Florida Sheriff: Report Anybody Who “Hates the Government”

The Florida House and Senate has awarded $1 million grant to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw for a “violence prevention” unit. The unit will be comprised of specially trained officers, mental health professionals and caseworkers.

The whole program is based on the Homeland Security “see something, say something” campaign of preventing crimes and terrorist attacks. This “prevention intervention” unit will be responding to messages left on their 24-hour hotline from “concerned” citizens about others that they suspect of being mentally ill or otherwise dangerous to themselves or others.

The Palm Beach Post reported:

 “Bradshaw said his proposal is a first-of-its-kind in the nation, and he hopes it will become a model for the rest of the state like his gang prevention and pill-mill units. “Every single incident, whether it’s Newtown, that movie theater, or the guy who spouts off at work and then goes home and kills his wife and two kids — in every single case, there were people who said they knew ahead of time that there was a problem,” Bradshaw said. ‘If the neighbor of the mom in Newtown had called somebody, this might have saved 25 kids’ lives.’ Bradshaw is readying a hotline and is planning public service announcements to encourage local citizens to report their neighbors, friends or family members if they fear they could harm themselves or others. The goal won’t be to arrest troubled people but to get them help before there’s violence, Bradshaw said. As a side benefit, law enforcement will have needed information to keep a close eye on things.”

 It’s true that there usually are people who know the criminals and thought they were a “little off,” but then again anybody can be said to be a little weird. And not only that, hindsight is always 20/20. You won’t really think about a person’s odd personality until you find out that he committed some crime. And then you might think, “I always knew something was up with that guy. I should have said something.” No, you didn’t know that he was going to commit a crime. Anybody is capable of committing a crime. Even those with unsuspicious personalities. In fact, it’s usually those with the charming personalities that end up being mass murderers or terrorists.

So their goal is not so much to make arrests; it’s to “get people help.” What they mean is if their mental health professionals agree that a particular citizen is mentally ill, that person should be put in a mental hospital. And you can see why there has been such a push from the left and even from many naïve ones on the right to bar self-defense weapons from those deemed mentally ill. The more people they declare to be mentally ill, the more people they can legally bar from ever owning firearms.

Sheriff Bradshaw continued:  “We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him. What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’”

What constitutes “hating the government?” What if your neighbor gets into an argument with you about politics, and he finds out you think taxation is theft? Your neighbor might think that you’re so spiteful toward the government that you might plan something bad like a terrorist attack. Maybe your delusion has made you a dangerous person.

This 24-hour hotline is just for that kind of neighbor. And it’s “just in case.” As the sheriff said, what does it hurt to have someone come to your door to ask if everything’s OK? Well, I seriously doubt that’s all they would do. They’d want to come in and check the place out, interrogate the person. Even if they decide that the person probably isn’t any threat to anyone or himself, what’s to stop them from keeping these potentially mentally ill suspects under constant surveillance? Just in case.