Newsroom: January 2018

Welcome back. Kicking things off with a quick run of some major news from the last month, and then we kick off the long-form half of the Midnight Run in two weeks with a discussion on sex trafficking.

1.) Venezuela. Remember when everybody was singing the praises of the Venezuelan government? When we had celebrities praising the Venezuelan government in general, and then-leader Hugo Chavez in particular.

Jump ahead a few years, and Venezuela is the definition of a failed state, with mandated price cuts, (and a minimum wage equivalent to two US Dollars per month), and looting that has resulted in the deaths of four people.

In September of last year, President Trump noted that Venezuela was in crisis because socialism has been “faithfully implemented” in the country.

2.) Gun rights. There is an almost-embarassing report out of about a court finding that being involuntarily committed for less than 24 hours does not trigger a lifetime ban on gun rights. The case centers around a man who walked into his local police station in 2002 “needing to talk to someone.” He was hospitalized for less than a day. Jump ahead over a decade and he learns that he is prohibited from owning a firearm, despite having no issues whatsoever in the intervening time.

A judge found that he “no longer suffers from the mental health condition that was the basis of the original civil commitment,”

But nonetheless, it’s worth noting that all of this started because a man asking for help, getting it, and moving on with his life.

We’ll be talking more about gun rights restoration, as well as mental health later this year.

3.) Guns and Weed. My InSov colleague at This Is The Line found a report out of PA saying that, at least in Pennsylvania, registering for a medical marijuana card will not lead to the State police looking to confiscate their firearms. The trouble, of course, comes from weed being illegal in all circumstances under federal law.

This is likely to become a flashpoint given Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ extremely well-documented opposition to legalization.

4.) Swatting. Swatting is the practice of giving fake information to a 911 dispatcher with the express purpose of getting the SWAT team called on somebody. This usually ends badly for either the SWAT team or the victim. In Kansas, we are finally starting to see a bit of resistance to it, as the suspect in a swatting case is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge. At max, he will serve 3 years in jail and a $300,000 fine. The suspect is apparently also wanted in Canada on mischief and fraud charges from a different swatting incident.

We covered Swatting previously in “Harassment” way back in 2014, as well as 2016’s “Pendulum” update.

If we see more of this, we’ll probably end up revisiting swatting this year as well.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

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