Monday, May 26, 2014

Another Killing More Finger Pointing

Another sad time as we learn of the killings in Isla Vista. Anger and sadness precede the grieving of the loss. During that time many things will be said, lost of which will involve gun control and blaming the NRA. Let's stop and go back a few decades. Way back when I was a child we were first taught to treat others as we would like to be treated. There were no caveats about race or creed. Everybody was to follow the Golden Rule. Back then when things went wrong we were encouraged to look inward to find a resolution not at others to place blame. We learned, or many of us learned, life was about personal choices and their consequences. Today it seems the pattern is more to make excuses for bad decisions. While it is fine to sympathize with and look for understanding of a person's motivation after they have committed crimes against innocent people, we should not be making excuses thus somehow raising them to the level they sought in life only after having done the most heinous act against another. That sends the wrong message to others struggling with personal problems. It has often been pointed out you cannot legislate morality. What a waste of time, effort! In the latest instance involving Elliot Roger, the parents had asked police to check on him. They were alarmed by his videos and posts. They also knew of his continuing problems as he has been seeing a therapist. I wonder why the police were unable to do more. I recognize the 4th amendment. However, did the parents' concern along with the posts provide the necessary probable cause to do at least a cursory search? Couldn't the warning or pleas of the parents be enough to have him evaluated and maybe held for a brief period involuntarily. Why didn't one of the officers just ask "Hey dude is it OK if I just look around a bit to reassure your Mom and Dad you're OK?" I can't help but think there WAS something missed in this case. I certainly am not blaming police or joining the cry for gun control. To me, it is easy to second guess actions not taken and blame availability of lethal force for the deaths in Sandy Hook, Isla Vista and Colorado. Since we seem to be losing our right to privacy in many ways perhaps it would be more palatable if the invasion was used to actually help save lives. HIPAA laws started out to protect people's medical history from being public record. There is a line however. Most of the recent killing sprees were committed by people with clear mental health issues. Since police and government officials are protected from being sued why can't we protect mental health professional from suits brought on when they report concerns? I believe if we really wanted to solve the issue, tough choices will have to be made. I go back to starting with young children. Instill in them the principle of treating others as they want to be treated, regardless of any difference in appearance or beliefs. Also make it clear blaming others for choices you make is not acceptable. Many people have been bullied and become successful. Many people have been abused and risen to positions of power. Let young people know there are options out there and consequences to their actions.

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