Kudos to Bruce Drake for another report getting at the real problem posed by the Tucson shooting:
A top official in the Pima County sheriff’s office said Sunday that his department did not begin an investigation or take earlier action regarding Jared Lee Loughner despite his history of erratic behavior because his contacts with police were “relatively benign” and did “not rise to the level of causing us to be necessarily concerned about him committing a violent act.”
Richard J. Kastigar, chief of the sheriff’s Operations Bureau, acknowledged the controversy over the question of whether authorities should have moved earlier to look into the case of Loughner, who gunned down 20 people Sept. 8 outside a Tucson supermarket, killing six and critically wounding Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“A lot of folks have suggested that there were clues to his mental stability,” Kastigar said on ABC’s “This Week. “But we’re governed by laws. And the laws allow us to do certain things and restrict us from doing other things.”
Kastigar may well be right. (This bears investigation.) Do existing Arizona laws grant the sheriff’s department in Pima County (or other law enforcement body for that matter) the tools they needed to detain and/or incarcerate the disturbed young man who would become the shooter?
If this Pima County official is right, this then is the real problem for the Arizona legisalture: how to craft a law that would facilitate the detention of mentally unbalance individuals who pose a danger to society without threatening the liberty of eccentric or otherwise moderately troubled individuals who pose no such danger.