Furman professor weighs in on mental health, stopping mass shootings

Furman professor talks mental health and prevention of mass shootings (FOX Carolina: 2/15/18)

As the nation mourns yet another deadly mass shooting, Furman Professor Dr. Carmela Epright, who specializes in the evaluation of mentally ill criminals, believes people missed the warning signs.

"Mental illness is always blamed, which I've said in many occasions is mostly not true. I think it might be true here. Although what I would say is I bet he has Antisocial Personality Disorder which is not a valid defense in court," said Dr. Epright.

In this case, Dr. Epright said she believes someone should have taken the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz in for a mental health evaluation.

"His posts are terrifying. Everyone was afraid of him. He was kicked off campus, he wasn't allowed to carry a backpack and the question that I would have is why did nobody call the police? Why did nobody take him to the emergency room?" questioned Dr. Epright.

While she's a big advocate for funding mental health, in the wake of a mass shooting, Dr. Epright said it's not going to stop tragedies from happening.

"All of the funding in the world, will not stop mass shootings because the vast majority of them are not mentally ill. This is a different situation. It's not expensive to do an evaluation on others who are dangerous to other people. It's not going to stop it," said Dr. Epright.

Instead, she said parents and society as a whole need to be in on a bigger conversation and all working toward prevention.

"It needs to be multifocal. It needs to be all of us thinking carefully together about, particularly the ways that men are raised, the ways in which weapons are glamorized. The notions of power, having a gun means having power in our society. So we need to be thinking about all of these things and we certainly need to be looking for the red flags," said Dr. Epright.

Dr. Epright also stressed the importance of parents reminding their children, "If you see something, say something." She said now is the time for parents to be talking to their children about what happened in Florida and encourage them to speak up.

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