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Poll: How Do You Feel About Jury Duty?

Most likely you’ve been called to the courthouse to participate in a jury pool.

Jury pool waiting room for the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis
Jury pool waiting room for the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis

The poll question this week is how do you feel about this? Do you look forward to participating in our justice system or do you try to get out of it? The poll is located in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson


Readers: Reduce Gun Violence Via Mental Health Access

January 2, 2013 Crime, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Readers: Reduce Gun Violence Via Mental Health Access

Last week readers voted on a timely but controversial topic: reducing gun violence.

Q: What can/should be done to reduce gun violence? (Up to 3)

  1. Address access to mental health services 66 [24%]
  2. Ban some types of guns but protect the 2nd amendment 62 [22.55%]
  3. Regulate access to ammunition 48 [17.45%]
  4. Allow concealed-carry everywhere 20 [7.27%]
  5. Ban all guns 19 [6.91%]
  6. Require licensed gun owners to prove guns are stored locked up 19 [6.91%]
  7. Censor violent TV shows & video games 13 [4.73%]
  8. Fortify schools and workplaces 10 [3.64%]
  9. Allow open-carry everywhere 9 [3.27%]
  10. Other: 5 [1.82%]
  11. Unsure/no answer 4 [1.45%]

The legislators who push guns are the very same ones that cut access to mental heath services. You can’t have it both ways, access to mental health treatment must be at least as easy as access to a gun.

In researching this I learned something about the intent of 2nd Amendment from former Chief Justice Warren E Burger:

We see that the need for a state militia was the predicate of the “right” guaranteed; in short, it was declared “necessary” in order to have a state military force to protect the security of the state. That Second Amendment clause must be read as though the word “because” was the opening word of the guarantee. Today, of course, the “state militia” serves a very different purpose. A huge national defense establishment has taken over the role of the militia of 200 years ago.

Some have exploited these ancient concerns, blurring sporting guns — rifles, shotguns and even machine pistols — with all firearms, including what are now called “Saturday night specials.” There is, of course, a great difference between sporting guns and handguns. Some regulation of handguns has long been accepted as imperative; laws relating to “concealed weapons” are common. That we may be “over-regulated” in some areas of life has never held us back from more regulation of automobiles, airplanes, motorboats and “concealed weapons.”  (Source — full piece highly recommended) 

I don’t know the answer to reducing gun violence but the NRA’s solution of more guns everywhere isn’t the type of society I want to live in.

— Steve Patterson



Copia Destroyed By Arson Five Years Ago

December 29, 2012 Crime, Downtown, Featured 2 Comments

Five years ago today Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden was severely damaged after an early morning fire, .

ABOVE: The morning of December 29, 2007 Copia on Washington Ave was devastated by fire.
ABOVE: The morning of December 29, 2007 Copia on Washington Ave was devastated by fire.

The fire was arson. On May 5, 2009 the arsonist was sentenced:

Gilbert Summers, a former employee of Copia Urban Winery and Market, was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for the 2007 fire that caused $2.7 million in damages to the Washington Avenue eatery. (RFT)

Copia reopened in June 2010.

— Steve Patterson


Poll: What Can/Should Be Done To Reduce Gun Violence?

The tragedy in Newtown CT on Friday has left myself and others wondering what, if anything, can be done to at least reduce the number of such incidences. Facebook, Twitter and other forums have been filled with passionate discussion from all perspectives. I don’t know the answer, I wish I did.

With a lot of reservation the poll question this week asks what can/should be done to reduce gun violence. The poll is in the right sidebar, I’ve provided a wide range of answers to choose from. When commenting below please be respectful to others.

— Steve Patterson


Missouri’s Sex Offender Registry Is Overcrowded

One might think the Missouri Sex Offender Registry would be a useful tool when determining where to buy a house, or let your kid walk to school.  Think again! Legislators tried earlier this year to change the requirements so the registry would have fewer listed and be more helpful to the rest of us:

Currently, Missouri has more than 12,000 people on its sex offender registry. Crimes range from extreme rape cases to consensual sex with minors. The new law could cut as many as 5,000 people in its first year and 1,000 people each year after, according to a fiscal study. 

Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, argued that public opinion has pushed the registry too far – adding people who are not threats to society – so that it’s no longer effective. (stltoday.com)

ABOVE: Registered sex offenders around Chesterfield’s city hall, blue dots represent work address and red represent home address.

JOPLIN, MO– An effort to change the makeup of the Missouri Sex Offender Registry misses the deadline. House Bill 1700 was approved by state representatives, but failed to come to a vote in the senate. The measure would have created a tiered system for sex offenders. It also would have removed some convictions from the list. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder says the issue will likely return in the 2013 session. (source)

A person on the registry that had consensual sex with his minor girlfriend contacted me about the need to change Missouri’s law, I was shocked as I researched it. This “Romeo and Juliet” scenario is a common reason for ending up being labeled a sex offender, which greatly hampers employment prospects. Missouri’s age of consent is 17 so consensual sex between a 16 year old female and a 21 year old male is 2nd Degree Rape per Missouri statutes.

I searched for many addresses throughout the region and everywhere blue (work) and home (red) dots appeared. A dot nearby doesn’t mean your loved ones are in danger — the offender could just be someone that didn’t realize he was just a bit too old for his girlfriend — in Missouri. In other states the age of consent might be younger, or older, than Missouri.

You want to know about the Michael Devlin’s, not a young man that got caught with his girlfriend months before she’d have been legal.

— Steve Patterson




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