The White House is considering a controversial proposal to study whether mass shootings could be prevented by monitoring mentally ill people for small changes that might foretell violence.
Former NBC Chairman Bob Wright, a longtime friend and associate of President Trump’s, has briefed top officials, including the president, the vice president and Ivanka Trump, on a proposal to create a new research agency called HARPA to come up with out-of-the-box ways to tackle health problems, much like DARPA does for the military, say several people who have briefed.
After the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ivanka Trump asked those advocating for the new agency whether it could produce new approaches to stopping mass shootings, said one person familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss them.
Advisers to Wright quickly pulled together a three-page proposal — called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes – which calls for exploring whether technology like phones and smart watches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.
Using his personal connections to Trump and others, Wright has pushed his HARPA proposal to the White House and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and several senators and Congress members, according to two people involved in the effort. Last month, on the presidential campaign trail, former vice president Joe Biden also advocated for creating such an agency.
The mass shooting idea has alarmed experts studying violence prevention, technology, psychology and mental health.
Well, the problem with mass shootings isn’t mental health, and pretty soon, Trump people (assuming they pursue this) is going to run into the problem of who is mentally healthy and who isn’t.