58°Scattered Clouds

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — April 17, 2012 at 8:37 am 1,943 66 Comments

Moran Marks Anniversary of Va. Tech Massacre — Rep. Jim Moran (D) marked the fifth anniversary of the shooting massacre at Virginia Tech yesterday by calling on Congress to improve gun control laws. “When there are nearly enough guns in the U.S. for every man, woman and child, firearms will find their way into the wrong hands,” Moran said. “Criminals, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill have no business owning deadly weapons.” A student shot and killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007.

Concern About Chicken Doo-Doo — Some residents are concerned that, if enacted, a proposal to allow small-scale backyard hen raising in Arlington would result in extra water pollution. A George Mason University professor says chicken waste from backyard hens in Arlington would ultimately make it into the already environmentally-sensitive Chesapeake Bay. [WAMU]

‘God of Carnage’ Opens at Signature Theatre — The Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage is now showing at Signature Theatre in Shirlington. [Playbill]

Hearing About School Board Appointment — A public hearing will be held tonight to discuss the appointment of an interim School Board member to replace now-County Board member Libby Garvey. Sixteen residents have declared themselves interested in the position. [Sun Gazette]

Man Dies After Heart Attack at Pentagon StationAdded at 9:15 a.m. — A 51-year-old Alexandria man died yesterday afternoon after suffering a heart attack at the Pentagon Metro station. Passengers attempted to revive the man, a witness told ARLnow.com, but he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. [Washington Post]

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  • Hmmmmm

    Why SA20?

    • DoS

      Because it has the neato shiny wall, of course! It used to have great views of DC before that dernned CEB building went up.

  • chipotle_addict

    With Moran’s logic, we also need tighter house control laws. After all, there are more homes than there are people in our country, it’s almost inevitable that some will end up in the wrong hands.

    • brif

      you’ll have a valid point as soon as a house is used as a murder weapon.

      • drax

        A crazed man attacked me with a house once.

      • novasteve

        Car control. More cars than people, and cars are often used in homicides.

      • yequalsy

        I bet the Wicked Witch of the East wishes she had supported house control laws.

      • bobco85

        (in addition to what yequalsy said)
        Don’t forget the old lady in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice!

      • Zoning Victim
  • novasteve

    Hey Moran, there’s plenty of gun crime in countries with strict gun control. Seems to me that Breivik guy shot and killed 66 kids on an island despite the gun control they have.

    Remember France? Tolouse? Despite all that gun control the terrorist still managed to target jewish kids and soldiers.

  • novasteve

    I hope the Arlnow staff is able to get a good pic of the Space Shuttle being shuttled over the DC area today.

    • KalashniKEV

      I got some great pics.

  • Zoning Victim

    “Criminals, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill have no business owning deadly weapons.”

    Isn’t that why we arrest the criminals and terrorists, treat the mentally ill and require background checks? If VA’s courts had done their job properly, the VA Tech rampage probably wouldn’t have happened.

    • nuts

      Actually, we don’t treat the mentally ill because that’s one of those ‘social programs’ that the right-wing likes to cut. And we don’t require background checks because Virginia operates on a wink-wink, nudge-nudge system allowing private sales at gun shows, flea markets, and so forth, where background checks aren’t required.

      • novasteve

        Funny how the most gun crime exists in liberal dominated cities with strict gun control.

        • Max

          Funny how those states are usually the ones with the least gun crimes.

        • yeah steve

          England is rife with gun crime:
          Gun deaths per 100,000 population (homicide, suicide other)
          USA 3.98 5.92 0.36
          England/Wales 0.15 0.2 0.03
          Scotland 0.06 0.2 0.02

          • yeah steve

            And as you also raised France (above)
            France 0.21 3.4 0.49

          • Zoning Victim

            Now, try that analysis with other countries that have even higher gun ownership rates than the US, including fully automatic weapons, and you’ll find out that Americans are the problem, not the guns.

          • Higher

            we’re number one baby! by a long way!
            (next is Serbia)
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

          • Zoning Victim

            I should have said gun “possession” instead of “ownership.” We are not the country with the highest rate of gun possession, only the highest of private gun ownership. Either way, the table you provide a link to is the number of guns per capita. The number of guns per capita has a loose relationship with the rates of both gun possession and private gun ownership, but the three of those numbers are all very different. If you look at tables of those three different statistics side-by-side, you’ll see what I mean; for instance, Norway is 2nd in gun ownership rates but only 11th in guns per capita.

            In Switzerland, the people are the militia, every man a soldier, if the need arises. Because of that, every able bodied male between the ages of 21 and 50 are issued military style, fully-automatic assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols. They are also allowed to buy and own firearms privately, including buying surplus to inventory combat rifles. All of that puts Switzerland’s gun possession rates above that of the US, yet they have one of the lowest homicide rates in the world.

            In fact, if you look at the rates of gun ownership versus the total rate of homicide, you’ll find very little correlation between gun ownership rates and the rate of homicides per capita. In fact, of the countries in the top 10 for homicide rates, only three (3) of them have a percentage of homicides with firearms above 50% (the US is not in the top 10, but 16th for the overall homicide rate).

            The bottom line is this: the countries with high homicide rates have a culture problem, not a gun control problem.

            Sources:

            http://www.allcountries.org/gun_ownership_rates.html
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_crime

      • Gypsy

        Could you give some real examples of actual laws supported by “right wingers” that allowed those who should be incarcerated in insane asylums out into the public? I’m pretty sure if you asked a conservative whether they support tax dollars going to incarcerating those who are mentally deranged and dangers to society in insane asylums, it would be difficult to find someone who said no. I’d be interested to see what you’re referring to, because I think you might be confusing it with social programs for people who really pose no physical danger to others but who would like mental health services.

        • drax

          You don’t understand now the system works. There is no “either you’re perfectly healthy or you’re locked in an asylum” system. This is not the 18th century. The guy who shot up Va. Tech. was a student, going to class like everyone else. It has nothing to do with incarcerating people – it’s about preventing the need for incarceration in the first place.

          The rightwingers don’t adequately fund the system that gives the mentally ill treatment. This treatment is about much more than “asylums.” It identifies and diagnoses problems and gives people treatment and other supports. It is terribly underfunded in Virginia.

          • Gypsy

            Forgive me my ignorance, but do we have the treatments and knowledge base necessary to entirely eliminate the need to incarcerate someone that psychologists and courts deem a danger to society? I didn’t know we had the knowledge base and/or drugs available to make that possible. If so, then I guess you can once again ignore my original question.

          • Sorry But

            Locking people up who just might one day become a danger to society is a lot more scary government control than any attempt to do something to restrict the flow of weapons. Or is mind control preferable to gun control for all you gun folk?

          • Gypsy

            I agree with your first statement. Your second is a joke. When and if a person does become a danger to society, it won’t matter that having a gun is illegal. As others have pointed out, it doesn’t mean they’re unavailable. Not to mention there are plenty of other ways to harm people and groups of people. Do you think telling Cho (who by the way, had full access to mental health treatments), that it’s illegal for him to find and use a gun would have worked? Just about as much as it worked to tell him it’s illegal to murder people. The only ones who followed both those laws that day were the unarmed victims in the dorms and classrooms.

          • Zoning Victim

            What’s this “locking up” and “might one day” stuff? We involuntarily commit people who are believed to be a current threat to themselves or others so we can treat them (and notify the state police that they are not allowed to purchase a gun) with the hopes that they can go on to be productive members of society instead of suicidal killers. If that’s government mind control, it’s the kind I can live with.

          • Car-Free Diet

            Actually nuts, the mentally ill in this country are not treated because of crazed liberals and libertarians who insist that unless someone is a threat to themselves or others they cannot be forced to take medication they refuse to take. All fine and dandy except in most cases a family cannot prove that a family member is a threat to self or others to the satisfaction of a court or government social workers who wash their hands and tell you they did what they could. Then all you can do is eiher sit by and watch the individual continue on until the worst happens. Because you cannot prove they are a threat to themselves or others until they actual someone or themselves.

            Many want to blame the families or friends of the mentally ill thinking they should have done more. Often the family did everything they could to get the mentally ill person help, but it is no the “underfunded” mental health system that fails, but the refusal by many in the judicial system to take the indicidual’s mental illness seriously that results in the individual being in a position to commit a violent act.

            You comment demonstrates the ignorance of many who blame the families of the mentally ill

          • Car-Free Diet

            Yes, please moderate, even though I speak from first-hand experience trying to obtain help from the mental health and the court system, and seeing how well-trained mental health specialists are willing and able to dagnose an individual has suffering from a serious mental illness being a threat to themselves and others; and willing to tell you that the court system will not allow them to treat this person if they are not willing. And then seeing the terrible, but predictable, aftermath.

            Yes, we are a freedom loving country, but too many liberals believe controlling guns is the answer, rather than the criminals or the mentally ill found to be an immediate threat to themselves or others.

        • nom de guerre

          Your use of the term “insane asylums” illustrates how out of touch you are with mental health issues.

          • Gypsy

            Thanks for deflecting the question by trying to discredit the person asking. I just watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest over the weekend so pardon me if the term was dated…I meant psychiatric institutions. Feel free to answer it if you’ve got your insults out of your system.

          • drax

            Doesn’t matter what you call them – your concept of our modern mental health system is completely and woefully out of date. Don’t worry, most people don’t understand it either.

          • Aaron

            The most important thing we can do for those with mental health “issues” is to respect their right to NOT be treated.

            I’d rather see more taxpayer money funneled into an investigation of how someone, let alone a known psychopath, who can’t form a sentence in the English language gets a diploma from a NoVA high school and then admitted to one of the state’s more prestigious public universities.

        • drax

          P.S. This is just the abstract for a good discussion about the system.

          http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/3/793.abstract

          “On 16 April 2007, a deeply disturbed Virginia Tech student murdered thirty-two fellow students and faculty and then shot himself. Less than one year later, the Virginia legislature improved the emergency evaluation process, modified the criteria for involuntary commitment, tightened procedures for mandatory outpatient treatment, and increased state funding for community mental health services. The unanswered question, however, is whether the necessary political momentum can be sustained for the long-term investment in community services and the fundamental legal changes needed to transform a system focused on managing access to scarce hospital beds to a community-based system of accessible voluntary services.”

          “Political momentum” is a nice way of saying “if the rightwingers will pay for it.”

          • sunflower

            As someone with a relative in law enforcement, this is a big concern of mine.

            http://www.popcenter.org/problems/mental_illness/print/

            scroll down to:

            factors contributing to the problem

          • Car-Free Diet

            In general, the concern should be for the mentally ill rather than for the police because in any confrontation, it is typically the mental ill person who is injured or killed rather than the police.

            What is true, based on the article and my experience, is that because of society’s decision to treat the mentally ill in the community, but judges’ refusal to require seriously mental ill individuals found by a mental health professional to be a threat to themselves or others to undergo treatment, police are often called upon to interact with the mentally ill, not infrequently resulting in harm and sometimes death, usually for the mentally ill.

          • sunflower

            my concern is with the lack of resources for dealing with the problem, not so much the danger to the police.

          • sunflower

            One analysis concluded that “in 1955, [0].3 percent of the U.S. population was mentally ill and residing in a mental institution; whereas in 1999, [0].3 percent of the national population is mentally ill and is in the criminal justice system.” [22]

          • sunflower

            and my related post was removed why?

          • sunflower

            thx!

    • Josh S

      Nice try with the “probably.”

      Blaming the people in the Virginia court system for what that guy did is just despicable.

      • Zoning Victim

        Oh please, don’t be a drama queen. I didn’t say it was their fault; I said it probably wouldn’t have happened if they had handled the case correctly.

        The court ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation and then when the psychiatrist recommended him for commitment because he was an eminent threat to himself or others, the Judge only recommended him for outpatient treatment. Following that, the court failed to notify the state police in compliance with the federal law that would have prevented Cho from purchasing the weapon that he was able to legally purchase.

        There is a very good chance that actually listening to the psychiatrist’s evaluation and committing mentally unstable people to a psychiatric hospital will prevent them from buying guns and going on rampages in most cases, don’t you think?

        • Car-Free Diet

          Yes, you are absolutely right. But many people stuck on the self-righteous ideological positions will continue to fight regardless of the facts.

      • Car-Free Diet

        Really, to many liberals and libertarians fight like crazy to uphold and individual’s right to be “free” but are unwilling to admit there are consequences. In fact, it is “despicable” to blame “right-wingers” when you lefties and anarchists insist individuals that have an obvious diagnosed serious mental illness and who have made prior threats of violence in their workplace and refuses to acknowledge or accept medical treatment for their mental illness should continue to live with no constraint with their helpless family.

        You think throwing money at a problem is the only way to solve problems and the reality is that often times it is not the answer. But you will deny and bluster because this does not fit within your worldview.

  • KalashniKEV

    Quick question: Is Moran legally allowed to posses a firearm? He has a documented violent criminal past…

    Are there any felonies on this guy?

    • 5555624

      Well, once can make an argument that because he is a Congressmen, he is a criminal.

      • KalashniKEV

        He’s our local Marion Barry.

  • DarkHeart

    Shuttle heading towards DC from Dulles

    • novasteve

      I saw it flying over DC. Wish I brought my SLR with me. iphone pics suck.

  • Swag

    “Some residents are concerned that, if enacted, a proposal to allow small-scale backyard hen raising in Arlington would result in extra water pollution.”

    Some residents are idiots.

  • BigJilm

    Know what’s bad for water quality at the homeowner level? The bazillions of bags of “turf builder” and gallons of Roundup that people stand in line to buy every weekend and dump all over their yards without a second thought. Funny you don’t hear any outrage over that, yet there are people with enough spare time and energy to protest the impact on water quality that a relative handful of chickens would have.

    I don’t really care – I have no desire to have chickens and if my neighbor did then I wouldn’t have a problem as long as it didn’t stink, keep me awake, or otherwise prevent me from enjoying my own property. But the “water quality” claim just sounds like anti-chickenites grasping for any argument to hang their hat on. If you’re a champion of water quality, you’d have a bigger impact if you could convince the throngs already polluting the water with overdoses of fertilizer and
    -cides without even knowing it.

    • The Market Will Bare All

      Agree about the pesticides and herbicides on lawns/hardscaping. If you spend time on a property without that stuff, you can tell that it not only keeps pests and weeds away, but also most of the smaller wildlife like birds, toads & frogs, etc. That stuff is a lot worse than hens on the environment. I would advise the county not to allow roosters though. They really do take crowing seriously and they don’t always wait until dawn.

  • y8s

    Chicken doo doo?

    Right now Maryland is responsible for an enormous amount of chicken feces runoff because it’s all concentrated in small confined operations.

    Spreading out the chickens will reduce the surge of feces (we can all agree this is good, right?) when it rains and give it more time to disperse in places other than the Chesapeake.

    And then we’ll have more crabs!

    • Frank

      I would rather have a regulated industry minding the waste and utilizing it than random citizens. Lets not paint the picture of the chicken industry just dumping chicken waste. They use it for energy production and fertilizer. It is predominantly the excess nutrients in the fertilizer form that eventually end up in the watershed. But a large portion of the nutrients in the fertilizer (phosphorous) are used up by the crops.

      If the county could implement a waste collection site that would re-purpose the waste along the same lines as what the industry does it would be a lot better than people just dumping it in their yards.

      • Zoning Victim

        For the record, regulated industries are full of random citizens. There is nothing about them or any other group of people we could come up with that makes them any more or less likely to do good or bad things.

        I don’t really get why you think it’s okay to use chicken feces for fertilizer on farms but not on someone’s yard. One throws chicken poop on the ground where it fertilizes crops and the other throws it on the ground where it fertilizes the grass; what’s the difference to the Chesapeake?

        • Frank

          The difference is the way it is processed before use. Do you really think they just dump raw chicken waste in the fields nearby?

          I think the county should address waste and dead fowl disposal in their feasibility studies for introducing hens to Arlington.

          • Zoning Victim

            Probably not in the big corporate chicken farms (or at least not any more than they can get away with), but I know farmers do that. There is certainly no way to stop free range farm animals from doing that.

      • BlueSkies

        If the industry and regulators both did what they were supposed to, I might agree. But there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of cases in industry where the waste isn’t managed well and violations aren’t enforced. Let’s hope Arlington County could do a lot better than that!

        How many Arlingtonians do we expect are really going to have backyard hens, anyway? The water quality argument is just a red herring.

        • The Market Will Bare All

          The county will require a chicken coop sticker and a tax on poop. But the state will offer tax relief on the first 20,000 pounds of doodoo.

  • Wiz

    Do people realize that there are thousands, tens of thousands of unregulated birds living in Arlington RIGHT NOW? And they are all POOPING? A couple hundred (?) additional chickens spread around the county will not instantly turn Arlington into a new Salisbury MD.

  • soarlslacker

    The latest Willilams-Sonoma catalogue had chicken coops and accessories so it must be becoming fashionable to raise chickens.
    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/search/results.html?words=chicken%20coops
    Since there are foxes in my neighborhood, I am unsure of how long chickens would survive unless they had a secure building, like a garage to live in.
    Home many eggs do people eat…to want to have their own chickens. We cook with eggs occasionally, but rarely eat them. Aren’t eggs high in cholesterol…so they are bad for you?

    • Arlingtonian

      Don’t worry about the foxes. As soon as the people who own the hens see blood, guts and feathers in and near their chicken coops, they will poison all of your neighborhoods’ foxes, hawks and other varmints.

  • nota gain

    Gee, after five years Moran should have been acting on this issue sooner. maybe he does or has for the last five years to stay n touch with his follower.

    • Zoning Victim

      I’m not used to coming to Moran’s defense, but he’s always been a firm ally of gun control advocates. This is not a new stance for him, and one of my main complaints with Moran is the fact that he continually tries to pass more gun control legislation.

    • Elmer

      He’s waiting for “Fog Horn Leg Horn” to be arrested on TV in a protest for the rights of hens to occupy our backyards. Then, he’ll jump into the media spotlight as he did with George Clooney and demonstrate his courage and heartfelt concern for the cause.
      Nothing like the appearance of a Hollywood star to bring out the politicians.

  • YTK

    Tighter control of people with mental issues who fall thru the cracks of the “system” would be in order.

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