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Strib: Ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips

Rep. Cornish wants to arm teachers; methadone violations bring sanctions; DFL official arrested on suspicion of DWI; bail lowered in Little Falls killings; and more.

The Strib editorializes in favor of banning assault weapons: “This time, political leaders — and especially those who have historically opposed gun control — should come together and find common ground on at least one sensible step: A ban on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition clips and certain kinds of bullets. There is no good reason for anyone other than law enforcement personnel and the military to have access to weapons that can take so many lives so quickly. … Civilians are not allowed to possess any other type of weapon or explosive device that can produce mass destruction. Why in the world should they have easy access to firearms that can mow down 26 innocent people in a matter of minutes?” How about a Strib series on the psychology of the gun-obsessed?

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler knew who to go to for a killer quote on rampant gun violence in America: “Republican Rep. Tony Cornish says it’s time to arm the teachers. ‘Just like a pilot is allowed to carry guns in a very controlled environment,’ explained Cornish. ‘We found out that nothing else works, and I think teachers are the best people to confront this. Even an armed security or an armed cop doesn’t do a lot of good if they get by him or her. Then they’ve got all these classrooms that they can go to. So, I think the best defense is a teacher.’ The Cornish bill would make handguns voluntary for teachers. It would require special handgun training beyond the training now required in Minnesota for concealed weapons.” It’s big of him not to make gun-toting mandatory for grade school teachers.

State regulators have come down on a very loose chemical-dependency operation. In the PiPress, MaryJo Webster writes: “State regulators have sanctioned a Minneapolis-based chemical dependency treatment provider they say violated policies regarding the use of methadone in treating opiate addiction. Specialized Treatment Services, which has plans to open a new clinic in St. Paul, must pay a $1,200 fine and will have all its licensed facilities under ‘conditional status’ for the next three years. … The Department of Human Services cited the company for inappropriately authorizing adjustments of methadone doses, inappropriately giving a take-home dose of methadone, failing to have a registered nurse on duty and for doctors pre-signing blank authorization forms that were later filled in by unqualified staff.”

Do NOT eat the ornaments … Kara Gutormson of the AP writes: “A Huron [S.D.] woman is using her creative flair to make unusual Christmas tree decorations — she uses pheasant feathers and moose droppings. Lila Bawdon started working on this craft two years ago. The droppings are shipped to her from Alaska. Bawdon’s daughter, Diane, lives there and in 2009, while visiting her, Bawdon noticed that moose droppings products were being sold in stores. ‘I thought that if they could do it, then I could make them myself,’ said Bawdon. ‘My daughter collects them (the droppings), in the spring, after they’ve dried,’ she said. ‘Then she sends them in the mail to me’.” And how is moose-do better than wood?

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“Executive director” of anything and “DWI” are a bad PR mix. Also at WCCO-TV: “The executive director of the Minnesota DFL is in jail Monday, accused of driving under the influence over the weekend. Corey Day was arrested on suspicion of DWI after hitting two parked cars in south Minneapolis, according to police reports. Day, 36, remains in the Hennepin County Jail, after being arrested on Saturday.”

Byron Smith, the Little Falls guy accused of killing two teenagers execution-style, has had his bail lowered. Joy Powell’s Strib story says: “Even after a prosecutor recounted chilling details of an audio recording from the moments surrounding the killing of two teenage cousins, the homeowner accused of killing them successfully got his bail lowered on Monday. Byron David Smith, 64, surrendered his passport and was at the Morrison County Jail in the process of posting either $50,000 cash or a $500,000 bond with conditions. Bail was originally set at $2 million without conditions, or $1 million with conditions.
[The story relates this sequence of events:] … presumably as Smith sat in his chair, there’s [Haile] Kifer’s voice on the tape, saying tentatively, ‘Nick?’
There’s a shot and the sound of her body tumbling down the stairs, then a click as Smith’s rifle jammed.
‘Oh, sorry about that,’ Smith is heard saying on the tape.
After the second shot, Kifer says, ‘Oh my God,’ and then on the third shot, ‘Oh God’, she said.
After the fourth shot, she utters ‘aw’ a couple of times, and Smith said to her: ‘You’re dying.’ A fifth shot resounded, the prosecutor said, and Smith turned to the ‘helpless girl’ on the basement floor and says: ‘bitch!’ “

According to a new report, “malaise” has infected the U of M Med School. Jenna Ross’s Strib story says: “In a written response to the report, [U of M President Eric] Kaler announced that a faculty-led group would fashion a strategic plan by next summer. He also said he would stick with the school’s current leadership structure, in which the dean of the medical school also acts as vice president of health sciences. Dr. Aaron Friedman currently serves in that role. The report studied the university’s entire Academic Health Center (AHC), an amalgam of six schools, the largest being the medical school.”

Apple fan guy Julio Ojeda-Zapata of the PiPress ogles the new iMac: “As I write this, I have a 21.5-inch version of the new iMac on my home-office desk, alongside the 2009 model, and the former is significantly brighter with vivid colors. It will be tough reverting to my older iMac once I’ve returned my review loaner, that’s for sure. Under the hood, you can optionally opt for ‘Fusion Drive’ storage consisting of a hard-drive and solid-state combo for increased performance. The iMac configuration I received has Fusion, and I can definitely attest to the Mac’s crazy-fast performance using pro apps such as Apple’s Aperture photo-editing software – but it was difficult for me to ascertain how much of the performance is due to Fusion since I did not have a Fusion-less version of the new iMac alongside for comparison. The new iMac certainly makes my older Mac feel pokey, though. …  Though I love Macs, I never assume I will buy one until I’ve looked at non-Apple equivalents — and there are lots of Windows-based all-in-one computers giving Apple always-needed competition.” That kind of talk is “genius” heresy.

MPR reporter Tim Nelson shifts gears and writes a commentary on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre: “Here’s some advice for you today, as the families of Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto bury the first graders shot to death with 18 classmates in Connecticut on Friday: Quit wondering why it happened. Because that’s exactly why those children died. So that you would wonder. So that you would spend days or weeks rolling this over in your mind, puzzling over the horror as you drank a cup of coffee, seeing that grainy picture in your mind of the mop-topped killer as a junior high kid. So you’d look at a file of children coming out of school wondering what monster might lurk among them. … In an age when worldwide fame is scarcely farther away than a tap on the REC button, when going viral is the mark of achievement, your prospects as an awkward, introverted, skinny kid from the suburbs probably don’t look real great. You can barely make it out of high school. Your mom shows off rifles to the landscaper in the yard. Your older brother is doing well at Ernst & Young. You aren’t going to be a finalist on ‘The Voice.’ But the annals of history — the lights of fame — are nonetheless in your grasp. You just need to grow, unnoticed, more senselessly monstrous than the last guy. Do it right, and you’ll be a cable TV star for weeks. Top Twitter. Your name will ring out in the halls of Congress, your exploits will fill the front page of the New York Times.” Of course, it helps when you can get your hands on a Bushmaster AR-15 as easy as buying a PlayStation.