The Palm Beach County sheriff is getting $1 million to launch a “prevention intervention” program that will operate a 24-hour hotline to identify the mentally imbalanced people among us who may be a danger to themselves or the community.
That doesn’t sound like it’s going to be enough money. Like Roy Scheider said in the movie “Jaws,” “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
As it is, we can barely keep mentally imbalanced people from being on the John Goodman jury. A new crazy-detection program that invites everyone to sic mental health professionals on anyone who may be half a bubble off plumb sounds like a massive undertaking.
For example, is it a form of mental illness to believe that the country is being run by a secret-Muslim Kenyan who is hell-bent on confiscating everyone’s guns in order to bring Sharia law and United Nations one-world government control to America? And the only rational response is for patriotic Americans to rise up and if need be, take the matters into their own hands by exercising a Second Amendment option?
Those people just may be a danger to themselves and to the rest of us. But we probably can’t round them up for counseling because they are an important voting bloc for a major political party, successful talk-radio hosts or credible primary election candidates.
The Boston Marathon bombing has created another source of alarm, considering that the explosive for the crude pressure-cooker bomb apparently came from the gunpowder widely available in fireworks stores. What is going to happen when the Fourth of July rolls around?
“Uh, is this the hotline? You might want to check out my neighbor. He keeps telling me that 9/11 was an inside job and I just saw him come home with a big bag of fireworks.”
The program the state Legislature awarded Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw may only have a fraction of the specially trained deputies, mental health professionals and caseworkers needed.
Especially now that everybody seems to be on terror alert.
Consider the case of Kiera Wilmot, 16, a student at Bartow High School in Polk County. Wilmot showed up at school one day last week and decided to conduct her own science experiment to test what YouTube videos made by other teenagers have already shown: that you can make a small explosive device by shaking up toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a container.
Wilmot tried it outside on the school grounds. After hearing the boom, an assistant principal approached her, and the girl said she was conducting a science experiment. She was standing by the remains of her unsanctioned experiment when the police arrived.
The experiment ended with her being charged with two felonies: discharging a weapon on school property and “making, possessing, throwing, projecting, placing or discharging any destructive device.”
Makes her sound like some kind of terrorist. But she’s really just a little crazy to try that potentially dangerous experiment — especially at school.
So don’t even think of making a potato launcher, which is considered a firearm in Florida, and punishable as a felony under that same “destructive device” law that snagged the Bartow teenager.
And in an abundance of caution, I’d stay away from Mentos and 2-liter bottles of Coke too.
We want to make sure that the “prevention intervention” team members knocking on doors aren’t wasting time on you when they have so many other people to consider.