Sheriff Nichols says More Needs to be Done about Mental Health
After the mass shootings over the weekend in Ohio and Texas, people throughout the nation are asking what more can be done to keep guns from getting into the wrong hands, particularly those people with mental health issues. Rabun County Sheriff Chad Nichols says the problem really starts with mental health. “I think it applies to a lot of stuff besides the gun issues that we have in our country, like with these past two shootings, is the mental health. Mental health is a big area of need in our county and countrywide. I think the powers that be above me, at the federal and state level, especially with the federal level, once they can quit bickering and try to get along, they need to look at the mental health because unfortunately as long as there are guns people will find out a way to get guns either legally or illegally. But I think as far as really working on the mental health component and then trying to intertwine that better with them trying to go purchase a gun or something like that it would probably help tremendously. I just think with the mental health thing because I can see it here locally, not with gun issues but in other issues and I think once they can tackle the mental health and get those issues straightened out and then somehow maybe monitor that better when purchasing them if somebody has been committed to a mental health facility or something like that.” Seeing the outpouring of support in those communities was uplifting for Sheriff Nichols. “It’s disheartening to see stuff like that go on in the United States, but it is awesome to see these communities come together and it is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like that. These communities have come together and pulled together. I’m glad that we live where we do, but I’m not naive enough to think that it couldn’t happen here. With the gun control debate, I think it needs to start with the mental health crisis in our country. Once they can come up with a good plan to move forward with that I think it could improve the quality of life as a whole not just in the area of gun control and gun violence, but in many other aspects of day to day living.” Sheriff Nichols passed along his condolences to the victims in Ohio and Texas and asks the community to report any suspicious behavior to local law enforcement to avoid such tragedies in the future.