Father of Parkland Victim Pushes for Focus on Mental Illness | #schoolshooting

WASHINGTON — As Congress attempts to find a consensus on gun-related legislation in the wake of several mass shootings, a father of a Parkland shooting victim is sounding off about what he believes is the root of the problem.

  • Andrew Pollack’s daughter was killed in Parkland school shooting
  • He doesn’t think stricter gun laws will be most effective for prevention
  • More DC Bureau stories

It’s been more than a year and a half since Andrew Pollack’s daughter, Meadow, was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

“My daughter was just sitting there waiting, praying for someone to come and help her,” Pollack said. “She called 911. Everybody did, and no one came to help her,” he added.

After several recent mass shootings, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing to restrict guns with legislation to increase background checks and ban high capacity magazines.

Pollack, however, doesn’t think that’s an appropriate solution.

“I looked into it — over a year of research,” he explained. “I can just say from what I found out — my daughter’s murderer said he wanted to kill, (was) never arrested. To stop a lot of it, we need to, when people are mentally ill, they need to be committed, to the full extent of it’s on their background, so then they won’t be able to purchase a rifle.”

The suspected Parkland shooter was legally able to purchase the firearms used to kill 17 people on that February 14, 2018, despite multiple red flags. Those failures are chronicled in Pollack’s new book, “Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created the Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students.”

“He was so dangerous. He wasn’t allowed in with a backpack, and they had to frisk him,” Pollack said. “But they didn’t tell the parents.

“Now, my message to parents is you don’t get that excuse anymore, that you didn’t know.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida), who was Florida’s governor at the time of the shooting, is still looking for answers from the FBI after it received tips about Nikolas Cruz, the accused gunman, before the shooting but never took action.

“The FBI in the case of Parkland or any of the other shootings in our state, where the FBI had prior knowledge (is) why can’t they tell us if anyone has been held accountable?” Scott said.

With every mass shooting, Pollack said he thinks of the victims, helpless, without any way to defend themselves. Understanding and tackling bureaucratic failures is something Pollack believes will ultimately lead to fewer mass shootings, instead of restricting access to guns. 

President Donald Trump has expressed interest in an app that would make background checks more accessible to gun sellers. Pollack also said it’s an idea he could support.

“People tell you that time heals. Not with this. I think of my daughter constantly. My life will never be the same,” Pollack said.

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