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Readers Support Full Legalization of Marijuana in Missouri

In the poll last week nearly 82% favored some change in Missouri with respect to marijuana laws, with more than half supporting full legalization:

Q: How should Missouri treat marijuana?

  1. Fully legalize 71 53.38% 53.38%
  2. Legalize for medical / decriminalize for recreational use 32 24.06% 24.06%
  3. Keep it illegal 21 15.79% 15.79%
  4. Legalize for medical use only 6 [4.51%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 3 [2.26%]

Recently the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a bill (#275) that would give police the ability to issue a summons to people rather than arrest them for violating state law:

Right now, under that state law, first offenders who are caught with a small amount of marijuana — from a gram to 35 grams— is given a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second offense for possession of more than 35 grams is considered a felony. (stltoday)

This action is a reflection of changing attitudes, and perhaps realization the federal “War on Drugs” has largely failed:

For decades, the politics of the drug war were straightforward: Being tough could help at the polls and came with no political downside; being open to reform had few advantages, but would be used against a candidate on the campaign trail. (Huffington Post)

Nationally support for full legalization has picked up speed, Colorado & Washington states even legalized marijuana in the November 2012 election.

From Pew, click image to view source
From Pew, click image to view source

Seeing such a shift in Missouri will likely take a while.

— Steve Patterson


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




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