Here in D.C., getting security clearance for a cushy federal gig is like finding gold. You can’t even get one if you have bad credit. So, how did Alexis slip through the cracks?
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In the 19th century, it was tariffs and slavery that eventually triggered a Civil War here as devastating as the one we’re debating over in Syria. In the 21st century it’s pot, guns and ObamaCare that tempt the return of old tensions once known as the Nullification Crisis.
As noticeable as dysfunction in Washington is the rampant regionalism which defines its partisan factionalism. Many of the ideological red lines drawn on Capitol Hill appear very much a result of geographic lines beyond it, something that shouldn’t go unnoticed or be casually ignored—yet it tends to get dismissed with “it can’t happen in the 21st century.” Still, contemporary American politics continues its descent into the regurgitation of old issues that history books would have us think were resolved—until gangs of Republicans engineer unfriendly reminders. That has the electorate comfortably isolating itself—at least politically for now—into corners of red and blue, and (more uncomfortably) into acres of North and South.
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Today’s random history lesson, brought to you by Jason Nark of the Daily News: Abe Lincoln was shot by a pistol manufactured in Northern Liberties. Indeed, if you look closely, the words “Deringer Philadel” are inscribed on it, after the name of the Easton, PA native who made the guns. Here’s a replica of the piece.
The term Deringer probably sounds familiar. Henry Deringer, who’s buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, fought hard against bootleggers for much of his career. But while he staked a claim to the name “Deringer,” copycats merely called their versions “Derringers.” Since his death in 1868, the bastardized “Derringer” has become a commonplace term for a small pistol. How fitting that the forefather of the small handgun came from Philly, now one of the world capitals of small, deadly handgun use. Feel the pride! [Daily News]
Friday evening was big for Chris Christie. (More on the significance of Friday below.) Four bills, four vetoes, and some brazen political calculation.
Christie vetoed three gun control measures, including one he proposed earlier this year. The rejected bills:
- A ban on .50 caliber rifles, including this guy right here, which shoots bullets more than a mile. Christie had proposed restricting these very guns in April.
- A background check system that sought to keep guns away from those with criminal records and mental illnesses.
- A requirement that state officials report missing guns to a federal database.
The headlines said Christie “conditionally vetoed” a bill easing regulations on medical marijuana for kids. And one of those vetoes was a big one: A pediatrician and a psychiatrist must still sign off on a child’s use of medical marijuana. But Christie also approved a couple big portions of the law.
- Kids can now take edible medical marijuana. So yes, pot brownies.
- Dispensaries (there is only one in Jersey right now) can now grow more than three strains of pot. This will allow growers to sell more potent strains–like the one this dad was looking for.
Today Christie signed a bill banning gay conversion therapy.
So, why was Friday significant? Christie’s vetoes–over the gun bills in particular–will not go over well with a large portion of the Jersey electorate, so dropping the news at the slowest possible time for media coverage was a conscious decision. (Despite his popularity, he still has to win re-election this year…) Down the road, of course, come Iowa caucus time, Christie may not be so shy about touting those same vetoes.
The Daily News reports Commissioner Charles Ramsey has replaced the head of the police department’s firearms training unit, after an audit showing a gun missing from the department’s stockpile of 1,356 M-16 rifles.
Right now, we have 12 guns that we still need to locate, but we have more than 100 officers that we’ve not yet checked with,” Ramsey said.
“It’s too soon to say we can’t locate [the firearms]. We have some officers who are out on IOD [injured on duty] status, and others that are detailed to other units.
The command switch was not directly linked to any concerns about the ongoing audit, Ramsey said.
“I’m just trying to make a few moves, here and there,” Ramsey said. “It’s no reflection on [Fisher's] ability. He’s a fine leader and a good man.”
It’s a good thing he’s not too worried. After all, how much damage in Philadelphia could possibly be done with a dozen M-16s?
AP reports that Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler has been suspended over those crazy profane shoot-em-up anti-liberal videos he made—not because of the sentiments expressed therein (he does have his crazy profane First Amendment rights after all) but because he used city property without permission. The property in question? The guns he gleefully blazed away with in those videos. (He’d bought the guns and donated them to the police department.)
In one video, Kessler criticizes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s support of a United Nations treaty aimed at controlling the international arms trade, which some gun rights advocates fear could lead to restrictions on domestic weapons. Kessler then fires a weapon and screams, “Come and get it!”
Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon has said she found the language in the videos offensive and she understood that others did as well.
“I think it’s blackened our eye a little, but we are a strong community,” Hannon said after the meeting. “We will go on from here.”
Just remember, liberals: Never get caught speeding in Gilberton. Or if you do, do it in the next month, before Kessler returns from suspension.
Only in Philadelphia would we celebrate 115 recorder murders on record. For the past 10 years or so, we’ve clocked a minimum of 300 murders a year, putting us at about 180 murders for the year at this point on average. However, our body count of 115 puts us at more than 42 percent below the murder rate for last year at this time, marking an amazing 45-year low in the rate at which we kill one another. However, with summer having solidly arrived, it’s likely that we’ll see those numbers increase, as this season is ordinarily one of the most violent times of year in the city. [Newsworks]
On the heels his arrest yesterday for a June 17th murder in Massachusetts, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now being investigated for his potential role in a July, 2012 double-murder, law enforcement officials told the Boston Globe. The alleged murder occurred after a fight erupted at a Boston club, when a someone in a silver or gray SUV followed a BMW sedan, shooting and killing two men inside. Officials suspect the man Hernandez is accused of killing last week may have known about that double-murder. Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the murder charge yesterday. [Boston Globe]