Got guns? According to a new report from the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), Alabama is the nation’s fifth largest supplier of guns used in crimes in other states. In 2009, over 1,500 guns sold in Alabama were used in crimes elsewhere. The report, Trace the Guns: The Link Between Gun Laws and Interstate Gun Trafficking, is based on crime-gun trace data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to a news release on the MAIG web site, the report “shows that states with weak gun laws are disproportionately the top sources of guns recovered in out-of-state crimes” and that those states “are a source of a greater proportion of guns recovered in crimes shortly after their initial purchase—a measure considered by ATF to be a key indicator of illegal trafficking.” Read for yourself at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org or www.tracetheguns.org.
Read the Blueprint: Expect lots of discussion locally about Blueprint Birmingham, unveiled last week by the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA). The Blueprint is a comprehensive economic development plan for the Birmingham-Hoover metro area. It was created with contributions from citizens, politicians, and business and community leaders. Among other things, the Blueprint advocates taking greater economic advantage of UAB, improving the area’s schools and encouraging small business. The plan urges the creation of an entertainment district and construction of a professional baseball park, both downtown. The plan also advocates the construction of the controversial Northern Beltline freeway, a project long supported by the BBA. Beltline advocates have argued it will stimulate economic growth, while environmentalists say the road’s benefits have been oversold and that its construction could create ecological problems, including damage to water supplies. Read more at www.blueprintbirmingham.com.
Suicides up: A new study shows that the number of suicides by middle-aged people in the United States—especially by white men without college degrees—is going up, according to a report by Reuters health editor Maggie Fox. A crappy economy and poor health may be contributing factors, say sociologists Julie Phillips of Rutgers University and Ellen Idler of Emory University. They published their findings in the journal Public Health Reports. While they point out that tracing cause and effect is difficult, the researchers state that "Unemployment rates in the U.S. rose between 2000 and 2003 at the same time that middle-aged suicide rates increased rapidly.” It doesn’t help, they say, that an increasing number of middle-aged people have chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, which may increase the stresses they face.
Give yourself over to Rocky Horror: Theatre UAB is celebrating its 40th anniversary season with a production of the venerable cult-classic musical The Rocky Horror Show. The play served as the basis for the popular 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Guest artist Bill Castellino will direct and choreograph the production. According to a UAB news release, the New York-based Castellino has directed more than 30 world premiere musicals and won a bunch of awards, including eight Drama Logue Awards. The show will be performed at the Sirote Theatre at the Alys Stephens Center (ASC) October 6-9, at 7:30 p.m., and October 10, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $18 for adults, $12 for UAB employees and senior citizens and $7 for students. For tickets, call (205) 975-2787. For more information, visit theatre.hum.uab.edu.