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“Shameful Acts of Violence”: Two Policemen Shot Dead in Des Moines

2016-11-03

Two policemen in Des Moines, Iowa were shot dead before they could unholster their weapons by a severely disturbed man.  The shootings appear to have been prompted by the man’s eviction from his mother’s house, as described in the New York Times:

Just hours before the two officers were killed, a court had ordered the man, Scott M. Greene, 46, to move out of his mother’s house, after she accused him of emotional and physical abuse. A few weeks ago, the Urbandale police had escorted him out of a football game being played by his daughter’s high school, after he waved a Confederate flag in front of black students, leading to restrictions on his ability to set foot on school property.

The disturbed man surrendered to police shortly afterwards.

These shootings are examples of the theme that I have previously emphasized: disturbed people with access to guns are the most dangerous individuals.  The best approach to reducing gun violence, given the number of weapons in the possession of private individuals (approximately one firearm for every person in the United States) is to provide vastly increased mental health treatment and housing for disturbed people.

A second source of fatal shootings, inner city youths, must be approached in a different way.  The most effective means would likely be to provide jobs, job training, and social activities in a nonjudgemental fashion for poor youths, especially in the inner city.  The federal government needs to step in and provide resources.

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