We had some time to meet with Gov. Rick Scott today, so we asked him about the event that seems to be on everyone's minds: the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that resulted in the deaths of 6 educators and 20 young students. We asked Scott, whose daughter is a teacher, if he thinks Florida should begin a conversation about strengthening gun laws or improving mental health treatment.
Here is the full transcript:
Times: We're going to segue to the Newtown shooting.
Scott: “Your heart goes out to all those families.”
You have a daughter who’s a teacher right?
We know these events are recent and there are a lot of unanswered questions. But, do you have any thoughts about whether Florida should be doing anything when it comes to gun control or addressing mental illness among adults?
"I called friends this weekend that live up there. And I talked to one this morning who lives about 15 miles away from Newtown. And she’s got young kids. So what you think about is, you think about when those things happen, you know how it -- you worry about your family. The friend I was taking to this morning used to work with me; we were talking about 9/11. Because I was in New York City that day and knew where I was that day.
It’s the same thing about -- you just worry so much about your loved ones and your family when anything like this happens. And you personalize it because like in her case she’s got kids that age. I think Grace is 6, 5 or 6. Grace is 5; her other daughter is 10 or 11. And you think about that, and I think about my daughter as a teacher that I don’t want this to happen. I always want to make sure she taught at a safe place.
And so what you think about is the impact on families. It’s no different than anything where you -- You know the things that had an impact on me: going to the funerals of the law enforcement officers. I’ve gone to all those. Or I tell people the hardest day I have in this job is clemency (hearings) because you have people from all walks of life come in, and as a Christian you are supposed to be forgiving. At the same time I’m responsible to take care of the 19 million people in the state, and I want to keep them safe.
So you put all these -- All of them it always comes down to how it impacts the family. Because these families’ lives will change forever.”
Any task Florida should start working on in this regard?
“I think the first thing you always do is you stop and say to yourself, 'Why do these things happen? What is the logical thing to do?' But I think right now the biggest thing is to be caring about all these families.”