They called the cops not once, but twice, and the cops came not once, but twice. But they didn’t take Elwood away. Not their problem. They finally did place him in custody a third time — after he killed his parents, and stole their car, ramming it into a wall at about 100 miles per hour in a possible suicide attempt.
If you’re wondering what it takes to get arrested in Buckeye, Arizona, that’s one answer.
His father and stepmother were slashed to death with a knife, proving the effectiveness of gun bans on fighting crime… oh, wait.
But even though he was violent and hearing voices, the Buckeye Police Department did nothing, until he committed two homicides, proving the effectiveness of the police in preventing crime.
The Buckeye cops were in a tough position, on the horns of a dilemma, in fact. If they had lugged Moreno, the Atheist Criminal Lovers’ Union and other pro-criminal, anti-victim lobbies would have been all over them: they have intervened in thousands of cases to preserve the rights of violent, drug-abusing schizophrenics to kill their family members.
So they didn’t lug Moreno, and he killed his whole family, and they catch hell for it. But there’s no ACLU for crime victims.
And there’s no way to tell when someone who may be controllably crazy goes uncontrollable. Let’s give the cops the benefit of the doubt here: if they thought Elwood was on the brink of murder, they’d have lugged him, and damn the paperwork. But cops see a lot of crazy people, and most of them are not murderers. Likewise, the Newtown shooter was clearly crazy, but he didn’t seem that crazy to anyone, until he suddenly did, and it was too late.
The best policy for the public as a whole, for the body politic, might be this: to pour funds into basic research into mental illness. Basic research so that we can understand its causes and consequences, because we clearly don’t. In cold retrospect, the best policy for the Morenos would have been to have a revolver at hand.
Meanwhile, since we can’t cure the mentally ill, should we just euthanize them? We snarked on the Code of Hammurabi a while back, because of its lack of equality before the law. But our system doesn’t deliver equality before the law either — the classes that are exempt from law seem ever to grow, and our system turns Elwood Moreno loose to kill because his victims are nobody special, and would have sentenced Aaron Schwartz to 30 years because powerful men at MIT wanted him punished — and at least Hammurabi’s approach would give us a lower recidivism rate. In Babylon, they appear to have hung violent schizophrenics, which seems better for society and merciful for the incurable schizo as well.
But the current policy — Federal and Arizona gun bans for felons, and revolving doors in prisons — really protected Nancy and Ray Moreno from their crazy son, Elwood, didn’t they?