Sunday, July 28, 2013

Newtown, Who Knew?

Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky has been keeping information concerning the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School close to his vest, and state police spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vance has countless times told everyone in Connecticut why: “There is an ongoing investigation.”

The criminal investigation has been ongoing ever since Adam Lanza, armed to the teeth with weapons he appropriated from his mother, shot his way into the school and murdered 20 young children and 6 staff members. Mr. Lanza also murdered his mother before leaving on his murderous mission.

Right from the get-go, the General Assembly was bum rushed by Governor Dannel Malloyand Democratic legislative leaders into producing a gun restriction bill in the absence of vital information then in the possession of Mr. Sedensky. And whenever Connecticut reporters were so bold as to ask Mr. Vance for information concerning the slayings, they were told they would have to wait for the criminal report because “the criminal investigation was ongoing.”

And ongoing… and ongoing… and ongoing…

After the General Assembly had signed off on a gun bill said to be among the most restrictive in the nation, and after a promised criminal report release date of mid-March had passed, and after a promised release date of mid-June had passed, and after state police had spilled some of the Sandy Hook beans at a conference in New Orleans, grievously disappointing Mr. Malloy, and after Connecticut’s all Democratic U.S. Congressional Delegation had failed to persuade Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring up a much watered down gun restriction bill in the U.S. Senate, and after an arrest warrant was finally teased from the holders of the Sandy Hook secrets, and, most recently, after a crime squad leader in the criminal investigation  appeared in conferences across the fruited plains -- but, significantly, not in Connecticut -- disgorging information that can only be considered compromising to an ongoing investigation, after all this bilge has passed under the noses of Connecticut’s media, some folk in the mainstream media are now beginning to get just a touch antsy.

Why can’t state criminal investigators share with the people in Connecticut – and Sandy Hook – the information they have disclosed in, among other places, Maine, Michigan, Nashville, Tennessee, Dallas Texas and Billings, Montana?

This is more than sad. It is more than an insult to the parents of victims in Sandy Hook.

Governor Malloy wants Newtown to distribute victim funds held in reserve for future contingencies to the parents of children slain in Sandy Hook and close out the funding account. Newtown officials, from the very first, wanted to leave some money in reserve for, as Newtown resident Maryann Murtha put it in a recent letter imploring Mr. Malloy not to disturb decisions made about funding at the local level, “short and long term community needs.”

“And now, at the 11th hour,” Ms. Murtha wrote, “U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have jumped on the bandwagon, even though their jurisdiction is questionable at best.

“At this point, more than two-thirds of the $11.7 million is going directly to the families of those who died, the two injured and the 12 first-graders who survived the attack on their classrooms. The governor wants the ‘account closed.’ Is this for political gain? How does he know what the timeline should be?”

This is a governor who knows how to get what he wants. And Mr. Malloy does not want the criminal investigation closed, so long as an open investigation remains politically useful.

Danbury State Attorney Sedensky should congratulate himself on his ability to parse words.

Way back in March, attempting to staunch leaks in the media that might have compromised his continuing investigation, Mr. Sedensky issued instructions “that any and all such presentations involving evidence in the criminal investigation be ceased while the investigation is pending and my report is still outstanding.”

Mr. Sedensky has previewed the police presentations given out in several states and is certain that presenters “are not talking about the investigation. They will be talking about logistics and victim control, which is different than talking about details of the investigation.'' And Mr. Malloy has given his imprimatur to the state police: “All they are doing is sharing some of the procedural lessons that were learned that terrible day.”

Neither Mr. Sedensky nor Mr. Malloy has indicated when a similar presentation will be scheduled at the conference center in Hartford. 

Mr. Sedensky and Mr. Malloy, both lawyers, might have come in handy during the High Middle Ages, when theologians were discussing how many angels could fit on the head of a pin.

The legislation inspired by the assault on those poor school children should have followed a complete criminal investigation. A prĂ©cis of the criminal report could have been made available to the relevant committee chairmen in camera when the General assembly sat, months after the bloody assault in Sandy Hook, to construct legislation designed to prevent such school invasions in the future. But the General Assembly was in a rush to get the cart improperly placed before the horse. During this process, neither God nor all the angels in Heaven were permitted to interfere with the political chest puffing of Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, the governor, Mr. Sedensky or the state police – some of whom, one hopes, were drafted as unwilling accomplices in the vastly entertaining political show.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Social Issues And The Democrats

On “social issues,” as defined by Democrats in the Northeast, here is no “there” there within the Republican Party’s ancient regime.

Northeast Republicans have only one election card on their table – the economy, stupid. There ain’t no more. Slothful Northeast Republican Parties have permitted Democrats to define all the social issues; for them, such subjects as abortion on demand, gay marriage and the abolition of the death penalty are strictly verboten. Among gentlemen Republican moderates in Connecticut, discretion on social issues has been the better part of valor for more than two decades, which may help to explain why there are no more social issue averse Republicans in New England.

The last Republican moderate in Connecticut who surrendered to Democrats on social issues was State Senator Andrew Roraback. Recently appointed to the judiciary by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, Mr. Roraback lost his bid for the U.S. House of Representatives to present U.S. Rep Elizabeth Esty.

Mr. Roraback’s loss was preceded by other Republican Party losses. Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional delegation used to be studded with a host of moderate Republicans, among them U.S. Representatives Nancy Johnson, Rob Simmons and Chris Shays. They have all been replaced by left of center Democrats. Mr. Malloy and the Malloyalists are all progressive Democrats. The moderate Democrat also has become an endangered species, at least here in the Northeast. In other parts of the nation, moderate Democrats, taking a cue from unions, are abandoning Obamacare in droves. Not in Connecticut. Obamacare is to progressives in Connecticut what the Alamo was to patriotic Texans.  

Concerning the much more lively and combative progressive Democrats, the National Journal puts it this way: “’Especially on social issues, the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved in the more liberal direction,’ said Bill Galston, a former Clinton administration official and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘There's a new generation of Democrats who see lots of gain and very little pain in stronger gun safety legislation and gay marriage.’”

That is simply another way of saying that the forward motion within the Democratic Party, since the advent of President Barack Obama and his Chicago political machine, has been to the left; progressives are liberals raised to the 3rd power and beyond.

When a newspaper wished to bestow a compliment on Republican candidate for governor John McKinney it wrote of his father, Stewart McKinney, that the late 4th District U.S. House Representative “was the type of Republican that has all but vanished from the political landscape: A New Englander who smartly blended fiscal conservatism with social progressivism, working on pro-environment legislation and supporting abortion rights.”

The 4th District is now owned by Democrat Jim Himes. The 5th District was owned by progressive Democrat Chris Murphy before he moved on to the U.S. Senate. The entire Connecticut U.S. Congressional delegation is progressive, and one of the reasons New Englanders who in the past neatly blended fiscal conservatism with social conservatism are now so rare a species in the Northeast is that all of them have been replaced by Democrats who are left of center on economic issues and purebred progressives on social issues.

Not only are there no social moderates, Republican or Democrat, in Connecticut’s one party state, there are no fiscal conservatives either. “Fiscal conservatism” is a blind used by Democrats in Connecticut who quickly abandon all pretense of a prudent economic policy once they achieve office.

If in the post Obama era you vote for a fiscally conservative, socially progressive Democrat , you will end up, after he has mingled in the course of a few months with brother progressives in the legislature, with a fiscally and socially progressive enthusiast of the purest water. The whole notion of a fiscal conservative who is also a social progressive is in much of the Northeast a rib tickling mythical construct – like a unicorn or a griffin.

The problem with the Connecticut Republican Party is NOT that it does not know how to stoop on social issues to conquer on fiscal issues. The problem is that the stooping no longer conquers – because Republicans have permitted the far left to define “social issues.” That is why the moderate Republican in New England is nearly an extinct species; he has ceded half the political battleground to the opposition and lost the war.

Republicans must learn how to broaden the “social issues” category to include the social ramifications of such obvious disasters as Obamacare, the one party state, crony capitalism, the disintegration of families, a penology that crowds courts and prisons with social delinquents while giving get-out-of-jail-early credits to murderous inmates, arrogant legislators who think it unnecessary to schedule hearings on bills that shape the future of the state, a tax, regulatory and spending policy that drives businesses out of Connecticut… and on and on. All these are SOCIAL ISSUES, women’s issues, minority issues, and left unattended, they will bring Connecticut to its knees, which is exactly the suppliant posture that politically suits the kind of progressive who regards the salvation state as the first and only resource for afflicted citizens.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sandy Hook And Common Sense

A recent Courant editorial, “Sandy Hook Panel's Focus Turns From Guns To School Safety,” begins with the following lede: “Officials can turn a school into an armed camp, in an effort to make it safer, with metal detectors, bulletproof glass, armed guards and armed teachers. Or they can take a different approach.”

Naturally, the Courant, which is averse to “armed camps,” prefers a different approach. Schools “can promote good basic building security measures for access and corridor control. They can train faculty and staff to embrace the post-9/11 mantra: If you see something, say something. They can make smaller-scale changes that are easier to implement and pay for, such as more security cameras and, importantly, help for troubled students.”

Will this solution work in Connecticut schools? The obvious corollary question is: Work to do what? We were told by an assortment of politicians days after Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School that Connecticut and the nation at large would have to craft legislation to prevent such events from happening in the future. All the decision making politicians in Connecticut jumped on that band wagon. Their script appeared to have been written somewhere in central casting, so uniform was it.
The first line in the editorial carries a load of unsupported rhetorical freight. Who are the politicians in Connecticut who said after the assault on the school they wanted to turn all Connecticut schools into “armed camps.” This was a rhetorical spook under the bed from day one. And the other rhetorical spook on a stick was the AR-15 “assault weapon.” An assault weapon is any weapon used successfully in an assault. Lanza arrived at the school armed to the teeth. He left an semi- automatic shot gun – an assault weapon? – in the trunk of his car, shot his way into the school with the AR-15, and committed suicide when armed first responders appeared on the scene.

That is what we THINK happened; we are still awaiting a criminal report from the state police and Danbury State Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, months after we were told it would be available by mid-June. In this particular incident, one wants to know whether “corridor control,” or a staff prepared to “say something” after they’ve seen something, or any of the “smaller-scale changes that are easier to implement and pay for, such as more security cameras and, importantly, help for troubled students,” would have altered the turn of events.

To ask the question is to answer it. These measures may be proper and advisable, but Adam Lanza would have brushed by them quickly during his murderous assault.

Among the first people Lanza shot when he broke into the school was school psychologist Mary Sherlach who, under happier circumstances, would have been pleased to sit down with Lanza to ease his psychological burdens.  On this occasion, she was not a bar to his murderous intentions. And frankly we should be prepared to acknowledge that an “armed camp” might have been an effective preventative – even though we are not prepared to turn every school in the state into am armed camp. The first responders, whose appearance in the school brought a stop to the mayhem, were not armed with Freudian text books, and they were successful in thwarting more slayings BECAUSE they were armed.

Sherlach and Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung were the heroes of the day. No song about heroism can be sung loud enough to do them justice. They both put themselves in the line of fire to save their students, and they are rightfully remembered as heroes who, in laying down their lives, showed the greatest love possible. So too with the first responders who put themselves in harm’s way to save the lives of blameless little children: They were all heroes. But the first responders, we ought to remember, were successful BECAUSE they were armed.

According to the editorial, it is good that the commission appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy, a 16-member panel of experts charged with studying “measures to improve school security, mental health services and gun violence prevention,” has taken sufficient time to compile its report, because the state thereby “avoided the panicked response seen in a few parts of the country of arming teachers, which is a potentially greater risk than the one it is supposed to prevent.”

Courant editors should be challenged to cite a serious piece of legislation proposed by anyone in the Connecticut’s General Assembly that would arm teachers.

That has happened elsewhere in the nation. The nation’s federalist structure is such that it allows states to serve as experimental stations, and in time we will see whether arming teachers is a more successful measure in turning away school assaults than, say, the psychological profiling of students.

It’s telling that the paper is lobbying for “sufficient time” so that the panel of experts might create a state-wide camp of psychologists armed with predictive models to prevent future Sandy Hook-like assaults, even as the paper eagerly joined in the PANICKED rush for legislation that preceded the criminal report everyone is still waiting for. An indeterminate date has now been assigned to the release of that report. The Courant permitted itself to wonder in a previous editorial what the hang-up is, since it is unlikely anyone else will be charged in the crime.

The gun legislation so far passed by the General Assembly does not rely on the necessary hard data that would have been available to legislators had a preliminary criminal report been released earlier in camera to legislators who, rushed by political exigencies,  were in the process of creating a comprehensive gun restriction bill. Heeding common sense, the editors at the Courant should have understood early on that the way to build a legislative sand castle in the air is to deprive legislators of the hard data – the ground – that is necessary in all sound legislation.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Malloy, Gun Manufacturers And The Public Good

Guns are highly regulated in Connecticut, which means that gun manufacturers must satisfy two kinds of clients: those who buy guns and state regulators.

Before Connecticut passed its latest gun regulations, it was possible for gun manufacturers in the state to submit to the State Police finished prototypes for products so that the manufacturer could receive a nod of consent before the company invested money in producing the product.

The arrangement was a happy one for manufacturers, the General Assembly and Connecticut’s governors. Governors and state legislators charged with protecting the public – presumably from criminals rather than law abiding owners of guns -- were given a veto over products before they appeared in the marketplace; manufacturers were assured before production that their product either was or was not legally compliant; and because many regulations and laws are necessarily ambiguous and opened to reasonable interpretation, lawyers with tiger’s teeth, ever on the prowl for deep pocket industrialists who run afoul of the law, were kept at bay. Everyone was happy with the arrangement.

A worm has now crept into Eden’s apple.

“I was told to get a lawyer, figure it out and if I’m wrong I’m going to have to deal with it,” Stag Arms owner and President Mark Malkowski confided to a reporter. “It’s my responsibility to interpret…I was told we were no longer allowed to bring prototypes in.”

Over at the Hartford Courant, a left of center paper, business reporter Dan Haar –not a member in good standing, one supposes, of the local branch of the Tea Party movement – lodged a reasonable objection:

“That means Stag, and any other manufacturer seeking to design a rifle within the rules, and any retailer who offers that product in Connecticut, must take a risk when it comes to figuring out a regulation — a high risk, since selling assault weapons could be viewed as a crime.

“It seems reasonable to ask a law enforcement agency to tell citizens what is and is not legal. We expect that of town building departments, tax authorities and countless other local, state and federal offices.”

Mr. Haar wonders whether the new policy might have drifted down to the state police  from the Malloy administration “since it’s no secret that Malloy and many legislators are in a running tiff with the gunmakers, and some resented Stag’s efforts to design a new AR-15,” so that the new design might conform to new legislative strictures.

The inevitable consequence of the new procedure will be to drive cost conscious gun manufacturers in Connecticut, already skittish and eyeing exit signs, away from Connecticut into the arms of such business poachers as Texas Governor Rick Perry. One manufacturer, PTR, already has pulled up roots and moved to South Carolina.

Now then, the operative rule in any politics worthy of the name is that things happen in a certain way because politicians WANT things to happen in a certain way. In states like Connecticut in which a single party is dominant and political resistance is not a practical option, the path to political success is made straight by the use of power rather than persuasion. In such a regime, every effective bar to political force – the resistance of an opposing party, the opposition of a critical media, constitutional prescriptions, the consent of the governed, the opposition of an informed and aroused citizenry -- is dangerously lowered to facilitate the refashioning of the state in the mode of a permanent political oligarchy based on ideological presumptions rather than class or wealth. Such political reinventions are rolling stones that eventually flatten what Edmond Burke called in his “Reflections on the French Revolution” the indispensable platoons of democracy:

“To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage.”

Under such a reinvented system, ambitious and arrogant ideological oligarchs are permitted a free hand to reshape states according to their own ideological preferences. The mark of the true ideologue is his disposition to reinvent the multifaceted social wheel, the intricate and self-reinforcing substructures of a society that promotes prosperity and democracy.

At some point, citizens of Connecticut may find it necessary to reject a paternalistic government that subtly subverts such platoons of democracy as a viable two party system, constitutional prescriptions that advance the liberties of the governed rather than the liberties of politicians, independent legislatures and judicial departments, a tripartite system of governance in which the centralization of all governing authority is tempered by a necessary deference of government to a rule that maximizes individual liberties, free churches, strong family units, the upward mobility of an economic system made possible by the creative choices of a moderately and fairly regulated free enterprise system.

If “government is force” – as George Washington said – it must be used sparingly to support the public good, which often is inversely related to the “good of politicians” disposed to use force for the advancement of their own narrow political ambitions.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Release the Criminal Report and Lanza’s Medical Records

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance, the keeper of the Sandy Hook secrets, condemned leaks in the investigation of the mass murder of Newtown students, ‘but won’t say they’re acting to root them out,” according to a story in the Journal Inquirer.

“If that law enforcement source does not attribute their name to that information,” Mr. Vance said of an unnamed source in a Hartford Courant story that references the medical records of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, “then that information is suspect.” Indeed, most of the information that has seen its way into print from sources other than Mr. Vance has been questionable, to say the least.

It has fallen to Mr. Vance to make certain that none of the authoritative information included in a twice delayed criminal report comes to light anytime soon.
In the absence of the criminal report, Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly managed to pass a gun regulation bill supported by highly speculative data, although Mr. Vance to date has been careful not to label the legislation “suspect.”

Mr. Vance is nothing if not thorough in the execution of his duties, which no doubt pleases Stephen Sedensky, the state’s attorney for the Danbury Judicial District and the prosecutor in charge of the investigation.

In the absence of definitive information supplied by Mr. Vance and Mr. Sedensky, it is not clear precisely who is being investigated or what criminal charges can possibly be brought against anyone involved in the case: The shooter, Adam Lanza, is dead; so is his mother; so too are all the students who came under fire by the shooter. Criminal investigations in mass murder crimes usually involve the prospect of a trial, which prospect justifies the withholding of information from the general public on the grounds that the premature release of information may jeopardize convictions.

Mr. Sedensky told the JI, “I am concerned any time there’s an unauthorized release or leak of information concerning an investigation. It impedes the investigation and makes it harder for the investigators to do their job, especially if the information may be inaccurate.”

It is astonishing that Mr. Sedensky – in possession of data denied even to legislators writing bills that reasonably should rely upon that information – feels that a report in a newspaper could possibly upset his investigatory applecart.  How would supposed “inaccurate” information in a news story upset investigators who have in their possession objectively verifiable data?

The drip, drip of information from “authorized” sources has been highly selective. Mr. Sedensky and Mr. Vance have custody of objectively verifiable data that may be used to tamp down speculative data in news stories.     

Mr. Sedensky has said his report has been delayed, possibly until the Fall, because police investigators are working on other cases and have other responsibilities. It is unlikely that anyone will the charged in the shooting, Mr. Sedensky said in the JI story.

The Sandy Hook data ought to have been released long ago to legislators who needed it to produce a reasonable gun restriction bill.

That data fund may put some literate reporters in mind of Miss Havisham’s wedding cake. Miss Havisham, a grim old spinster in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” hangs on to her yellowing moth eaten wedding dress and her moldy wedding cake years after the possible profitable use of both has passed. The wedding had passed her by, but the cake remains, an awful testimony to the endurance of shattered expectations.

It is not at all unreasonable to demand the release of both the criminal and the medical report – right now. Indeed, some of the parents in Sandy Hook have been demanding the release of both for a long while. It appears that only those demands of the stricken parents that advance the political ambitions of pushy politicians will be acceded to.
A Freedom of Information request filed some time ago by AbleChild may possibly bring the Vance-Sedensky wedding cake into public view – provided that the forces of darkness in the Malloy administration are not successful in squelching the eminently reasonable request, a copy of which is provided below.
The freedom of information statue, which asserts the right of the people to public information, places on the state the burden of showing that it is in the public’s interest to drop an iron curtain down on information that should readily be made available, and the excuses used to keep public information private in the Adam Lanza case are wearing very thin.
H. Wayne Carver II, M.D.
Chief Medical Examiner

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

 11 Shuttle Road

 Farmington, Connecticut 06032

 Re: Request for release of the autopsy, toxicology, and prescription drug history records of

 Adam Lanza

 March 5, 2013

 Dear Dr. Carver:

 Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute Sections § 19a-411 and § 1-200, and § 1-210; Article I, Sections 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, Conn. Const. art. I, § 4, § 5; and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, USCA CONST Amend. I, AbleChild, on behalf of itself and petitioners from Newtown, Connecticut (see attached) (hereinafter collectively “the Parties”), respectfully request the immediate release of the complete autopsy report, toxicology report, and prescription drug history possessed by your office for and concerning the decedent Adam Lanza.

 On information and belief, Mr. Lanza’s birthdate is April 22, 1992, and his place of death was Newtown, CT. In particular, the Parties seek all public records and files, as those terms are defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-200, concerning or relating to the presence of drugs in Mr. Lanza’s serum and organs and concerning or relating to drugs prescribed to Mr. Lanza. For any tests performed on Mr. Lanza’s body for which results have not yet been produced by the testing entity, the Parties respectfully request that those results be supplied to them when they are produced to your office. The Parties will pay for copies of the requested reports, records and files.

 The Parties have a legitimate interest in the information sought. AbleChild is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that represents and advocates the interests of parents, caregivers, and children. Incorporated in New York in 2003, AbleChild aims to ensure the safety of caregivers when those for whom they give care are diagnosed as mentally ill and are prescribed drug treatments that may induce adverse events that include thoughts of murder, homicide, or suicide.

In fulfillment of its mission within Newtown, Connecticut, and in Connecticut and the nation generally, AbleChild has a legitimate interest in accessing the autopsy, toxicology, and prescription drug records of Adam Lanza so that an evaluation may be made to determine if those drugs contain agents that have been associated with increased thoughts of murder, homicide, and suicide and to determine if such drugs may have contributed in whole or part to his commission of murder and his suicide. The information, professional assessments of it, and 2 resulting recommendations from it shall then be published by AbleChild to parents, caregivers, and the public nationwide, thus better enabling them to work with health care professionals in choosing the best therapies for the treatment of mental problems and to promote more informed debate on measures to stem future incidents of this kind.
Under Connecticut law, requests for autopsy, toxicology, and prescription drug records are obtainable by members of the general public and the media upon a demonstration of “legitimate interest.” Conn. Agencies Regs. § 19a-401-12. Based on the foregoing, there is undoubtedly a legitimate interest for this organization to obtain the requested information. Ablechild functions as public interest group and as a media resource organization. It has a keen interest in discovering evidence of the association between use of psychoactive drug agents and incidents of violence, aggression suicide and murder. It has a keen interest in publishing findings concerning Mr. Lanza’s use of psychoactive drugs, if any, and whether agents in those drugs have been linked to increased thoughts of hostility, aggression, suicidality and murder. Ablechild anticipates that publications of the kind they intend will help improve public awareness and foster more informed public debate and political decision-making concerning how best to stem future incidents of this kind.
In Connecticut, “there is an ‘overarching policy’ underlying the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) favoring the disclosure of public records.” Superintendent of Police of City of Bridgeport v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n, 609 A.2d 998, 1000 (Conn. 1992). “[I]t is only in the exceptional case that inspection should be denied.” Meriden Record Co. v. Browning, 6 Conn. Cir. Ct. 633, 637, 294 A.2d 646, 649 (1971) (citing State ex rel. Youmans v. Owens, 137 N.W.2d 470, 475, 139 N.W.2d 241). Such exceptions to disclosure “must be narrowly construed.” Meriden at 626.
The party claiming the privilege has the burden of proving the exception's applicability. Wilson v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n, 435 A.2d 353, 357 (Conn. 1980).
A legitimate government interest is even more likely to be found for matters that concern serious events of public concern. See Meriden at 636 (citing Rome Sentinel Co. v. Boustedt, 252 N.Y.S.2d 10, 12 (Sup. Ct. 1964)) (finding that, “The public's right to know and be informed on the activities of public figures is practically absolute unless commercialization may be shown.
Even the ordinary citizen may be newsworthy under certain circumstances. Whether the event be a calamity or an honor, it may be one in which his neighbors have a legitimate interest”) (internal citations omitted).
Likewise, under Article I, Sections 4 and 5 of the Connecticut Constitution there is a right to know indispensable to the public’s ability to question actions of public officials (here, those in government responsible for authorizing distribution and use of drugs that may include hazardous psychoactive agents) that trumps administrative convenience, particularly in contexts where there is no compelling need for confidentiality. See Conn. Const. art. I, § 4 (“Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty”); Conn. Const. art. I, § 5 (“No law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press”); see Maher v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n, 472 A.2d 321, 325 (Conn. 1984) (emphasizing that § 1-210 first reflects “the public’s right to know what its agencies are doing”); see also Woodcock v. Journal Pub. Co., Inc., 230 Conn. 525, 549, 646 A.2d 92, 103 (1994) (finding that while public criticism “can be hard on public officials, it is 3 simply the price that must be paid in order to protect our democracy”); Dow v. New Haven Indep., Inc., 549 A.2d 683, 689 (Super. Ct. 1987) (emphasizing the “profound commitment to freedom of the press,” the court espoused that, “The right to discuss public matters stands in parton the necessity of that right to the operation of a government by the people....It must be kept in mind that criticism of those responsible for government operations must be free, lest criticism of government itself be penalized”) (citing Rosenblatt v. Baer, 383 U.S. 75, 85, 86 S.Ct. 669, [676] (1966).” Brown v. K.N.D. Corporation, 529 A.2d 1292 (Conn. 1987)). State v. McKee, 46 A. 409, 414 (Conn. 1900) (noting that, “The general right to disseminate opinions on all subjects was probably specified mainly to emphasize the strong necessity to a free government of criticism of pu blic men and measures”).
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1, also prohibits state action that bars public and media access to information necessary for the effective public evaluation of acts taken by public officials. The Parties have a right to access the autopsy, toxicological, and prescription drug records of Mr. Lanza as members of the press, for each intend to aid the public in comprehending potential causes of Mr. Lanza’s murders and suicide. New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 717, 91 S. Ct. 2140, 2143 (1971) (J. Black concurring) (holding that, “The First Amendment…gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy…The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”); Id. at 724 (J. Douglas concurring) (reminding that, “It is common knowledge that the First Amendment was adopted against the widespread use of the common law of seditious libel to punish the dissemination of material that is embarrassing to the powersthat- be”); Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Comm'n on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376, 382, 93 S. Ct. 2553, 2557 (1973) (citing New York Times Co. v. United States, and noting that, “The durability of our system of self-government hinges upon the preservation of these freedoms”).
Disclosure is sought without delay. The information is indispensable to political decision making and public debate related to a continuing series of school shootings and acts of mass violence across the country: Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School; April 2, 2012, Oikos University; February 27, 2012, Chardon High School; May 10, 2011, San Jose State University; January 5, 2011, Millard South High School; April 10, 2009, Henry Ford Community College; April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech University; Oct. 2, 2006, Amish School Shooting (PA); April 20, 1999, Columbine High School; Mar. 24, 1998, Westside Middle School (AR); February 19, 1997, Bethel High School (AK). Many of those and other shootings have been committed by individuals who were medicated with psychoactive drugs. The pattern, potentially repeated here, invites serious inquiry into whether those drugs are in whole or part responsible for affecting changes in perception that may have led to increased thoughts of hostility, aggression, suicidality and murder in the people committing the crimes. Exercise of any check by the public through their elected representatives on actions to be taken will depend very heavily on the extent to which the public is fully informed of the potential causes for these murders.
This office may have waived objections for disclosure through communication with the media shortly after the autopsy was performed on Mr. Lanza’s body. In the January 11, 2013 online edition of the Connecticut Post, reporter Michael P. Mayko authored, “M.E.: Lanza’s brain 4 appeared normal.” The article lists several quotes from your office. Specifically, Mr. Mayko quotes you as stating that Mr. Lanza’s brain showed "no tumor ... no gross deformity,” and that, “We measured his head and it fell in the normal range." (This was in response to a question based on suspicions that, based on published photos, Mr. Lanza might have suffered from “Fragile X syndrome” [the most common known genetic cause of autism or autism spectrum disorders], which results in a large forehead or big face).1 Another report of the same interview noted that you mentioned that the results of toxicology tests might provide “potential information” into “the motives of the deadly shooter.” 2 For the foregoing reasons, the Parties respectfully ask that the documents requested be released at the earliest possible moment and in no event later than March 10, 2013, the statutory deadline for response. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-206(a) (“Any denial of the right to inspect or copy records provided for under section 1-210 shall be made to the person requesting such right by the public agency official who has custody or control of the public record, in writing, within four business days of such request”).

Please send the complete autopsy report, toxicology report, and prescription drug histories requested herein for Mr. Lanza to the Parties at the following address:
Attn: Sheila Matthews-Gallo

19 Washington Avenue
Westport, CT 06880

Thank you.
Sheila Matthews - Gallo
Co-Founder, AbleChild


Friday, July 5, 2013

Malloy’s Responsibilities

The Headline on the story was New State Laws Take Effect:Gas Taxes, Gun Restrictions, Pool Safety and, in the body of the story, Governor Dannel Malloy was quoted to this effect after he had been questioned on his increase of Connecticut’s gas tax, already the highest in the nation: “I wasn't governor in 2005. I wasn't the minority leader of the House or the minority leader of the Senate in 2005.''

In 2005, during the administration of Governor Jodi Rell, the Republican governor and the Democratic dominated General Assembly had decided to increase the tax as part of a long term plan. Mr. Malloy, a Democrat, and the Democratic dominated General Assembly this year decided to play the role of bystanders and let the tax increase happen.

Since Mr. Malloy had assumed his responsibilities as governor, Republicans had been more or less sequestered by the Malloy administration; Republicans leaders were not permitted to leave their fingerprints on either of Mr. Malloy’s two budgets, one of which, the first, imposed on the state the largest tax increase in its history.

This tax increase was a part of what might be called Mr. Malloy’s “Shared Sacrifice” plan, according to which those who provide state revenues, taxpayers, and those who consume taxes, state workers, were to share equally the awful burdens that fell to Mr. Malloy when he became governor. Mr. Malloy’s savings were negligible; his revenue increases were deep and permanent. Tax payers crushed the grapes; tax consumers drank the wine.

Mr. Malloy had a plan. He executed the plan with a great deal of assistance from Democratic leaders in the General Assembly who were able successfully to elbow Republicans out of the budget negotiating room. 

Mr. Malloy’s two budgets, then, are not the responsibility of any previous governor, even though his two budgets were crafted, some would say wrongheadedly, to address problems he “inherited” when he came into office.  Mr. Malloy’s patrimony as governor, it should be noted, is not solely a bag of woe. New governors inherit both the wins and losses of their predecessors, and every governor either builds upon or destroys the work of politicians that preceded him. Governors are the sum of the choices they make.

In his most recent budget, Mr. Malloy raids the state’s transportation fund to the tune of $91 million, while at the same time imposing the largest fuel tax increase in state history. On the matter of taxes and “revenue enhancements,” this governor always thinks large. So depleted is the state’s transportation fund that there may not be enough in the kitty to sustain current transportation expenditures.

Now then, Mr. Malloy chose to cut Republicans out of budget negotiations; he chose to impose on the state the largest tax increase in its history; he chose to raid the already depleted transportation fund, so that he might dump the revenue into the state’s deficit ridden general fund, where most targeted funds and broken political promises end up. The general fund is little more than a trash heap of good intentions.

Heath Fahle, Policy Director of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, hit several nails on the head when he wrote in a column printed in CTNewsJunkie, “As a small geographic space located directly between two of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas, one might think that a modern transportation system would be a top priority. But with one in five Connecticut residents on Medicaid, unfunded pension liabilities that under the most optimistic of outlooks are underfunded by billions of dollars, and the worst performing economy in the nation, it isn’t hard to figure out how infrastructure investments were crowded out of the budget.”

The infrastructure investment fund raid occurred around the same time as the publication of “The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card” on the Nation’s Infrastructure. "Driving on roads in need of repair costs Connecticut motorists $847 million a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs,” which works out to $294 per motorist, according to the report. It’s not just the roads; the state’s bridges are in disrepair.

At some point, people in the state  must decide whether they want a governor and a legislature focused on re-inventing Connecticut or, more modestly, one that will repair roads and bridges. The lesson of Daedalus hangs like a threat of doom over the haloed heads of most world saviors: Wax wings, the ego driven flights of fancy of the usual politician on the make, are never a match for the reality of truth in all its fiery splendor.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Fourth of July

It took the modern world two days to catch up to President John Adams’ enthusiasm for a national celebration. On July 3, 1776, Adams wrote, “The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Three of the country’s first five presidents died on the Fourth of July. Ideological rivals during their politically formative years and after, owing largely to an election that is still considered one of the most disreputable in the nation’s history, Adams, the second president of the United States, and Jefferson, drew close together after both had put aside active politics. Adams died at 90, Jefferson at 83, hours apart on July 4, 1826. Before he breathed his last, Adams whispered – almost a prayer -- “Jefferson still lives.”

Five years after the deaths of Adam and Jefferson, the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, died on July Fourth. The much underrated Calvin Coolidge was born on the Fourth of July, 1872.    

The Fourth of July marked a turning point in the Civil War after Confederate General John Pemberton surrendered to Union forces at Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863. Two years later, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant after the Battle of Appomattox Court House.  Following General Pemberton’s surrender at Vicksburg --  which severed the trans-Mississippi states of Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas from the rest of the Confederacy, thus depriving its army of much of the food, supplies and thousands of men that those states had provided -- the town declined to participate in Fourth of July celebrations for the next 78 years.

Vicksburg has since relented, according to an announcement published in June of this year that promises: “The City of Vicksburg presents a Fireworks Extravaganza ‘Red White and Blues’ featuring Mr. Sipp ‘The Mississippi Blues Child’. The event starts at 7:00 pm. Fireworks show starts at 9:00 pm. There will be a special tribute to Willie Dixon (July 1, 1915- January 29, 1992).”

Next year in New York, if Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, the Four of July will be less memorable, solemn and celebratory than Adams initially had hoped.  The mayor, who is coming to resemble former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in his instinctive aversion to all things joyous, has called upon New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto a bill that would legalize SPARKLERS outside the precincts of New York City. Presently, sparklers and all other fireworks are banned in the city; Bloomberg’s ban would extend the city’s ban to the rest of the state. Following Bloomberg’s ban on “Big Gulps,” the sparkler ban is likely to prove incendiary. Already, the mayor has been called a “dope” by Fourth of July patriots.

The mayor’s spokesperson alleges that the state-wide ban is necessary to protect the city from terrorists “such as failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, who bought a package of legal M-88 from out of state to help ignite his dud bomb in 2010.” Mr. Bloomberg’s critics point out sparklers contain no gunpowder -- you numbskull.

Congress made the Fourth of July a national holiday about 100 years after John Hancock boldly signed the Declaration of Independence in a large and imposing script, so that the King of England could not fail to see it; this at a time when the King’s forces were violently suppressing an insurrection in Boston.

Samuel Adams’ doom upon those of his fellow citizens who hung back in the shadows and did nothing while the king’s agents were harrying Boston citizens was as scorching as a Fourth of July firework: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

It is the much neglected Samuel Adams, rabble rouser and pamphleteer, who is the great herald and apostle of American liberty.

Just listen to him: “It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.”

The right of the people to exult in their God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – this is the fire than ran hot in the blood of our political prophets. Let it erupt this Fourth of July in displays of patriotism that would gratify the founders who gave us our deposit of liberty in trust.

“We have given you a Republic,” said Ben Franklin to a woman outside Liberty Hall in Pennsylvania after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, “if you can keep it.”

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sandy Hook And The Data Trap Updated

This is a self interview
Q: I’ve now read everything you’ve written about the Sandy Hook mass murders, quite a lot [Here sorted by date]. I’ve noticed two things: You have not weighed in on what some people might consider the central legislative issues, the “should” questions – should certain weapons be banned, that sort of thing; and throughout your commentary, you manage to sound like a Jeremiah on what some grey heads in the journalism business use to call “freedom of information.” Is that a right reading of the main thrust of your commentary on Sandy Hook?

A: It’s a fair reading, yes.

Q: Why the emphases on the free flow of information?

A: Because what one does will always depend upon what one knows. It would be more accurate to say “the full and accurate flow of information.” Can I pick a bone with you on Jeremiah?

Q: Sure.

A: Jeremiah was repetitive because he had a positive genius for getting quickly to the decisive point and, of course, repeating it, much to the distress of the hypocritical whitened sepulchers in his audience. Someone – I think it might have been me – once said that journalism was 20 percent thought and 80 percent repetition. That is the nature of journalistic reporting and commentary. Some themes are dearer to you, because they are more important to you, than others, and so you inflict upon your readers the burden of repetition. I’d like to try out on you an answer to the second part of your question.

Q: Okay.

A: Legislators in the General Assembly are now finished with their gun restriction bills. Remarking on the missing data that should have driven their efforts, I said in one of the columns, all of which may be found on a site called “Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State,” that the bills were premature because the criminal investigation report was not due to be completed until June, a date that has since been advanced. The General Assembly produced its bill – a bipartisan measure, we were reminded often enough by its architects – in the first week of April, about a month before the criminal investigation report was due to be completed. I think I quoted the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carol’s “Through the Looking Glass” in the course of that blog and column: “First the verdict,” said the imperious Queen, “then the trial.”

Q: Well yes, but people were impatient to get something done.

A: And their impatience had been stoked by politicians and others interested mostly in bum-rushing legislation in advance of the data upon which that legislation should have rested. Why is that?

Q: You had the families of the 26 victims in Sandy Hook waiting patiently for legislation that would…

A: … insure that the slaughter at Sandy Hook would not be repeated. There are so many assurances on this point from state and national politicians, Democrats mostly, that it would be unnecessarily tedious to repeat them here. The two U.S. Senators in Connecticut most voluble on this point were Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. 

Q: Okay.

A: And how can you write such bills if you do not know what happened at Sandy Hook? To be sure, there were reports in the media, many of which relied upon heavily edited information from sources that may or may not have been accurate. Some of the information in the polluted media stream was partial or inaccurate enough to give credence to absurd conspiracy theories. Very little of the information could be described as authoritative -- because much of the information was in the custody of criminal investigators who were determined to draw about the data an impenetrable iron curtain. Every time you approached a data master with a question, you were told, “Sorry Bud, that information is not available because of an ongoing criminal investigation.” To some commentators, myself among them, the criminal investigation might have been competed earlier, since the two people who might have been charged criminally, Adam Lanza and the mother he murdered, were both dead, as were most of the witnesses to the mass murder. And even if it had not been completed, the General Assembly was poised to write a bill that would affect every gun owner in the state. If the General Assembly needs information to write effective bills, it should be given the information. Finally, as the General Assembly was on the point of emitting bills, the carefully guarded bucket sprang a leak. A New York Daily News reporter loosed upon the public some quarantined details that came to him from a source who had attended a police convention in New Orleans, after which it was decided to release police arrest warrants – be it noted, a full month or more before the final criminal report was due.

Q: Which means what?

A: It means that the data in the arrest warrant could have been release long before to legislators charged with shaping bills. Now, I may say – without, I hope, drifting into the bog of conspiracy theory – that, as a general rule, a political sequence occurs because politicians want things to happen in a certain sequence. Even the data included in the arrest warrant was by no means complete and definitive. Arrest warrants reveal only what police are looking for and what they have found at the beginning of an investigation. The General Assembly should have insisted, right from the get go, that all information in the custody of investigators pertinent to the bill or bills the legislators were constructing be made available to the relevant heads of legislative committees – in camera, if necessary. That did not happen. Connecticut’s very robust Freedom of Information [FOI] law means, if it means anything at all, that the only thing the general public need fear about the release of information is that information necessary to a well ordered Republic will NOT be released. But what happened in this instance goes far beyond FOI laws.

Q: You are not saying that people intentionally edited the data you think necessary so that bills could be constructed as they wished, are you?

A: Well, I do think there is a well-documented tendency among politicians to use available laws and processes to advance a preferred end. That’s politics. If the end they have in view is defective, or if the process leads ineluctably to an end the consequences of which are destructive, you must adjust the laws and processes. Politics, at its best, is the legislative art that conveys us to an end result that increases liberty and justice for all.

Q: But how much of what happened was purposeful?

A: All of it -- I hope. To suppose otherwise would be to suppose that our legislators are either stupid or mad. You would have to go to a different planet to find a convocation of reporters and commentators who did NOT think that Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans wanted gun restrictions, whatever the data suggested. The data trap in Connecticut eased their way. But bad or sequestered data makes for bad laws. If Republicans in Connecticut were not a bunch of obliging go-alongs hanging by their torn fingernails to increasingly disappearing legislative seats, they would insist on bills that break down Berlin Walls intended to prevent the liberating and free flow of data. But look what happened: As a result of Sandy Hook, a bill was produced in the General Assembly to restrict information on death certificates. Why? Because some legislators wished to spare the stricken parents of young children murdered in Sandy Hook the resulting publicity that might occur should FOI laws be rigorously enforced. Really? Death certificates, available for centuries to the public, contain only general information. The certificate requires a review of the cause of death by a medical examiner to determine the presence or absence of foul play indicating that a murder may have been committed.  How can the general public know that authorities responsible for apprehending and convicting murderers are doing a proper job if information of this kind is not made available to them? Who are the political beneficiaries of such a bill? Why, dear me, can’t we say it plainly? The bill would largely benefit propagandist politicians whose efforts would be furthered by any restriction that data-traps inconvenient truths and prevents the free flow of information. You control the messenger – there are still in Connecticut some alert reporters, a few brave Jonahs who have managed to escape the maw of Leviathan – by controlling data. Throughout history, the upward progress of politicians has been paved by the careful editing of information. In constitutional republics, some subtlety that veils naked political purposes may be necessary to sell such anti-democratic measures to an increasingly marginalized public. We cannot wish to further wound stricken victims, can we? How could we be so heartless? This is how the liberties of free men disappear, not through honest battles waged on an open field but with a flick of the serpent’s tongue.

Q: Are you satisfied with the final bill signed into law by Mr. Malloy?

A: No. the legislative product was shamelessly oversold by demagogues. The passage of the bill here in Connecticut marked the boundary of overheated rhetoric. Before passage, Connecticut politicians, mostly Democrats driven by a script that bore the watermark of Washington D.C., were telling us that the measures they preferred would make school children across the state safe from the Adam Lanzas of the world. Suffering parents in Sandy Hook, perhaps traumatized by the slaughter of their children, were used to prop up an improbable theory: namely, that restrictions imposed on certain weapons – indeed, the most popular and bestselling long rifle in the United States, the AR15 – would render schoolchildren safe from attack. Even town administrators in Newtown spurned that theory when the town fathers voted to appropriate money to place armed guards in all their schools, including the three private schools in town [Sandy Hook is a section of Newtown]. They knew from direct experience that unarmed interveners however brave, could not stop a determined shooter. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School stopped when armed first responders appeared in the school. After the bill in Connecticut had passed, U.S. Senators Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Governor Dannel Malloy took their show to Washington D.C., where a national gun bill, much more pallid that the Connecticut version, was up for consideration. Here at home, legislators who had championed “the toughest gun laws in the nation,” perhaps with a cautious eye focused on reality, began a tactical retreat from their overblown rhetoric: True, the bill wasn’t perfect, but we should never allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good. Vice President Joe Biden said at one point that if national gun legislation saved but one life, it would be worth it, which is simply another way of saying that Mr. Biden regards human life as precious. Well, of course he does. All the old canards were trotted out and dangled before an aroused but doubtful public. A rhetorical mountain had been made of a mole hill, and now politicians were concerned with reducing their overinflated mountain of promises so that, when lives once again were lost in what should properly be regarded for purposes of punishment as a terrorist act, politicians who had overpromised in their legislation would not be held to account. Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Murphy both come from a state that had recently abolished a death penalty following a horrific multiple murder in Cheshire committed by two newly released prisoners on parole. Their crime was spectacularly heinous. They broke into a house, beat the male householder with a bat, tied him up in the basement, assaulted three women in the house upstairs, forced a mother to go to a bank and withdraw money, raped two daughters and set fire to the house, killing all the women. That incident sparked massive purchases of guns in Connecticut -- most especially in rural areas, where the response time from police is necessarily longer. Now, if Adam Lanza had survived his attack on Sandy Hook Elementary school, he could not have been executed in Connecticut for having murdered his mother, 20 children and 6 brave faculty members of the school because, largely owing to politicians like Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Murphy, the state, for humane reasons, had deprived itself of a punishment tool. Had Mr. Lanza survived, the political play we are now witnessing would not be the same. We have to begin to focus on the criminal misuse of weapons. In the week prior to passage of the gun restriction law in Connecticut, Managing Editor of the Journal Inquirer Chris Powell noted in one of his columns, there were three handgun murders in Hartford alone. “Some of the shots fired there,” Mr. Powell wrote, “may have been audible from the Capitol grounds, at least with those with ears to hear. No one in authority seems to know what to do about such murders, and over the course of a year, such murders in Connecticut’s disintegrating cities will be far more numerous than the murders in Newtown, but nobody has to know or even pretend to know because that part of Connecticut – the part where mayhem is ordinary and daily, not a freak event such as Newtown – can be written off politically. Murder victims in the cities long ago ceased being cute.” Unfortunately, not as many people are like to have read Mr. Powell’s column as those who read Mr. Murphy’s maiden speech in the U.S. Senate on gun violence in the course of which Mr. Murphy pointed out, quite correctly, that guns in the hands of criminals are more lethal than knives. He might have done better had he read Mr. Powell’s column into the legislative record.

Q: In an interview following passage of the gun restriction bill, Senator Dick Blumenthal doubted that the bill would drive gun manufacturers out of the state. He was quoted by the Business Insider as having said, "Gun manufacturers are like other businesses in looking for the highest quality workforce, the best business environment in terms of transportation and taxes and other features unrelated to any regulatory action. Their markets are national. What happens in Connecticut affects only purchases here."

A: Mr. Blumenthal was warned, both before and after passage of the bill, that some manufacturers in his state – called “the constitution state” because Connecticut operated under the New World’s first constitution, the so call “Fundamental Orders,” and the “Provision State” because, since the American Revolution onwards, Connecticut had provided war material and provisions to the federal government – had their eyes cocked on the exit signs. Gun manufacturers were treated shamelessly by the state. Their input on a bill chiefly affecting their business was spurned by a Democratic controlled General Assembly that wanted to add restrictions to gun laws already considered among the strongest in the nation. It was politically convenient for Democrats, as well as the Republicans who joined them in supporting the final product, to come down on the side of gun restrictions. When in doubt, put the gun on public trial. Mr. Blumenthal was wrong. In mid-June, the rumbustious Governor of Texas Rick Perry visited the state, hoping to convince gun manufacturers, among other businesses, to move to no tax regulatory light Texas. But it was South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who scooped up PTR, a Bristol-based semi-automatic weapons manufacturer. Most of the younger machinists who work for PTR will relocate to South Carolina, a shattering disappointment no doubt to Mr. Blumenthal. Gun manufacturers in the state had been able to submit gun designs to the state police for approval prior to the manufacture of a specific model. After the gun restriction bill had been passed, this business friendly process was rescinded: In the future, gun manufacturers must produce their product and then, AFTER PRODUCTION, the state police will declare the weapon legal or illegal. This is a forthright invitation to gun manufacturers to quit the state. If Mr. Blumenthal does not know this, he should not be serving in the greatest deliberative body in the modern world. Connecticut’s state police will themselves be burdened with the task of enforcing the new sometimes confusing regulations. Even before the bill had been passed, there was a backlog of gun permit cases waiting approval. Enforcement of gun regulations – assuming the new law was not intended merely as a campaign ploy – is labor intensive. It is not certain at this point that the same General Assembly that added the new labor processes will also finance the increased regulation by hiring new state troopers to oversee the execution of the terms of the bill, and state troopers who will in the future be expending their efforts to regulate non-criminal gun owners will have less time to chase down criminals who use weapons purchased on the black market.

Q: At the end of June, some of Adam Lanza’s medical reports and school records fell into the hands of reporters at the Hartford Courant. The documents, which include a medical summary of a visit by Lanza and his mother to Danbury Hospital, “span Lanza’s life from birth to age 18,” according to the exclusive report.

A: … exclusive because no one but the Courant – including the legislators who wrote the gun regulation bill – had the advantage of considering the information in the acquired reports.

Q: And that troubles you?

A: Of course it does.  Listen, everybody who pushed that bill did so because – as numerous political actors said, numerous times – they wished to prevent such mass murders as had occurred at Sandy Hook. Writing such a bill without knowing the medical history of Lanza is comparable to writing a history of the Elizabethan age in England without once mentioning Queen Elizabeth. The information provided by the Courant suggests that Adam Lanza had few problems in school, was not bullied and was not separated out from other pupils for special classes. The paper said it was in receipt of medical information that covered a period in Lanza life from age 8 to 18. Nothing in the information it acquired suggests he was taking psychotropic drugs and, apart from a sensory problem, his performance in school was more than adequate. The legislation produced by the General Assembly was driven by the supposition that Lanza was mentally defective. That may not be true. No information necessary to the creation of legislation should be withheld FOR ANY REASON from legislators creating a bill that advances the public good. This means that exceptions must be made in, say, HIPAA regulations -- or any regulations and procedures that prevent the free flow of information to legislators creating bills such as the gun restriction measure passed by Connecticut’s General Assembly. Legislative committees can receive and consider information in camera. Connecticut’s General Assembly needed information from a much delayed criminal investigation report and health records to write a comprehensive bill that would fulfill the stated intent of those leaders in the General Assembly who were pushing for a quick response to the mass murder of school children in Sandy Hook – and that information should have been made available to appropriate committees in the General Assembly before the bill was finalized. The final bill should have been subjected to a public hearing. It was smuggled through the legislature by means of a questionable emergency certification process, which was blasted by the Connecticut Law Tribune, among others. Gun manufacturers should have been used as a proper resource in the construction of the final bill. Breast beating politicians in the state should have been far more modest in their ambitions. Recently – one supposes through fatigue – Newtown’s First Selectman Patricia Llodra publically called for an end to outside intervention in her town: “the Town will respectfully decline any further special events not currently scheduled by the Town or currently being planned for July/August … We are hopeful that everyone understands the need for us to move into a quieter period.” People in Newtown – harried by reporters, hustled to Washington D.C. by Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation to promote national gun restriction legislation that Majority Leader of the Senate Harry Reid twice failed to deliver, still wracked with private sorrows – should be afforded a private space in which time and silent prayer may help to close their open wounds. She is right.