Dallas County ArkFordyce Arkansas

House District 96 Candidate Robin Roark Calls for Mental Health Support and Stronger Gun Safety Measures Following Fordyce Mass Shooting

Fordyce, AR – June 23, 2024 – Robin Roark, candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives in District 96, visited Fordyce today in the aftermath of the mass shooting that occurred yesterday. During his visit, Roark shared his reflections on the surreal transition from chaos to routine and underscored the urgent need for mental health support and practical gun safety measures in Arkansas.

“The transition from the chaos of yesterday in Fordyce to the routine of today feels surreal. Despite the closure of the Mad Butcher, the neighborhood seems deceptively normal, highlighting how desensitized we have become to mass shootings—almost as if it’s just another day. The difference, though, lingers in the air—an unsettling feeling that things are not quite right,” said Roark.

Roark, who drove past the devastation to check on his mother—who was present during the shooting—reflected on the personal impact of the tragedy. “As I stood in the Mad Butcher parking lot, I reflected on the countless times I’ve been there, how often my mom shops there each week, and how this tragedy could have struck any other day. I thought about the ordinary lives interrupted by a shooter’s rampage, the terror people must have felt, and the pain left in its wake. I prayed for peace, comfort, and grace for the entire town.”

“Thankfully, my mother is fine, though I’m not sure the reality of what she experienced has fully sunk in. I was on the phone with her when the shooting was happening.

The gunshots I heard over the phone and the helplessness I felt haunt me. I imagined what it would be like if it were my child calling me from school during such an event.”

Roark emphasized the broader implications of such tragedies and the need for change. “If the world could have heard and felt what I did in that moment, I believe mass shootings would end today. No one would ever want to experience that kind of fear and helplessness again.

Roark stressed the need to address mental health openly and comprehensively. “Improving mental health in Arkansas requires a multifaceted approach that includes expanding access to mental health services, increasing funding for mental health programs, and ensuring that these services are available in every community, especially in rural areas,” Roark stated. “One of the biggest steps we can take toward improving mental health is making it OK to talk about it openly in our everyday conversations.

We need to break the stigma surrounding mental health by fostering an environment of understanding and support.”

Reflecting on the necessity for practical gun safety measures, Roark stated, “Arkansas currently has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation, contributing to one of the highest rates of gun deaths.

We need to take a different approach because what we’re doing now isn’t effectively preventing these tragedies.”

Roark concluded with a call to action for the community and lawmakers. “We must work together to address these issues head-on, with compassion and determination, to build a brighter future for our state. By taking these actions, we can ensure that Arkansas becomes a safer place for all its residents.”

For more information, please contact Robin Roark’s campaign at robinforarkansas@gmail.com or visit www.robinforarkansas.com.

Brad Burleson, Communications Manager robinforarkansas@gmail.com
(501) 944-2530

About: Robin Roark is a pastor, former high school teacher, and candidate for the Arkansas State House of Representatives in District 96. He is a Fordyce native, now residing with his family in Smackover. Robin is committed to improving healthcare, education, infrastructure, government transparency, women’s health, and community safety in Arkansas.

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