No thoughts of harm. Although Aaron Alexis sought treatment at two Veterans Affairs hospitals for insomnia, he told doctors he was not depressed or thinking of harming himself or others. Doctors prescribed a generic antidepressant generally used to treat sleeplessness and told him to follow up with a primary care physician. On Monday, Alexis brought a gun into the Washington Navy Yard, where he worked as a contractor, and killed 12 people. In early August, Alexis called police in Rhode Island to report hearing voices and feeling vibrations sent through his hotel room walls. In response to questions about why federal authorities didn’t pick up on hints about Alexis’ deteriorating mental health, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel admitted the government missed a lot of red flags: “Where there are gaps, we will close them. Where there are failures, we will correct them.”
Marriage protections. Four House lawmakers—two Republicans and two Democrats—introduced a bipartisan bill today that would prohibit discrimination through the federal tax code against individuals or institutions that hold a biblically orthodox view of marriage. “This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” said Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho. “As President Obama said, ‘Americans hold a wide range of views’ on marriage and ‘maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom’ is ‘vital.’ We agree.” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), joined Labrador in introducing the bill, which has more than 60 original co-sponsors.
Acquitted. A Texas appeals court has overturned former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s money-laundering conviction, saying the court did not have sufficient evidence to issue its ruling. The acquittal means DeLay cannot be retried. A jury convicted the former politician—known in Washington as “The Hammer” for his ruthless ability to get Republican lawmakers to toe the party line—in November 2010 for illegally funneling $190,000 in corporate money through the Republican National Committee to help elect candidates to the Texas legislature. State law prohibits corporations from giving directly to political candidates and their campaigns. DeLay left Congress in 2006.
Floodwaters recede. Colorado officials now say the number of people missing after last week’s devastating floods has dropped from 1,200 to about 200, as rescuers have been able to reach areas previously cut off from communication. Airlifts have pulled many out of flood-ravaged areas. Other residents have chosen to stay but have contacted authorities to say they’re still alive. Ten helicopters continue to fly rescue missions. The official death toll stands at six, plus two women missing and presumed dead. But that number is expected to rise as search and rescue teams comb through debris. In the town of Lyons, raging flash floods destroyed or damaged at least 75 homes.
Disappointing loss. The trio of tenors known as Forte did not win America’s Got Talent last night. The men, who cited their Christian faith as a major unifying factory for the group, came in fourth out of the final six contestants. Their loss came as a surprise to many, given crowd and fan reactions to their ballads, several of which had faith-based themes. One of the show’s judges even predicted the group would win. But dancer Kenichi Ebina took home the $1 million prize.