Walker: Newtown shooting reflects 'breakdown' in mental health system

Jay Sorgi

Walker: Newtown shooting reflects 'breakdown' in mental health system

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Dec 17, 2012

MILWAUKEE - Questions of "why" have abounded since the tragic shootings of dozens, including 20 children, in Newtown, Conn.

The issues of treating the mentally ill have moved to the forefront, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker asked them on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" on Monday.

"How does someone like that slip through the cracks?  There's a real breakdown in terms of the mental health system in our country.  What can we do for that?" asked Walker.

"That's one of those larger issues: where do people get to the point where they break down like this?"

Wisconsin has faced the horror of two mass shootings in the past five months - one at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, the other at the Azana Spa and Salon in Brookfield.

"What we saw with the individual in the Sikh Temple was just a demented person," explained Walker.

In the wake of the Azana shootings, which stemmed from a domestic violence situation, Walker said, "We're going to do in our next budget is look at what more can be done to track individuals who have domestic violence issues, and restraining order issued, and what we can do to provide greater assistance."

When asked about the possibility of new gun legislation, Walker only uttered, "The President (on Sunday) kind of hinted at that."

Where was Walker when the shootings happened Friday?

"When we heard about this, we had an event where we were thanking all the utility workers who had gone out east to help out (with Hurricane Sandy relief)," said Walker. 

"We just began by pausing for a moment.  It takes your breath away."

Then, he called his counterpart in Connecticut.

"I called Gov. (Daniel) Malloy on Friday, because we've gone through this twice before (this year)." 

He talked of his own children, as so many of us have in these days since the massacre.

"I've got two sons.  One in college, one is a senior (in high school).  I think of my nieces, a kindergartner and a third grader." 

The Governor also saw the everyday examples of the "new normal" that some people are experiencing.

"Things will change as they often do," said Walker.

"At church, we went to our side door and it was locked.  It's right where the kids are.  There's a greeter who had to come and open up the door.  Even a day or two later, things are different, and they will be."