It’s Inevitable (police shootings)

July 12, 2016 in Crime and Courts, education, Events, Guardian ad-Litem, Guns, Invisible Children, Kids At Risk Action (KARA), Politics and Funding, Public Policy, Resources, The States by Mike Tikkanen

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People much smarter than me have clearly explained the underlying institutional dysfunctions that ensure the next (inevitable) police shootings.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown accurately stated that law enforcement has become the safety system in schools, a primary community mental health service provider, and of course the armed responder to a growing number of society’s violent problems.

Recently, Minnesota sheriffs from Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington Counties wrote a half page Star Tribune article threatening to sue the State for failing to provide timely mental health services to people locked up in their jail cells. This failure has turned law enforcement into a provider of mental health services to a large and growing population of often dangerous people.

The public health issue of mental health and the violence and dangers it presents will never be dealt with effectively by Law Enforcement.

I have listened to police and police chiefs talk about dealing with this growing number of unpredictable, mentally unstable people (and even whole families).   They know that the center cannot hold and that the weak link breaks and bad things happen.

As a Hennepin County volunteer guardian ad-Litem, I have come to know second and third-generation families of under-treated traumatized children with drug problems, violent boyfriends and serious mental health problems that are now having their own next generation of soon to be neglected and abused (traumatized) children.  Children who will bring their drug and behavioral problems to school and the community.  It’s inevitable.

About a third of the youth in child protection are proscribed psychotropic medications nationally.  In 2014, 20,000 one and two-year old children were proscribed Prozac and similar medications.  About 2/3 of the youth in the Juvenile Justice System have mental health issues and half that number have serious, chronic and multiple issues.

Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz clearly defined the problem by stating that 90% of the youth in the Juvenile Justice System have come up through the Child Protection System.  Almost all felons have passed through the Juvenile Justice System.  We will never build enough prisons or jails to manage our current approach to mental health and traumatized citizens that are in place in our nation today.

Add to that a substantial number of under-treated,  shell shocked military veterans that have become law enforcement officers, the militarizing of of police departments throughout the nation and what is happening on our city streets becomes understandable (inevitable).

It does not help that the war on drugs and this season’s political fear mongering make it almost impossible to be a Black Man that hasn’t been stopped multiple times by law enforcement.

It would help if more lawmakers understood these issues and voted their conscience instead of their politics for the policies governing our lives and well-being as a society.

If this article resonates with you, please share it widely (especially with your legislators & people that impact policy).

All Adults Are the Protectors of All Children