Homeless people frustrated by limited Internet access


From Minnesota Public Radio:

For many people, the Internet offers ways to stay connected with friends, catch the latest news or play a game of Scrabble with someone half a world away — but many people who are homeless have a more limited view of the online world.

Advocates for the poor say that is because many free computer labs restrict Internet access to specific tasks, like filling out job applications or searching for affordable housing. Libraries often limit the amount of time each user can spend online, and most coffee shops have replaced computer stations with wireless Internet, accessible only through personal laptops or cell phones.

Social service providers worry that by linking Internet access to high-stress situations, homeless people are developing an increasingly negative view of the online world.

“People keep saying that they’re being forced to interact with technology under duress,” said Mike Menner, director of Alliance of the Streets, a Minneapolis-based group that provides assistance to low-income residents. “Those are moments when people don’t tend to learn very well.”

Read the full article at Minnesota Public Radio


MPR: “Shoot First Bill” would encourage Minnesotans to shoot first


by Heather Martens, Minnesota Public Radio News

In January, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, tried to repeal the state’s background check system for gun sales. This week, he wants to legalize a kind of murder.

House File 1467, which ought to be called “Shoot First,” will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee this Thursday. It would allow the killing of anyone who enters another’s yard, even when the person is unarmed and posing no threat; and it would allow the killing of anyone in a public place who seems threatening — again, even if the person is unarmed, and even if walking or driving away is a safe option.

Also buried in this bill is a loosening of concealed-carry permit laws to recognize all other state’s pistol permits in Minnesota, even states with lax background checks that issue permits valid for life. It also makes it harder for local law enforcement to prevent prohibited purchasers from getting permits to buy guns, and limits law enforcement’s ability to confiscate weapons in domestic violence situations.

The Shoot First bill includes the words “self-defense,” but it uses obscure legalese and a bizarre redefinition of the common word “domicile” to make the bill apply to much more than self-defense. “Domicile” is redefined to include not just a person’s home, but also the “curtilage” (fenced yard), “appurtenances” (outbuildings or garages), and even occupied cars (or conveyances). If someone enters “by force or by stealth” — in legal terms, that means as little “force” as turning a doorknob or opening an unlatched gate — then the person is “presumed” to intend to badly hurt someone. In court, a presumption cannot be rebutted, so no evidence would be allowed that showed the dead person had entered the yard by error, by invitation of the homeowner, to rescue a drowning child, or for any other reason.

Read the full story at Minnesota Public Radio News Online