Gerald G. Doane: Armed security in non-violent places? | TheUnion.com

Gerald G. Doane: Armed security in non-violent places?

Gerald G. Doane
Other Voices

I have concluded that the only way to more thoroughly prevent mass killings at populated locations, such as schools, bars, workplaces, places of worship, and entertainment venues is to include armed security, either uniformed or undercover.

But only on a temporary basis until we, as a society, can get our act together.

This doesn't mean that other preventative security measures such as barriers, access controls, and monitoring should be abandoned; however, unarmed security and other preventative security measures, if utilized at all, have not cut the mustard when it comes to mass killings.

Unfortunately, our politics, our justice system, and our mental health communities seem to be unable to deal with the mental health issues that are so prevalent in these mass killings.

We must seek temporary solutions until a more permanent societal fix can occur.

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Firearms are part of the discussion, but only as it relates to their access by certain individuals in our society. Those individuals must be provided due process in determining if their rights must be curtailed because of public safety.

If one tries to go beyond this, good luck, but you are only avoiding the real problem, and, advocating on the infringement of a guaranteed right of self-protection.

Are you still with me, or have you decided to not listen any longer because of the previous paragraph?

It seems to me, as an interested observer, that there are many missed opportunities to provide for the public safety with emergency detentions and follow-ups in crisis mental health cases.

Have our crisis mental health assessments been overly deferential to the rights of the individual versus being deferential to the public safety? We need to find out if this is occurring and why.

Do mental health crisis personnel need more authority? Do they need protection from legal action? Do they need some sort of immunity or privilege to protect them? Do they need a more flexible assessment criterion? These are some of the questions that must be answered.

In the meantime, places where larger populations congregate must be prepared for the violence that will be coming their way. It is true, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. We just need to be smart about how we implement any armed security policy.

The cost of armed security may be only a small fraction more than the cost of unarmed security. When we begin calculating that cost, let us remind ourselves that there is no way to calculate the cost in human life when these mass killings occur.

And, we must think about how we deal with explosives as well. Remember the Bath School House and the Boston Marathon bombings?

You see, if it is not firearms, it is explosives. If it is not explosives, it is an automobile. If it is not an automobile, it is a deuce-and-a-half (a large truck, for those who are not veterans). If it is not a deuce-and-a-half, it is a sword or machete. If it is not a sword or machete, it is an airplane. It goes on and on until we get to the root of the problem.

I see that root of the problem as the mental health issue. And we must be honest in our search for answers. Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (and I am a military vet, a law enforcement vet and a corporate security vet) must be part of the search for answers.

Really, these mass killings are a form of domestic terrorism. Well, how do we deal with any other kind of terrorism? We focus on the known or potential terrorists, the ones who believe and act upon their terrorist ideology. By identifying the potential terrorist and legally removing them from the system, we prevent future acts.

Should we deal with a domestic variety of terrorism like we do with any terrorist threat? Well, yes.

But would-a, could-a, should-a doesn't cut it when you've got dead bodies at the entertainment venue, in the workplace, at the school house, or in the synagogue, church or mosque. These killings are almost becoming a foreseeable risk of doing business anywhere where large populations congregate. We must seek temporary solutions until a more permanent societal fix can occur.

In that regard, may I suggest that the president of the United States declare a mental health emergency based upon the increasing numbers of mass killings and domestic terrorism threats, and, empower a presidential commission to recommend solutions to our mental health crisis.

Gerald G. Doane lives in Grass Valley.

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