Mental Health & the Cops

Some people have ridiculously unrealistic expectations.  In a recent case where the police fatally shot a mentally ill black man who took up a shooting position against them, we now have the idiots on the left screaming that, in addition to enforcing the law, cops ought to be mental health professionals too.

Because that makes the slightest amount of sense.

The fact is, if you cannot be responsible for the consequences of your actions, you should not be on the streets.  That’s why we don’t let young children wander around unsupervised.  I really don’t care how old this person was, if they are mentally handicapped to the point that they do things that place themselves or others in danger, they have no business being out in public.  Sorry if that breaks your little liberal heart, but that’s reality.

I don’t feel the slightest bit sorry that this shooting happened.  The police have to make split-second decisions and if someone takes up a shooting position and points something at officers, and it doesn’t matter why they do it, whether they think it’s a joke or they just don’t know any better, then they deserve what they get.  Actions have consequences, even if those consequences were unintended.  In fact, I blame the sister for not keeping her brother under control.  I love how people are treating her as a victim.  She is not a victim.  Yes, her brother got shot.  For cause.  And yes, she should have stopped it and didn’t.  In this case, she was literally her brother’s keeper.  Some have suggested he wanted to commit suicide by cop.  He was obliged, if that is the case.  Send the family a bill for the bullets and move on.

I’m honestly not trying to be heartless, I’m just being honest.  People, all people, even mentally ill people, need to be held accountable for their actions.  If they are incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions, they shouldn’t be on the streets.  If they are incapable of being reigned in by either their family or by actual mental health professionals, they shouldn’t be on the streets.  I don’t care if you think that’s fair, that’s reality.  The cops had a job to do.  They did that job.  That someone died because they did something stupid is irrelevant.  Maybe they shouldn’t have done something stupid.  Or maybe they did it on purpose.  Either way, what’s done is done, time to move on.

5 thoughts on “Mental Health & the Cops

  1. You might not be trying to be heartless, but you sound that way from the perspective of somebody like me who has to deal with a mentally ill daughter. I am getting ready to sue the county for refusing to treat her because she is bipolar and really can't help herself, according to my wife who has lots of experience dealing with the mentally ill. The police do need training to handle people who can't control their emotions but who aren't physically dangerous but, for example, mouthy, just like police are taught to have a thick skin and tolerate people that "ordinary" people might not tolerate at all. Trying to tell my daughter that her inability to stop acting stupid is not going to stop the police from beating her is futile, which is why the police should be taught how to handle mentally ill people, but to not feel sorry for someone who can't help themselves sounds heartless to me even though I agree that a cop has the right to self defense from "even a crazy person." I'm trying to get her committed, but the county is more interested in saving money than in treating my daughter.

    1. There's a difference between people who are mouthy and people who pretend to shoot at cops. But that's the thing. Anyone who is incapable, for any reason, of acting reasonably normal in public shouldn't be allowed to be in public alone. That's just the unfortunate reality of the situation. Anyone who has a mentally ill child needs to understand that their responsibility doesn't end at age 18, they have a lifetime responsibility to take care of that child, it never becomes society's job. There has to be a point in time where everyone is treated the same and has the same expectations, regardless of their capacities. It is the job of the police to enforce the law. It is not to be a street psychologist. Now I agree with you that society doesn't want to spend money on psychological counseling, but you have to remember that it's your daughter and she is ultimately your responsibility. That's just how reality goes.

  2. We have not been willing to fund mental health services, and it is now extremely difficult to keep anyone in a mental hospital no matter how sick they are. This is part of why so many end up on the streets. They cannot afford their medication, and we have no way to provide them with adequate supervision. It would be great if there was an alternative, but we've made sure there isn't. And that's not really about anybody being liberal, it is just an economic reality. If nobody is willing to pay for places that might treat mental health problems, we end up with lots of seriously mentally ill persons on the streets.

    Many police departments provide their officers with some basic training in assessing mental health conditions and responding to mental health crises. This sort of training is not going to prevent all of these scenarios from going badly, but it can make a difference in reducing their number. Some larger departments even have mental health professionals who respond with officers to help manage and de-escalate some of these situations.

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    1. That's why I totally disagree with the direction we've gone in this country since the 80s with mental health. The idea that nobody can be institutionalized unless they are a "danger to themselves and others" is ridiculous. Some people simply cannot take care of themselves. They are incapable of making good life decisions. They are unable to be productive members of society. Those people need help and letting them live under bridges is socially irresponsible, yet that's where we are today. This needs to stop.

      1. Agreed. Some of the ideas behind de-institutionalization were good, but I think we overestimated our ability to care for some people outside the hospitals. While it might have been possible to build a system of community-based care that would have been more effective and less expensive than hospitals, that isn't what we ended up with. More and more of these people are now ending up in jail.

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