Crime

Brickbats

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Ryan and Mary King want to become foster parents, but the Utah Department of Human Services has rejected them. Ryan King has a concealed weapons permit, and the agency thinks that violates a state law requiring firearms to be inaccessible to children.

Violent crime is soaring in Great Britain, despite some of the world's strictest gun laws. So now some in the Labour Party want to restrict criminal defendants' access to trial by jury. They also want to end the double jeopardy rule, which prohibits trying a person twice for the same offense.

Schools in Birmingham, Alabama, now test middle and high school athletes for tobacco as well as illegal drugs. If a student fails, he gets a warning and the promise of further tests. A second failure leads to a mandatory anti-tobacco course. After a third strike, the student is suspended from athletic contests.

Earlier this year, faculty at the University of Georgia proposed a campus monument to alumni who died in combat. But some of their colleagues and students rejected the idea, arguing that it would discriminate against women, minorities, foreign students, and other groups that weren't always allowed to serve in the military.

Afghanistan's ruling Taliban has ordered its Hindu residents to wear labels distinguishing themselves from the Muslim majority. Hindu women must also wear veils in public. The Taliban say the rules are there only to protect Hindus from abuse.

New Jersey Rep. Marge Roukema has introduced a measure chastising TV shows such as The Sopranos. The Republican has seen only one or two episodes of the show, but she wants the entertainment industry to "stop the negative and unfair stereotyping of Italian-Americans," adding that "there was never any truth to the misinformation that Italian-Americans love The Sopranos." The same day, the show debuted to strong ratings in Italy.

Officials grant access to public records only about half the time, according to a survey by Maryland newspapers. Sheriff's and police departments are the worst offenders, followed by the Motor Vehicle Administration. And though state law says that document seekers can't be asked for identification or questioned about why they want the info, officials asked for the inquirer's name about half the time. One-third of those seeking records were asked about their motives.