Suzanne and I have been "arguing" over what happened in Tucson. I argue that the Pima Community College could have taken a more interventionist stance with regard to Jared Loughner, intervening more directly to ensure that mental health support was provided to him, rather than just suspending him and sending a letter to his parents saying he needed mental health counseling.
It's sort of what happens when bouncers throw people out of a nightclub, but the people continue their altercation outside. The altercation isn't stopped, just moved from one place to another. I argue that instead of throwing people out, they need to be detained and the police called.
Or that with school suspensions, students should be "suspended-within-the-school" but not, even temporarily, expelled, because without the provision of support, counseling, etc., how is a student on their own expected to change. (This actually is now becoming best practice in some school districts such as in Baltimore. But the difference between good and practice is keeping the student in school with no sanctions and support, versus separate placement and the provision of support.)
This comes down to a difference between focusing on the individual or institution vs. focusing on the broader community.
Which do you think is a better approach?
How many more mass murders will it take to get some changes in how we identify and address people with potentially serious capacity for damage?
Labels: public safety