Sadly, in the aftermath of some horrible mass murders, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Washington Navy Yard, and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, we learned that the assailants were or had been receiving some sort of mental health treatments-- medications or counseling. Sadly, they were not enough to stop these tragedies from happening. In some of these cases, the access to care had been limited or even denied because of insurance policy limitations.
In the aftermath there were public cries for gun control. But 2nd amendment rights advocates and more powerfully the NRA successfully placed the blame on these assailants mental disorders. They claim the problem isn't gun control. It's that there's a deficiency in providing mental illness care.
Well, in a movement to address that situation, the Obama administration, as part of their overall health care initiatives and the Sandy Hook massacre have now produced President Obama's 23rd executive order. It's now official: Health insurance companies must cover mental illness and substance abuse just as they cover physical diseases.
The administration had pledged to issue a final mental health parity rule as part of an effort to reduce gun violence. Officials said they have now completed or made significant progress on 23 executive actions that were part of a plan announced in response to the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December.
"For way too long, the health care system has openly discriminated against Americans with behavioral health problems," Sebelius said in a telephone conference call with reporters. "We are finally closing these gaps in coverage."
What's the significance of this executive order? Quite simply, in the past, medical health policies (which included limited emotional,psychiatric, drug and sex counseling) had different payment schedules when it came to non-mental health issues. There were tremendous policy limitations to the number of visits per year as well as significantly increased deductibles -- the patient's co-payment for each allowed visit. Oftentimes that priced a visit beyond the means of a patient.
Basically you could see a doctor as many times as you needed for say, kidney stones, liver disease, heart and high blood pressure issues. But if you had anxiety, phobias, psychotic episodes, those were on a different and far more limited schedule. That's now all in the past. Now if you are sick, physically or mentally, you can get the care you need without the fear of using up your visits.
Will this cut down on tragedies like those listed above? Possibly. Until we get guns out of unqualified people's hands we're never going to be without reckless, wanton shootings. But it's about time that drug users and the mentally/emotionally challenged get the same treatment as someone with cancer or pneumonia.
The bottom line, is the Presidents order AND the Affordable Care Act extend the parity protections for those participating in individual and small group health insurance plans.
The Republicans and gun zealots were blaming the lack of care for the mentally unstable. Hopefully now they'll applaud Obama's actions to provide these people care. If not, when the next gun massacre happens, the public may just revisit sane gun control measures and weapon's registration.
So, driving while intoxicated (DUI) in Florida isn't a crime. Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in Florida isn't a crime. And destroying evidence of a crime in Florida, isn't a crime. At least it's not if you're Liberty County, Florida Sheriff Nick Finch — who is accused of illegally acting on behalf of Floyd Parrish, an intoxicated driver, arrested on a concealed weapons charge.
Here's some background from the Raw Story:
Finch was arrested after it came to light that he helped Floyd Parrish, who had been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and was found to be carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. According to the arrest warrant, Sheriff Finch took the arrest file from Sgt. Lisa Smith, freed Parrish, and told Sgt. Smith not to file any charges.
What seems to be lost in whether or not this is a 2nd amendment issue at all is that Floyd Parrish was stopped for being intoxicated, crime one. Second: illegal gun possession. So as it turns out he was loaded in more ways than one.
The third crime here was the cover-up -- the destruction of police booking documents and evidence of the crime. And that's perhaps the most shocking. That's on Sheriff Finch.
And now he's going to be tried. I'm quite confident that in Florida, with their history of jurisprudence and justice lately, the sheriff will be acquitted, back in his office shortly after the jury's sworn in. Innocent and free to endanger his community again.
So why the people of Liberty County backing the Sheriff in this situation is outrageous. They live in the area where the man was driving while impaired. He could have killed somebody. As it turns out, this man was in possession of two deadly weapons-- a car and a pistol and he was intoxicated. But does the public care about that? Evidently not.
Is there any concern that their sheriff destroyed evidence of other crimes? "That's nothing. We've got a gun charge here and we're gonna make sure it don't stick. Nobody takes our guns and gets away with it."
Floyd Parrish could have used either one of his two deadly weapons to kill somebody that night, while intoxicated. Evidently that means nothing to these ignoramuses, including the sheriff. This isn't a second amendment issue. It's a personal and community safety issue. Drunk and driving don't mix. And neither does drunk and pistol packing. Why's that concept so hard to understand?
Oh, yeah, that's right. This is Florida.
Last weekend I posted a story about a tragic shooting of a 13 year old boy who was carrying a toy rifle that looked like a real weapon. It was called Was This Stop And Frisk Or Stop And Shoot.
My problem was in the official timing of the event. After hanging up with dispatch telling them they were going to investigate a possible armed male, a mere ten seconds later the cops called back in. In that short time two cops got out of their vehicle, called out for the 13 year old who had his back to them to drop the weapon, the boy supposedly didn't respond immediately and they called out to him again, then he turned, one of them shot the boy 8 times and they checked on the fallen lad and then got back to dispatch -- ALL IN TEN SECONDS.
Well, this story takes on a bit more curiosity. According to Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old California boy carrying what turned out to be a plastic replica assault rifle is a firearms expert who has trained officers for nearly two decades, authorities said on Monday.
Deputy Erick Gelhaus, 48, fired eight shots at Andy Lopez Cruz on Tuesday, as the popular eighth-grader was walking near his home in the wine-country suburb of Santa Rosa carrying an imitation AK-47 he planned to return to a friend, relatives and officials said.
Moment of perspective here: of the two cops involved in the shooting, one was a rookie, the other a seasoned vet who not only had years of experience, but he's the one responsible for teaching other cops, like the rookie, how to use reasonable force. One cop, the training officer fired 8 times, hitting the child 7. The other officer didn't fire a single shot. Did someone here have an itchy trigger finger? If I lived in Santa Rosa California, I wouldn't want that kind of shoot first, ask questions later rogue out on the streets, let alone teaching other officers how to handle a situation.
And how could all of this happen within 10 seconds? Did they fake this shooting? Had they already killed the child and then tried to cover it up. Just think about how short a time this is to do everything that supposedly went down. Does this raise your eyebrows too?
Both cops are on administrative leave, but maybe psychological medical discharge for the senior officer might be more appropriate. You shouldn't get second chances on the street armed with deadly weapons when you kill innocent kids.
It's a tragedy no matter who was responsible. A 13 year old boy is dead, victim of a police shooting in Santa Rosa California. Ordinarily something like this tends not to make national news, but in this case it has. And part of the reason has to do with the fact that the FBI has been called into what normally is a local police investigation.
A few things to keep in mind when you watch the news report below is the "official" timeline of events. Obviously many questions are still unanswered. The longer they remain, the longer the stink of this horrible murder will fester.
A timeline released Thursday by the Santa Rosa police shows that only 10 seconds passed from the moment that the sheriff's deputy and his partner called dispatch to report a suspicious person to the moment they called back to say shots had been fired.
Just think about this -- all of these things in 10 seconds: The two police officers call in to report a suspicious person. They have to get out of their squad car, pull their weapons, call out to the boy, they have to assess the danger, they have to give him time to respond/react to their demands and then they have to shoot him (seven times) and finally get back into their squad car and call back into dispatch. Ten seconds to do all that?
Now to be fair, here's what one of the deputies told a reporter from the Miami Herald
Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry told the newspaper the deputy who opened fire later told investigators he believed his life as well his partner's was in jeopardy. The deputy said the teen didn't comply with commands to drop the gun and was turning toward the deputies while raising the barrel.
According to the police as reported in the video above, the boy had his back to them when they called toward him. He turned. That would mean the pellet gun would have moved with him. So to say the boy raised his gun toward them is a very loose interpretation of what might have gone on. And again, keep in mind, the 10 second time frame for all of this to go on.
Certainly if you're a cop and you see a gun being raised toward you this would be a justifiable shooting. But wait. There's more. The shooting deputy had a partner. How does he figure into all of the. He was there as well.
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas told the Press Democrat that the deputy who shot the teen is a 24-year veteran and his partner, who did not fire his weapon, is a new hire.
So the newbie deputy, the shooter's partner, didn't fire. Why's that? Why did one officer shoot 7 times while the other didn't shoot once? Was one patrolman trigger happy and the other remotely sane. Was the non-shooting deputy too scared and frozen by the threat? Or by his partners itchy trigger finger?
Perhaps time will tell. But this is certainly a situation where there's some common sense that needs to go along with the deputy's explanations and follow-up interviews. It will be interesting to see what the initial reason for the policemen thinking this 13 year old boy, who witnesses say was just playing, drew the cops attention (and ultimately guns) to the point they felt they needed to stop and shoot. That question has yet to be answered by either officer.
Yes indeed, Scott Brown is on the Advisory Board. Via the Broward-Palm Beach New Times:
Palm Beach Arms Dealer Hires Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and Mass. Sen. Scott Brown:
In March, Jennifer Carroll resigned as Rick Scott's lieutenant governor after becoming, as the New York Times put it, "an embarrassment to the man who chose her for the job" during a tenure "marred by scandal and poor judgment." Farther north, Scott Brown, a rare Republican in liberal Massachusetts, relinquished his seat in the Senate in January after being beaten in an election by consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren. But both are finding themselves wanted by a Palm Beach-based arms dealer, GDSI. [...]
GDSI's chairman and CEO, Richard J. Sullivan, formerly held the same titles at Applied Digital Solutions, a company that made various technologies, including microchips. He was also involved in a company called Digital Angel, which also worked on Verichip, a controversial microchip that could be implanted in people. [...]
There is little information about the company or its principals in the financial media, except for news releases from the company. GDSI is publicly traded, not on the NASDAQ or the NYSE but rather on the over-the-counter markets. One analysis from June raised some "red flags" about the company for investors.
And yes, Scott Brown is working with that splendid fellow who wants to put microchips in people. So much for future political ambitions.
As for Jennifer "Loose cannon" Carroll, her longtime PR client was actually a huge scam pretending to help veterans:
Carroll, 53, resigned last week after investigators questioned her about Allied Veterans as part of a nationwide racketeering and fraud investigation. So far, close to 60 people have been arrested as part of the case.
Not to mention she claimed to not look like a lesbian (because, you know, all lesbians look exactly the same):
"My husband doesn't want to hear that. He knows the type of woman I am, and my kids know the type of woman I am for 29 years. I'm the one that's married for 29 years. The accuser is the one that's single for a long time. [Giggle!] Usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that. [Giggle!]"
Aren't those two new little arms dealers just so totes adorbs? [Giggle!]
Disclaimer: I am an unabashed Detroit lover since 1978. Too many good times and good people not to love it.
Somehow I missed this chart a few days ago. As Detroit is parceled out bit by bit, even it's precious artwork doled out like trading cards, the U.S. Government is tossing cash at foreign countries like rose petals on a honeymoon bed.
Now I know that a lot of this "cash" that goes overseas is just a ruse because the countries in return just buy our weapons to stockpile (remember that military industrial complex?). So, I'm thinking that Detroit proper should look into investing in some tanks (they could use them instead of bulldozers to tear down buildings), and maybe some smallish rocket launchers (lots of Canadian geese to shoot at, then give them to food banks to feed the poor). You get the idea.
Maybe if Detroit promised to continue the boondoogle of money-weapons-money and back again that all these other countries are complicit in, just maybe the government would help to save one of our most important cities.
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