POLICE charged Antonio Quentez Collins, 33, of Charleston, with two counts of attempted murder in the shooting of Josh Lawson, 23, and Patrick Moore Jr., 22, at the Washington Street West 7-Eleven early last Saturday.
If Collins was indeed the shooter as charged, why did he have a gun?
Collins has at least a 15-year history of violence, including a seven-year sentence for the 1998 malicious wounding of his friend, Dexter Johnson, who suffered brain damage.
In 2008 South Charleston police officers found Collins with a handgun tucked in his waistband
during a traffic stop.
While in jail awaiting trial for charges related to possession of a gun by a felon, Collins hit a corrections officer in the face with a food tray.
Last year the government moved Collins from prison to a halfway house in Columbus, where he showed "signs of his previously diagnosed mental illness," according to a report.
Given his criminal record, such a diagnosis is not surprising. What is surprising, and disappointing, is that he apparently was released from prison without treatment for his illness.
The common thread for tragedies from Columbine High School 15 years ago and forward is that invariably the shooter had an untreated mental illness.
The nation needs background checks on gun purchases, but it also needs to make sure that violent people with "previously diagnosed mental illness" get help.
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FEDERAL agents recently raided the offices of the Scooter Store, the nation's largest seller of powered mobility chairs.
Over the years, the Scooter Store and other sellers of such devices have received billions of dollars from Medicare to cover the costs of scooters, power chairs and motorized wheelchairs.
But widespread abuse of the program has the
government cracking down on this industry. One estimate put the fraud and inappropriate-use rate at 60 percent.
Propelled by TV ads that openly said Medicare would cover most if not all of the cost, the Medicare billings grew from $259 million in 1999 to more than $1.2 billion in just four years.
The crackdown is overdue. However, it also is slowing down the delivery of such chairs to people who really need them.