Mike Rogers: The true root of the problem

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Mike Rogers OfficialAcross East Alabama, I know our hearts and prayers have been with all of those affected by the recent tragedy at Parkland High School.

Any time innocent lives are lost – especially the lives of young people – it shakes us to the core.

The Parkland tragedy was the culmination of terrible mistakes and missed opportunities by various authorities.

Law enforcement was called regarding the shooter dozens of times with little or no follow up. The FBI failed to pass on tips to be investigated. The shooter even posted images and statements on social media about wanting to be a school shooter.

It is crystal clear he was a very mentally disturbed individual that authorities completely missed despite repeated warnings and opportunities.

The debate we should be having now is how did local, state and federal authorities fail to follow through on all the warnings? How can we improve mental health care in our nation? How can we make our schools safer?

According to State of Florida, a person who is adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed by a judge may be prohibited from purchasing a gun. The Parkland shooter could have had either of these actions taken against him with the laws currently on the books by the state if the authorities had acted on the first warning signs.

The same was true with the killer in last year’s church massacre in Texas. He was convicted of domestic abuse and served time in a military jail. One cannot legally buy a gun with such convictions, but the Air Force never reported him to the national data base.

Instead of talking facts and looking for honest solutions, gun control advocates choose to attack the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. A psychotic criminal intent on committing mass murder does not care about the law and will find a weapon – be it a gun, a knife, or even a vehicle to plow over people.

We must find ways to identify and help those suffering from mental illnesses.

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Mike Rogers is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District. Sign-up for his e-Newsletter by visiting www.mikerogers.house.gov. To stay up to date, you can also like him on Facebook at Congressman Mike D. Rogers, follow him on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram at RepMikeRogersAL, on Tumblr at www.repmikerogersal.tumblr.com.

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