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Brickbats

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If you've been wishing your medical checkups could include a little talk about pistols, you're in luck: Doctors Against Handgun Injury, which claims to represent about two-thirds of the nation's practicing doctors, has recommended that physicians ask patients whether they own guns. If the patient says yes, the group continues, the doctor should lecture him about the alleged risks of gun ownership.

An elementary school teacher in La Plata, Argentina, has been charged with taping shut the mouths of 70 students. The teacher apparently became upset when the kids would not stop talking during rehearsals for a school ceremony.

Gloria Weiss wanted to open a coffee shop called the Colombian Connection in downtown Arlington Heights, Virginia. Then Virginia Z. Kucera of the town's Board of Trustees convinced her colleagues that the name conjured images of drug deals and would sully the town's name. The board refused to issue a permit for the business until Weiss renamed it the Colombian Coffee Connection.

Each day, Sheila Hull gathers up the trash left by drug dealers and users outside her beauty shop in East Baltimore, Maryland. She places the refuse—much of it drug paraphernalia—in a city trash can nearby. Is the city glad that she tries to clean up things? Nope: It has fined her for using the city trash can for her own "private" purposes.

A Winnipeg man left a store one night with some change still in his hand. Two men grabbed the money from him and took off, but they were caught by the police. At the trial, Judge Charles Rubin turned the attackers loose, saying there wasn't enough evidence against them. Then he told the victim he was "stupid" for walking around a dangerous area with money in his hand.

Canada Customs randomly targets shipments for drug searches. All well and good, say most importers. But then the importers get billed for the cost of searching.

Recess recently got a little less fun at West Annapolis Elementary School. The Maryland school has banned games of tag, saying they violate a no-touching policy. Kids can still play tag in physical education classes, however, where they'll be closely supervised by a teacher.

China imprisons Christian activists and political dissidents. It forces many into slave labor. But James Murdoch, Rupert's son and possible heir to one of the world's biggest media concerns (which has operations in China), seems to think that's not worth getting concerned about. In fact, at a recent conference he blasted Western media for focusing on China's human rights abuses. He added that the people of Hong Kong should accept the fact that they live under an "absolutist" government.