President Trump’s administration is considering a proposal to study whether monitoring people with mental illnesses using technology like phones and smart watches could determine if someone is at risk to commit a violent crime and prevent future mass shootings, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The Hill reports:
Advisers to former NBC Chairman Bob Wright, a friend of the president, proposed the study to discover if technology like phones and smart watches could be utilized to determine if someone is at risk to commit a violent crime, according to the Post.
The reported proposal, coined SAFEHOME (Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping overcome Mental Extremes), is part of Wright’s project to develop an agency to look for creative ways to solve health problems. Wright has presented the proposed agency known as Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA) to the Trump administration, the Post reported. Ivanka Trump, the president’s senior adviser and daughter, reportedly asked if the team advocating for the agency could also look into methods to stop mass shootings.
The proposed study has sparked public concerns regarding the invasion of privacy of those with mental illness.
According to a copy of the proposal obtained by The Washington Post, all participants in the study would be volunteers, and steps would be taken to “protect each individual’s privacy.”
“To those who say this is a half-baked idea, I would say, ‘What’s your idea? What are you doing about this?’” Geoffrey Ling, the lead scientific adviser on the HARPA proposal, told the Post.
“The research already exists to tell us that mental illness does not predict gun violence. Growing gun violence is not the product of disability, rather it’s a product of political inaction and cowardice tied to an unwillingness to reform how America interacts with guns,” Rebecca Cokley, director of the Center for American Progress’s Disability Justice Initiative, said in a statement responding to the report.
“Increased monitoring, surveillance, and institutionalization of people with disabilities is not a research-based approach and has a real and negative impact on people’s lives,” Cokley added.
Trump has repeatedly expressed his belief that gun violence is connected to mental health problems in the country following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Odessa, Texas.
Trump has said his administration is looking into various ideas to combat mass shootings.