Certificate of Need for machine guns?

Every once in a while I take a break from my heavy health care reading list for some more general reading. But try as I might I can’t escape the health care topic completely.

Even small localities got big guns on the front page of today’s Boston Globe describes how small town police departments in Massachusetts are loading up on surplus military firepower.

Police in Wellfleet, a community known for stunning beaches and succulent oysters, scored three military assault rifles. At Salem State College, where recent police calls have included false fire alarms and a goat roaming the campus, school police got two M-16s. In West Springfield, police acquired even more powerful weaponry: two military-issue M-79 grenade launchers.

The article stayed mercifully free of health care references until the final column, when a police official used a strange health care example to defend his decision not to tell the public about the armaments:

In Framingham, Lieutenant Paul Shastany likened community involvement in arms decisions to public involvement in hospitals’ decisions on what type and how many heart stents to buy.

“That decision belongs with police officials, not the public,” said Shastany, whose department received16 M-16s in 1997.

Where on earth did that thought come from?

June 15, 2009

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