Another Open Letter to State and Federal Legislators:
We have the personnel and God knows we’ve got the kids and buckets of witnesses. So empower law enforcement with the ability to obtain, let’s call it, a “Community Protection Warrant” or “Peace Order” that would be issued by the District Court after an in camera (in front of a judge, not in open court) hearing with a criminal judge. The order would be in tandem with the “Protocols” discussed in previous articles.
Empower the Sheriffs’ and Police departments to interview school counselors, principals, students, neighbors, nurses and mental health professionals to write affidavits in support of the “Community Protection Order” if fact rises to the level of “probable cause” to believe the individual is a danger to himself and others. This could be shown by multiple “lay” statements of the observers noted above. Hey, the kiddos always know who these ‘bad apples’ are. The students know the drug users, the abusers and those with mens rea (‘bad minds’). The process would have to allow protections to the officers and witnesses under “good Samaritan” or “good faith” clauses as long as the officers can articulate “due diligence” in their sworn affidavit before a District Judge.
Provide that recalcitrant or lazy officers, their supervisors or prosecutors are held to a standard if they don’t responsibly act or approve action. Of course, there must be the authority to shut down capricious or unwarranted actions or incomplete investigations, but they all have to be held to same level of responsibility. Corruption of authority can rise from not doing your job, as well as, violating the trust given to officials.
I’m not suggesting violations of “due process” or violating the rights of mentally ill or disturbed individuals. I’m saying that any abuse of obtaining information or writing the affidavit in support of the Order would result in the fining or incarceration of officers or their supervising Chief Law Enforcement Officer, like a Sheriff or Police Chief. This would be aimed at ensuring the “subject” is protected and eventually admitted to a mental health care facility or clinic.
Hey, you all could fund the rehabilitation and diagnoses under the state controlled Medicaid system. If prisoners can get Medicaid benefits after the first 24 hours of incarceration the same laws could be modified to accept these individuals.
You could also incentivise Medicaid investigators and prosecutors to take fines and repatriations from fraud cases to fund the medical side of the equation.
The whole point of a Protection Order would be to get mentally ill persons that exhibit violent tendencies or actions to get the treatment they need. There are some, like most schizophrenics, who most likely will never be involved in violence (strange behaviour maybe, but violence rarely.)
From practical experience, I know it may be counter to some mental health theorists that sociopaths / psychopaths (Anti-Social Personalities, DSM 5, 301.7, APA, 2013 & APA Dictionary of Pyschology, 2016) who are devoid of conscience, with complete disregard for others, most likely have no effective treatment. Those personality types may have to be excluded. Most of their violence is in hurting or killing animals, parents and strangers in environments they can control and mostly without witnesses.
The other major point is to protect our schools and kids from flashpoint violence which we can’t predict as to time and place. But we can make a bold attempt to prevent violence from persons with mental disease or defect that would be acted out on our school grounds.
Metal detectors, more anti-possession gun laws and ordinances and more money won’t get it done. Gun laws that aren’t enforced and prosecuted are a problem that has to be fixed. Like the church shooter in Sutherland, TX who should have been stopped from purchasing guns was a domestic abuser, but not entered into the criminal background database. That lack of professionalism is unforgivable.
And then, when parents don’t secure their firearms charge them as an accessory or accomplice to the crimes of violence their children commit. That lack of responsibility is intolerable.
The thing that makes me most sick is rich politicians that make anti or pro-gun statements without practical experience. They make blanket statements about weapons and the 2nd Amendment while protected by high-dollar home security systems, expensive high walls around their home and surrounded by bodyguards or Secret Service. It reminds me of a relatively liberal judge in New Mexico who, along with his father became victims of a home-invasion. Guess what. That judge became a very strong anti-crime, anti-criminal, victim’s rights advocate thereafter. I was told by a fellow officer the judge soon went out and bought of gun for home defense and got cops to train him.
So, dear legislators, I would daresay that actions lead to solutions. Conversations are great for banter while playing a friendly game of Canasta or Spades. Make your moves, actively compromise to reach common ground, but do something, please.