This chilling statement was made by a lawyer who represented many victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Boston in the 2015 movie “Spotlight.” Child abuse persisted because abusive priests were re-assigned, victims were silent or agreed not to speak publicly about the abuse, and others collaborated to keep the problem hidden from authorities and the public for years, including their own parents and family members. Pervasive child abuse had been covered up in many other locations as well. Pages and pages of cities with multiple cases that had been covered up. Nobody wanted to take on the church and protect these kids. It still occurs today, not just in the Catholic church, but in our schools, sports and even clubs like Boy Scouts. Who is paying attention? Is it by our lack of attention and concern that the leaders in our homes, schools, churches, workplaces, hospitals and government have become enablers? Of course they have, and not just to sexual abuse either. They have turned a blind eye to the mental health needs of our children and families, they have taken funding away from treatment programs, leaving very ill and dangerous people in the community and schools. They do not care how many threats a child has made to harm others or how many times authorities have been called to intervene. They don’t care how many complaints they get about disruptive behavior in public places. There is no place to put these individuals other than jail, and until they commit a crime they can’t even do that. Committing anyone to mental health treatment takes an act of God and a pile of cash. They have dozens of excuses and ways they spin their story to shift the blame, but the bottom line is, we are not demanding enough from our leaders.
Below is a story reported by The Chicago Tribune and many other news outlets on April 21st, 2018. There is no way you can read this and legitimately think our mental health and penal systems are not totally broken and dysfunctional. This story is so completely ludicrous, if I read it without context, I would never think it took place in this country. Unfortunately, my eyes have been open to this for many years.
A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday. Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf. Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck. Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him. Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.”It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack. “He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.” Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing. According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beach side restaurant about three hours before the attack. Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said. Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles. Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins. He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said. Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s. The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.”We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
Now his five year old daughter has to live with the nightmare that her father was stabbed to death while he held her for the last time. Why? Because people in authority had made horrible decisions based on money that would leave this very dangerous homeless man unmonitored. In fact, they decided he was not a threat based on security footage the night of the attack. Nobody followed up face to face. All the officers were too tied up. Who made the call that this was a situation that could be ignored? We need to quit protecting these people. They did not even know who the offender was. Had they followed up his record would have come to light and the threat would have been taken more seriously. Even the last sentence in the above quote reeks of BS. If nothing is more important than safety, then why is it acceptable to assess the danger level of a situation by security cameras alone? That is never acceptable. Now there is just a bunch of back peddling and damage control aimed at making people not fear visiting the area so they don’t lose revenue. It is all about the almighty dollar, not safety.
Refusing to open our eyes as a nation and see that our mental health system is in crisis will ultimately lead to more deaths. These are the types of incidents that make people see that it is time to arm ourselves to protect our families, because nobody else will.