Letter to the Editor

Redesign the system

San Luis ObispoJune 24, 2014 

There is a mass shooting of some kind literally every week. Almost all these horrors are done by seriously mentally ill and violent persons seeking recognition and a dramatic death.

Some say too many guns too easily gotten are to blame. A factor, no doubt, but why are so many deeply disturbed violent people running around? Each time, we hear how there were many warnings and signals, including selfie videos, complaints to police, concerns by parents, manifestos and so on. But each time, we are told there wasn’t enough “hard evidence.”

We are in desperate need of a redesigned system. Decades ago, laws were changed to make sure people couldn’t be committed to abusive mental institutions for flimsy reasons. Obviously, they went too far. Authorities must be empowered and required to get search warrants and detain persons who have seriously threatened violence time and again, and those persons should be committed and examined by experts for at least five to 10 days or longer depending on the intensity of threats.

Systematic and repeated violent threats, coupled with guns and massive amounts of ammo, are not “free speech,” and we cannot continue to falsely conflate the two.

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