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Short takes

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.

Any fraud connected to this industry may be nonviolent, but it still has caused harm to the taxpaying public and its support for government programs. Judges should bear that in mind when they sentence anyone convicted of crimes related to this abuse.

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SOME people feared the Boston bombings by two Chechen Muslims would trigger widespread backlash against all Muslims.

Many Americans not only have made the distinction between two people and 2 million peaceful citizens, but they also have made a hero out of Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the two terrorists.

Bloomberg News reporter Margaret Talev reported people are sending letters of support by the boxload to Uncle Ruslan.

When police identified his nephews as the bombers who killed three people and wounded more than 270 others, Uncle Ruslan told reporters his nephews were "losers" who had failed to assimilate into the country that he loves.

How refreshing and encouraging it was to hear such words of gratitude from a man who sought sanctuary here.

The positive reaction shows the true soul of

America, just as Uncle Ruslan shows the true side of the Islamic faith.

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AS part of a promotional video for Charleston as it marks the state sesquicentennial, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones drove a Lincoln

re-enactor through the downtown in one of his

vintage cars.

Lincoln stopped by Ellen's Homemade Ice Cream, and then Jones drove him to the "Lincoln Walks At Midnight" statue at the Capitol.

What a wonderful, fun way to show off the city's history. That is the type of promotion the city needs.

The best way to attract tourists is to show how much fun it is to be here.


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