Reader Eric L. writes:
In 1966 the Director of the Bureau of Safety of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board, Bobbie R. Allen, referred to the vast amount of accumulated aviation safety incident information as “a sleeping giant”. He noted that fear of legal liability or disciplinary action prevented dissemination of information and therefore rendered it valueless to those who were tasked with improving the safety of the aviation system. Boiled down, it means that those who made mistakes (pilots, dispatchers, controllers, and mechanics) were not reporting those mistakes because of a fear of termination with their company or revocation of their operating license. Mr. Allen further said . . .
In the event that fear of exposure cannot be overcome by other means, it might be profitable if we explored a system of incident reporting which would assure a substantial flow of vital information to the computer for processing, and at the same time, would provide some method designed to effectively eliminate the personal aspect of the individual occurrences so that the information derived would be helpful to all and harmful to none.
In layman’s terms he advocated a way for personnel to report mistakes to an appropriate agency and, if the report met certain criteria, no action would be permitted to be taken by either the company they worked for or that agency that licensed them.
The Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) was introduced and has been an overwhelming success. NASA runs the program, as it has no enforcement power against the parties reporting and any identifying information is almost immediately removed as soon as the report is accepted. The only time the report is not accepted is if it involves criminal activity or wanton disregarding of the regulations.
I filled out an ASAP report this morning, and I soon found myself reading TTAG articles awash with mental health topics. I don’t have to wonder if we are failing to protect people who may want to seek help.
The President wants to not only take your guns if you seek help for a mental illness, but also enlarge the definition of mental illness to include more people…so he can confiscate more guns. California Assembly Bill 950 which legalized gun violence restraining orders creates a mechanism so people who are unconstitutionally stripped of their rights can keep their guns at an FFL while having their rights violated. As if I’d trust Jerry Brown to keep my guns safe from harm.
Bill 950 is like putting a BAND-AID on an amputation. I know fellow veterans who refuse to seek help either from the VA or other medical professionals because they fear violation of their rights as a consequence.
Sound familiar? Who would have thought that another government agency would provide the answer to the problem of mental illness and access to firearms?
What needs to happen is the establishment of an information gathering system similar to the ASAP system. Information reported from patients needs to be de-identified immediately and sent to an agency with no powers of prosecution for analysis. Patients are treated locally by the best means available without government intrusion. No patient will be prosecuted or have their rights violated by any government agency because those agencies will not have any information on the patient.
The key to a working system that can effectively help people who are struggling with mental health issues is a clear demonstration that they will be treated without government intrusion, violation of rights, or prosecution because of their desire to seek help. Only with a system with that as the cornerstone will we be able to gather enough information to identify, assist, and rehabilitate those who are struggling with mental illness.
How likely is the Obama administration to enact a system such as this? About as like as I am to see a picture of an Israeli supermodel on TTAG tomorrow. Unfortunately.