"The gunman was 18 years old and reportedly a high-school dropout. Reportedly, there has been no criminal history identified yet," Abbott said. "He may have had a juvenile record, but that is yet to be determined."
He added: "There is no known mental-health history of the gunman."
But minutes later, when asked a question about the role that Texas gun laws might have played in the gunman's ability to purchase the weapons he used in the massacre, Abbott pivoted the conversation away from guns and back to mental health.
The Republican governor began by emphasizing that the ability of an 18-year-old to purchase a long gun had been a Texas law for more than 60 years.
"Why is it for the majority of those 60 years, we did not have school shootings? And why is it that we do now?" Abbott said.
Despite acknowledging that he didn't have any easy answers, Abbott continued, offering an explanation.
"What I do know, in talking to the leaders here, as well as leaders around the state, one thing that has substantially changed is the status of mental health in our communities," he said. "We, as a state, we, as a society, need to do a better job with mental health."
He added: "Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental-health challenge, period."
Well, no. And no. And did I mention "no?" Fortunately for Texans, Greg Abbott, who presides over "the worst state in the U.S. for access to mental health care," doesn't believe what he said.
Neither does Sunny Hostin of The View, who on Thursday applauded the interruption of that news conference by the state's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Beto O'Rourke, by noting (at 3:09) in part
They're trying to blame it on mental illness. Let's remember that people that have mental illness are ten times more likely to be the victims of crime, not the perpetrators of crime. I am so sick of this freakin' narrative about mental illness....
The assailant was so mentally ill and so impulsive that he knew to wear a tactical vest, evidently in an (unsuccessful) effort to avoid being shot. The per capita firearm ownership in this nation is almost twice as high as in any other, No evidence suggests that mental health problems are far greater in the USA than in any other. But, it must be mental illness. Abandoning tact for truth, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy explained
Spare me the bullshit about mental illness. We don’t have any more mental illness than any other country in the world. You cannot explain this through a prism of mental illness, because we don’t — we’re not an outlier on mental illness. We’re an outlier when it comes to access to firearms and the ability of criminals and very sick people to get their hands on firearms. That’s what makes America different.