newtown

healthyplace.com

Florida's system for the mentally ill is an underfunded shambles that leaves most people untreated and settles for locking up many of the rest.

Officials and experts told a House committee in Tallahassee on Thursday that system funding levels, in real terms, are below what they were in the 1980s and that the crisis is "deepening."

David Sillitoe/Guardian

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is seeking funding for teams of social workers and deputies who can respond 24/7 to anonymous citizen complaints of suspicious behavior by others.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw's second-in-command, Chief Deputy Michael Gauger, announced the program at a community forum on Wednesday. He said early vigilance and quick response might have prevented the school shootings in Newtown. The Palm Beach Post was there:

Arianna Prothero

On the one month anniversary of the Newtown, CT school shooting, mayors across South Florida and the country called for stricter gun regulations on Monday. Among them was Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

Ryan Murphy / University Press

Most of the victims of the Newtown school massacre were just like Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy's daughter: seven-year-old first graders at a public school.

"If a similar tragedy were visited upon me and my family, I would be beside myself," he says. "But I think one of my ways of healing would be attempting to find out what went wrong, where was the failure."

But trying to start a public discussion of the public's small hope of ever finding out what went wrong has been costly. 

AP

In the national media today, James Tracy is the nutty professor. The whacko professor. The one-man argument for abolishing tenure.

Florida House of Representatives website

Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has been all over the news this week. On Monday, responding to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, he said all remedies must be "on the table" legislatively, including allowing teachers and principals to arm themselves on school   grounds. 

On Tuesday, after his comments had been reported widely, Baxley issued a statement that this is a time to respect the victims. "Contrary to media reports, no specific proposals have been advanced or filed by me," he wrote.

ksbuehler

The coincidence of two recent events has brought the issue of gun ownership to the forefront in Florida: the state has issued its 1 millionth active concealed weapon permit, the highest of any state, and the shooting of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn. 

With 1 million active concealed weapons permits,that means about one in 14 eligible Floridians hold a permit, according to the Palm Beach Post.  We asked members of the Public Insight Network whether that news made them feel safer.  Osmany from Hialeah said

Office of State Senator Chris Smith

State Representative Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, says the Newtown shooting should prompt us to re-examine our gun policies - and consider allowing more guns at school.

The Florida Current reports that Baxley, sponsor of the Stand Your Ground law and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, contends:

Florida leaders are expressing themselves, although not always clearly, after the elementary school massacre in Newtown last week.

Some Florida Democrats, including Tampa U. S. Rep. Kathy Castor, are calling for new restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.

Congressman Rich Nugent, a  Republican and former sheriff from Brooksville, says more gun control would be far less useful than identifying and treating mental illness.