To the Editor:
I would like to express appreciation for the “Preventing Tragedy: A Community United” presentation on Monday, April 15, at the New Hope Center. The Oak Ridge Police Department and Ridgeview are to be applauded for providing a public discussion about avoiding shooting tragedies. It is clear both the police and the mental health community, including the East Tennessee Mental Health Association, care deeply about the public’s being better informed with regard to mental health issues.
As Ben Harrington of the ETMA said, the public can use the Head in the Sand approach and hope that the problem will go away, or they can inform themselves and find ways to address it. It was pointed out that about 26 percent of persons will need some form of mental health treatment in any given year, so that it is not rare for people to need help.
Police Chief Jim Akagi described the sequence of events in Newton, Conn., and how the school “did everything right,” and yet the gunman was able to shoot his way into the building. He indicated that there is more needed in preventing a similar tragedy than more police officers. [Read more…]