Tucson shooting aftermath 

Did Barack Obama get a bump in the polls from his fine speech Wednesday night? I expected that he would and my Examiner colleague Julie Mason so reports, the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls does show an upturn, dating from before the January 12 speech. But pollster Scott Rasmussen shows no significant bump in his nightly tracking. The explanation?

By the way, my American Enterprise Institute colleague Dr. Sally Satel, in an article in the New York Times, provides backing for my understanding, which I referenced in my Wednesday Examiner column, that the law in Arizona, more than the laws in most states, would have permitted an involuntary commitment of the Tucson shooter.

Of course, hindsight is perfect. And most people are rightly skittish about infringing on a person's civil liberties. But given Mr. Loughner's troubling track record-the number of times the campus police were called to intervene; the pressing concerns of his teacher and of the other students in the class; and the very fact that Pima would not re-admit him without psychiatric clearance--it seems that a court petition could well have been justified. (More information on what college confidentiality law permits is still needed for a complete post-mortem).

As I wrote in a Wednesday blogpost, I think we as a society need to do more to prevent such people from inflicting harm and helping them to the extent possible to live normal and productive lives.

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Michael Barone

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