I wish I felt surprised by the news that Maine law enforcement had explicit knowledge of an imminent threat to our community weeks before 18 people lost their lives in Lewiston.

While we do the slow work to address the many factors that can prevent future massacres (e.g., red flag laws, mental health reform), we also need to determine why the success rate of law enforcement in averting massacres is practically zero percent. After all, there are shamefully more than 560 American mass-killing case studies to look to. By that math, aren’t we experts at this?

The collective failure of law enforcement to intercept a known threat, to stop him in the act and to swiftly locate his body within a mile of his last known location has profound physical, emotional and economic costs. What leads to such ineffectiveness?

Do we tolerate this level of incompetence in any other area of society? Health care? Transportation? Construction? Of course not. Does holding those entities accountable for devastating failures mean we don’t respect their profession? Of course not.

Community members and taxpayers deserve to ask and find out why the people tasked with keeping our communities safe objectively fail to do so.

Joanna Sinclair

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