SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Last weekend’s shooting rampage and killing spree in the town of Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara, which left seven people dead— including the shooter, has revived the local debate over Laura’s Law.
The mass killing that left more than a dozen people injured, occurred just days after four San Francisco Supervisors put Laura’s Law on the November ballot. The law, named after Laura Wilcox, a college student who was murdered by a schizophrenic man with a history of violence and refused treatment; would allow the courts to compel individuals like him into mental-health care.
Supervisor Mark Farrell is spearheading the campaign to implement the law in San Francisco and said the shootings near the UCSB campus show us why more needs to be done to help the mentally ill.
“[It’s] a simple failure across our entire mental-health service system about capturing people that are the most vulnerable that have the most potential for harm to themselves and to others in the community and being able to help treat them,” he said.
Michael Gause, deputy director of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, said mandatory treatment is actually not effective.
“It fosters distrust between a client and his or her therapist as well as being costly and it seriously abridges civil rights and due process,” said Gause.
Farrell isn’t saying that Laura’s Law would have stopped 22-year-old Elliot Rodger and saved his victims, but he is saying it’s one of many tools that can and should be used to treat the mentally ill and protect the public.