The issue of homelessness combined with untreated or misinterpreted mental health issues is a volatile mix. Additionally, law enforcement and their equivalents – correction officers and so on – face a constant threat to personal safety that adds another dimension to the circumstances that lead to the use of deadly force in seemingly benign scenarios.
The shooting dead of this man on Skid Row in LA earlier this month – simply known as “Africa” to his friends and whose name remains unidentified or unreleased – by several clearly physically fit and armed law enforcement officers, and fully captured on video, is utterly unacceptable in circumstances where with a proper approach he could have been restrained effectively.
The constant debate on the issue and polarized public opinion struggle with what is the highly complex blend of ingredients that make up this problem. It is easy to judge but the contributing factors are so complex that these shootings will continue and provide material for commentators on all sides of the debate to push their agenda.
Meanwhile the homeless remain homeless and the mentally ill remain untreated and continue to suffer abuse on the streets where few have made the choice to live but nonetheless find themselves there.