Gun control, mental health need to be addressed

At 12:25 a.m. on Nov. 20, Myron May, a lawyer and alumnus of Florida State University, walked into the Strozier Library on FSU’s Tallahassee campus and opened fire, injuring two students and paralyzing one. Police officers from FSU and Tallahassee encountered May outside the library, where he was then shot and killed.

As time wore on, it became known that May was “struggling psychologically” and “in a state of panic.” Before he walked into Strozier Library, he had left a series of voicemails saying he was being attacked by an “energy weapon” and had a plan to expose it “once and for all.” Two months earlier, May went to the police and told them people were watching him through cameras planted in his apartment and talking to him through the walls. He thought the government was targeting him and believed in mind-control technology. He had voluntarily checked himself into a mental hospital, which evaluated him, prescribed medication, and sent him on his way. His friends described calling his therapist and the police, and consistently meeting dead ends. No one was able to help.

The day before the shooting took place, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) re-filed a bill that would allow arming “safety designees” in K-12 schools, which passed the House last spring before failing in the Senate. The shooting has led him to consider amending the bill to include higher education. Similar bills have been introduced across the country.

School safety and our treatment of mental health are important discussions. They’re things we should be talking about and taking seriously, because May was not the first and, unless we begin to care, he will not be the last. America has a gruesome history of the mentally unstable acquiring weapons and inflicting great pain. And, as of late, due to lobbyists, interest groups, politics and apathy, America has had a history of brushing aside any discussion concerning gun control. It’s either “too early” to talk about it, or it’s too late. Whether it be arming teachers or taking away all guns, it’s time America takes action. c