I view it as a national issue for the rest of the country.

No changes. In no way did it involve the airport.

Under federal regulations, it's the pilot's call. The tower would have asked for a flight plan and would have advised him to not take off. There's no stopping a pilot from taking off at any time. If the pilot makes that decision, under the federal air regulations, they can do that. However they have to be willing to accept the risk and it would certainly indicate extreme bad judgment.