DeSantis: Maine Shooting ‘Failure’ of Mental Health System, Soft-on-Crime Policy
Governor Ron DeSantis says that the deadly Lewiston, Maine shooting this week is another example of the “failure” of America’s mental health system. The Governor weighed in on the shooting during a Friday Fox News interview and suggested that “soft on crime” policies may have played a role in allowing the tragedy to happen.
“I’d say this,” DeSantis told host Brian Kilmeade. “You look, a lot of the guys who commit violent crime, and yes, less than what we saw in Maine, a lot of these people go in and out of the justice system because of liberal, soft on crime policies. You do a crime, you should do the time.”
DeSantis’ comments follow reports that shooter Robert Card had exhibited warning signs before killing 18 people on Wednesday. According to the family, Card had previously reported hearing voices and had received inpatient psychiatric care over the summer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the military reserve commanders where Card worked as a petroleum supply specialist developed similar concerns over the summer after Card began making threats against his unit.
DeSantis has suggested that proactive, involuntary commitment could have prevented the deadly shooting this week and has argued against gun control measures.
“Stop cycling people back out; that will make communities safer, and Biden doesn’t wanna do that,” he told Kilmeade.
Casey and I were shocked to hear the news coming out of Lewiston, Maine. While the facts are still coming in, this could be another example of a failure of our nation's mental health system.
We are praying for those injured, the comfort of the families of the victims, and the…
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) October 26, 2023
During the interview, DeSantis referenced Florida’s response to the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. He argued that the way to respond was not to blame “millions of Americans” but to invest in school security and take stronger preventative measures.
“We had the Parkland shooting the year before I became Governor. So I became Governor, and I took the lessons from that and the recommendations. And we’ve created really strong school security,” DeSantis said.
“We have [school resource officers] in every school. We have different layouts to make it so that they’re hard targets and not soft targets. We’ve put over a billion dollars into that. I’m a parent of a six, five, and a three-year-old. Trust me, that school security is very, very important. But to go to millions of Americans and blame them for this stuff, that’s not the way to do it.”
Kaitlan Collins: "Do you believe that a red flag law like the one in your state would have prevented this?"
Ron DeSantis: "No." pic.twitter.com/QxHzlAXpBd
— The Maine Wire (@TheMaineWire) October 27, 2023
In a Thursday interview with CNN host Kaitlin Collins, DeSantis spoke at greater length about the warning signs shown by Card and asked why he was not committed to a hospital before he killed 18 people.
“I mean, I think he obviously was a well-trained individual. There were these flags when he was training, he did go to the hospital. I think the question is why wasn’t he committed? Beyond that. We’ll probably figure out going forward. But clearly this is a guy that’s very dangerous because he’s got the training and then he seems to have had a breakdown,”
DeSantis added that “an involuntary commitment though would have kept him off the street, and I think that would have probably done the trick.”
The Governor also differentiated his approach from his state’s controversial “red flag” laws, which were implemented before his administration.
“What red flag is, is people would go in and say you may be a danger so you could have someone lodge a complaint, different states do it differently, oftentimes with not adequate due process,”
On Friday, Maine officials reported that Card had been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, ending a multi-day, statewide manhunt.
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