FROM Lawrence Rosenthal
Has a California Gun Control Law Backfired? In 2010, California gun rights advocates created a spectacle by prominently carrying handguns at Starbucks. Under state law, their action was legal as long as the guns were unloaded. Gun control groups demanded a change, and the state legislature then banned what's called "open carry." Now a federal appellate court has ruled that there was an unintended consequence: the ban on "open carry" means there cannot also be a limit on "concealed carry."
Mental Illness and Law Enforcement Last year in Fullerton, California police officers beat a homeless schizophrenic into a coma. After he died, the district attorney of conservative Orange County prosecuted two of the cops for manslaughter and second-degree murder. The trial took three weeks and evidence included a videotape featuring police batons, multiple strikes with a Taser and the voice of Kelly Thomas. After less than two days of deliberation, the jury acquitted both officers of all charges. As many as half the people killed by police in the US are mentally ill. Deadly violence occurs after cops have been called to deal with a crisis caused by disease, rather than criminality. But police training calls for the use of force, rather than empathy, and the public tends to side with officers of the law. With mental hospitals closed down and services cut back, confrontations may be inevitable. We look at potential solutions to a humanitarian problem.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.