Drunk is Not Insane

By: Mr. Wilson on January 8, 2008
Hey, whaddaya know? It has only happened a couple times, but this morning I learned that I agree with Attorney General Jon Bruning on another topic: eliminating the insanity defense for a voluntarily intoxicated person. The insanity defense as a whole is a tricky subject, but in my mind, eliminating this piece of it is a no-brainer. A person who makes the decision to alter his state of mind must take responsibility for his actions while in that altered state. As for the insanity defense in general, well, good luck to the politicians who wade into that mess. "Insanity" isn't what it used to be. The more we learn about the brain, the fuzzier the distinction between sane and insane becomes. Heck, even the concept of free will is thrown into question. Seriously, check out some of the research sometime. It's fascinating stuff. Anyway, we as a society are in a pickle. Any line we try to draw between "sane" and "insane" for the purposes of the law is arbitrary and therefore flawed. But if we don't draw a line -- that is, if we get rid of the insanity defense altogether -- we will undoubtedly find that lumping together all mental health statuses on the same moral plane is fraught with its own unpleasantness and ethical quandaries. Ahh, the brain. It's always fun to think about what's going on inside somebody else's noggin. I wonder if we'll ever know for sure?

The First Since Hurricane Andrew

By: Mr. Wilson on January 7, 2008
Many of you may have missed this story since the local media's weekend coverage isn't its strong point. Early on Friday morning, Officer Travis McClintock shot and killed Scott Gannon, who was armed with a knife. KLKN is reporting that Gannon was shot twice. The last fatal shooting by a police officer in Lincoln occurred in 1992. I have been reading a lot of horror stories from around the country about police officers -- and, in some cases, entire departments -- behaving badly in situations like this. The officer used too much force, the department covered up or manipulated evidence, and so forth. Fortunately, there aren't really any indications at this point that Officer McClintock overstepped his boundaries. Likewise, I don't have any reason to doubt that we'll get the investigation this situation demands. Indeed, most of the conditions that tend to lead to the terrible things I've read about seem to be absent from LPD. Thank goodness for that. Any time a police officer uses force in apprehending a subject, it's a matter of public concern. We have to have high standards for our officers, just as we have high standards for how the rest of us should behave when interacting with them. Relaxing those standards leads to, well, the Atlanta Police Department. Let's be sure to demand the full and open investigation of this shooting, and let's continue to insist that the use of force by police be rare and applied only when necessary. And let's hope that it's at least 16 more years before another LPD officer has to make the decision to use lethal force.

When to Plow

By: Mr. Wilson on January 4, 2008
Personally, I strongly approve of Lincoln's policy of not plowing residential streets unless more than four inches of snow falls. Most of the time that policy works out in our favor. True, occasionally we'll get a situation like we have now. Mix some ice, a little snow, plenty of cold weather over a long timespan, and a dose of shade, and you'll end up with side streets that are either ice rinks or bumpy messes. I choose to look at those situations from a glass-half-full perspective: at least it forces drivers to slow down in residential neighborhoods. Do you think Lincoln's policy is a good one? How would you amend it? (And how would you pay for your amendments, if necessary?)

Men at Work

By: Mr. Wilson on January 4, 2008
You know how sometimes when you drive through a road construction zone day after day, and it seems like nothing ever gets done? I don't get that feeling while I drive through the construction on I-80 between Lincoln and Omaha. And in fact, the builder is 274 days ahead of schedule. Here's hoping they keep up that pace all the way to Lincoln.

Thinking Warm Thoughts

By: Mr. Wilson on January 3, 2008
Somebody at InterLinc is thinking warm thoughts: on the homepage there's a link to buy pool passes for the upcoming season. I suppose stores start putting out bathing suits in the dead of winter, so why shouldn't the city get into the act?

Deja Vu All Over Again

By: Mr. Wilson on January 3, 2008
I, for one, can't wait to go through yet another round of smoking ban madness. Here, let me summarize the three sides for you: Nanny staters: It's for your own good! Anarchists: Stay out of my life! Average voters: Huh? My money is on the nanny staters winning this one before the end of the session. But there will be just enough input from the anarchists and the average voters to murk things up a bit. What's your prediction? What will Nebraska's smoking ban, if any, look like?

Negative Impressions

By: Mr. Wilson on January 2, 2008
Maybe I shouldn't have been, but I was a little surprised to read the article the other day about Culler parents fighting the school's negative image. I guess I didn't realize it had a negative image. Come to think of it, I can't really recall Culler having any sort of an image at all. Several of my family members said the same thing. Besides, I can't keep up with all of the schools in town any more. There are just too many of them.
‹ First  < 2 3 4