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Parkland shooting puts renewed focus on dealing with mental health

Posted at 8:06 PM, Feb 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 21:06:51-05

Bombshell details surrounding the school shooting in Florida were revealed on Friday. The FBI admits it failed to act on a tip about Nikolas Cruz last month, claiming Cruz had access to guns and had a “desire to kill.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is now calling on the FBI director to resign because of this snafu.

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker is reacting to the school shooting and what needs to be done in Wisconsin to prevent school shootings like the one in Parkland. 

“Part of this is reexamining and making sure no matter what the issue is that we’re making sure, whether it’s what we saw the other day or it’s explosive, we want everyone to feel safe, but particularly our schools,” he said. 

One of Walker’s main points in response to the Parkland shooting is taking a look at the Wisconsin mental health system. He said school districts across the state have asked for more money to deal with mental health. 

It’s been widely reported that those closest to Cruz suspected he was mentally ill and showed signed of depression, but he was never diagnosed. 

“He’s just always been a really crazy kid, I heard some people say one day he would have done this,” one Parkland student said after the mass shooting. 

Since Cruz wasn’t a convicted felon, he was legally able to buy an AR-15 last year in Florida. Wisconsin law also would not have prevented a person with the same background to purchase that kind of gun. However, Walker argues there are other measures in place to deal with those who are mentally ill. 

“If someone had been committed through the mental health system, had an order against them, that would also block them from purchasing a firearm,” he said. 

That wasn’t the case for Cruz as he was never committed. 

“It’s very difficult because we want folks to have freedom in this country and definitely it’s something that we value,” said mental health expert Jerry Halverson at Roger’s Behavioral Health. 

Halverson said under Wisconsin law, it’s challenging to have adults involuntarily evaluated for mental illness unless they are a known danger to society. 

“A police officer can do this, if you’re in a hospital a psychiatrist can do this, there are county officials that can do this,” he said.  

Halverson said while a vast majority of those with a mental illness such as depression would never commit such a horrific crime, not getting help can lead to these catastrophic outcomes. 

“We have to start talking about it more and if people feel comfortable discussing these thoughts and feelings they might be more open to getting treatment,” said Halverson.