Mental health and deadly force

To the editor:

In your recent opinion article, “Unarmed response and unanswered questions” (Item, July 17), you raise questions about the approach of the All Lynn Emergency Response Team and its unarmed approach to intervention, most importantly “Will ALERT members be capable of safely responding to a situation involving several agitated and upset, or traumatized and impaired individuals?”

This remains to be seen, of course, but unstated is the bias toward the status quo embedded in the question. Can police do this? Time has shown again and again that they cannot, with mental-health interventions turning to deadly force. 

Whether or not this is exceptional is immaterial: Mental-health intervention should never lead to death. This is the core of the argument, and to see it glossed over does no justice to the issue.

Aria Stewart

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