The debt ceiling, spending cuts, the political hostage situation that even the characters of the West Wing aren’t entirely clear on: they’re complicated. Alas, the world needs more simple ways to understand the long-stretching implications of these problems. Thankfully, this is where Bloomberg comes in.
As if the headline “Meth Addict With Flame Thrower to Be Spared Prison as States Cut Spending” wasn’t enough, there’s also an actual story behind it, the gist of which is that criminals labeled as “low level offenders” in California are going to be cut free because of spending cuts to prisons.
But the star of the headline is only given a few words’ space in the piece, twelve paragraphs down:
Among recently convicted felons who wouldn’t face prison time in the future, according to Cooley: a methamphetamine addict caught in possession of a flame thrower, a woman who performed abortions without medical training and a credit-card hacker responsible for $6.5 million in losses.
Lest this be a lesson in sensational headline writing, the Bloomberg writer behind this report did the due diligence of linking to L.A. County D.A. Steve Cooley’s February report from which that story is culled. Timing aside, yes, it’s as much fun as it sounds. In fact, they undersold it. The gentleman in question had a rocket launcher:
In People v. Powell, BA338304, the defendant was a heavy methamphetamine user living in an upscale neighborhood. The police were called when the defendant suffered from severe methamphetamine induced psychosis and his behavior was of great concern to the neighbors. Inside the defendant’s home police found, among other firearms and destructive devices, a rocket launcher, tracer rounds, a flame thrower and methamphetamine. The defendant’s psychosis and access to an arsenal of weapons made him incredibly dangerous. The defendant was sentenced to eight years in state prison.
In an “upscale neighborhood” (if you count Torrance) no less! Either way, if California intends on not spending more cash on prisons, thanks to Bloomberg, you now know: rocket-launcher-toting psychos on meth will be walking around L.A. And that’s how tax cuts work!
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