Scope Creep

Highway Patrol can’t probe most deaths of mentally ill:

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt declared last week that the Highway Patrol would be told of every death and assault in a state mental health facility, but the patrol says it doesn’t have the manpower to investigate a majority of those cases.

“We don’t have those types of resources,” said Capt. Chris Ricks, the Missouri Highway Patrol’s spokesman.

One would assume that it’s because most of those deaths were not, you know, on highways.

Why is this a story?

The acknowledgment came a week after a Post-Dispatch investigation found failures in every level of a system that is supposed to ensure the Department of Mental Health and police adequately investigate allegations of mistreatment of mentally retarded and mentally ill residents.

Because the Post-Dispatch wants to keep up a crusade and maybe get a journalism prize or something.

And if it has to further empower state law enforcement, who cares? The story of overreaching government authority, that’s a story–and a new outrage for media to discover and cover–for another day.

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