I’m really tired of politics and news equating mass shootings with mental illness. I see it as a cheap excuse and also a means of showing “sympathy” to mass shooters. It’s too bad that everyday Americans are not given this kind of… “sympathy”. When a person with mental illness discloses their condition, it’s dismissed as a weakness or laziness or condition (particularly with those who live with anxiety and depressive disorders) that “everyone” goes through or as a way of “getting attention”. But when it’s a mass shooter, they are automatically assumed their are “mentally ill.” Suddenly every news station in the nation starts debating about the seriousness of mental illness. Society has built such a stigma around mental illness and now all of a sudden society can “tell” when a person has mental illness??? Ha!
But you know who’s making the stigma worse? Trump and his posse in congress. This is what Trump said last week:
“We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people, not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement…mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
I can’t stand this guy. He’s ALWAYS picking on the voiceless or the people who are easily forgotten or shunned and then blaming them for something they have little to no contribute to. This means anyone with mental illness like you or I could be “confined” for being a “potential threat” to society. So don’t be surprised in a couple of years we (if we’re not careful to vote) may no better off than illegal immigrants being rounded out by ICE. You might say at least we’re legal, but Trump won’t see reason. As long as he’s proving to his base he’s “doing” something regardless of the harm he’s causing, he’ll do it.
It’s so sad that instead of having universal background checks for guns, he wants to pinpoint another particular group of people to dehumanize. Why not he and his posse just call a spade a spade and just call these shooters a group of wicked people? What’s hard and wrong to say about that? Yes, there are wicked people in the world, but no, not all of them have mental illness. I mean,hell I have mental illness…am I going to shoot up people??? No.
Besides why are there people treating universal background checks like some modern day boogie man? No their guns aren’t going to be taken away…unless those same people are planning to do some kind of heinous crime, then they should have nothing to hide…right? And do we have to always make shootings a race thing? Are politicians afraid that it’s going to cause an uprising against white people if they say the mass shooter is wicked? Are they feeling that by saying that, it would be saying they’re wicked too because they are also white? Do they think that we, the American people, really think that way?When a shooting happens you wonder where it’s coming from or are the victims safe or if the gunman was caught. Anyways, there’s no need in perpetuating such a lies like “mental illness and hate pull the trigger” because we all REALLY know hate pulls the gun NOT mental illness. We need universal background checks now.
A couple days ago, I was listening to “The View” on my podcast and Rep. Steve Scalise was interviewed after his long recovery—after the Congressional Baseball shooting back in 2017—for his book, “Back in the Game”. It was heartwarming to see the hosts of “The View” come together and celebrate his miraculous recovery. Until he made this statement:
There’s usually a common thread in a lot of these shooters that there are mental health issues. We just passed new laws, and they were very bipartisan so they didn’t get a lot attention, but laws that help close a lot of those loopholes and coordinate a lot of mental health problems in this country so that if somebody does have serious mental illness they’re going to be taken care of in a better way. (Brown, 2018)
Mental Illness: A Common Place Name for Lone Wolf Shooters
My smile went upside down. There’s something things wrong with what Scalise said:
“Common thread in these issues”? Yes the “common” thread is that most of these shooters who are “mentally ill” are white. According to an article by Ohio State News, 95% of white shooters were painted as mentally ill. This is in contrast to 53%, where Black shooters who were labeled as thugs.
There are (sadly) much research that prove this. One group of researchers looked at 433 news reports containing 219 shootings spanning from January 1, 2013 to December 31 2015, that identified as “mass shootings.” They found that 78% of those articles named the white shooters “mentally ill”, compared to 17% of Black shooters (Jacobs, 2018).
Secondly, the “common” thread apart from being white shooters is that shooters were “victims of society” or were “going through a lot” or “stressed out” or “suffered abuse as a child”. Ha! When has politicians or the news media used that same description to describe Black shooters? Cedric Anderson, a Black shooter who was responsible for a shooting at a San Bernardino school. He left a note regarding himself and his wife (one of the victims of the shooting) on how he needed closure, and feeling disrespected and dishonored (CBS News, 2017). He also was trying to “fix things” and move “forward with no regrets”. The victim’s mother mentioned after Anderson wedded her daughter he quickly showed a darker side and would threatened to throw her out the window (CBS News, 2017). Her daughter thought it was strange he was acting this way, since he was nice to her when she was dating. While he never made a specific threat to shoot her, she didn’t take his threats seriously, because he thought he was trying to get attention from her (CBS News, 2017). And nobody, not the police, the media, nor Trump ever said he had mental illness.
The Mental Health Laws That NEVER Was
“We just passed new laws, and they were very bipartisan so they didn’t get a lot of attention.” Rep Scalise didn’t even name one. All talk, all fluff. The only thing Trump and his team have ever looked into is the opioid crisis (as if opiods are the only thing that causes mental illness). Most of the bipartisan laws were in the Obama Administration (Mental Health America , n.d). For example:
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015
Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act
Prioritizing Veterans Access to Mental Health Care Act of 2015
Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act
“But laws help close a lot of those loopholes and coordinate a lot of mental health problems in this country.” Hahaha! What do laws have anything to do with why mental illnesses happen or don’t happen? Leave the diagnosing of mental illness to the mental health professionals. These are the main causes of mental illness (WebMD, 2018):
Biological (ex genetics. prenatal damage)
Psychological (ex. severe psychological trauma, neglect)
Environmental (dysfunctional family life, social or cultural expectation)
What I’d like the media, politicians and police to do is get their facts straight on mental illness (especially politicians and the news media), because they keep misconstruing the truth to suit their own needs…or ignorance. They should AT LEAST use a mental health organization for the their references. Like for example, the author, Megan Mermis of the online news article, Periscope, used NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to better explain how, as her title explains that “All That Gun Violence Is Not A Mental Health Issue“.
But we all know that politicians and the news media won’t refer to mental health organizations for facts, because they profit from fear, chaos, and ignorance.
Enough Is Enough: The Mediocre, Lazy, Nearsighted Views Politicians and The News Media Have on Mental Illness
But do these politicians, news media, and police work with or look into NAMI, Mental Health America or any other mental health organization source? No. They ignore it or they don’t even bother to look into the information, which I find very upsetting and appalling.
And I’m also tired of hearing how people mistake having gun control for having the 2nd amendment being challenged. We have regulations on food don’t we? Medicine? Apparently now mental health? And we can’t have any on guns? Really??? I mean for crying out loud…now EVERY sort of lettuce is being taking off grocery shelves (so no more sandwiches for me to take to work) . It’s B.S.. The 2nd amendment hasn’t been applied to people of color. Check this out:
Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.
John Crawford III
I myself am afraid of owning and/or carrying a gun because I’m afraid, I might be villanized by the public by the press on being a mentally ill Black woman owning a gun. It’s already hard enough being called the “Angry Black Woman”, EVEN if I DO have the right to be so. When will the 2nd amendment apply to the African American community? I mean the victims I mentioned were gun owners too who had the proper papers and identification…and they were still shot and killed. Never once had the NRA or Trump ever fought for these men who were unlawfully gunned down for holding to the steadfast right to the 2nd amendment. Oh and by the way…they were never mentioned for having mental illness or men of good character or coming from a difficult background.
Mental illness has to stop being used as a ruse to either understand a complicated situation or person or to give white mass shooters a lighter sentence or judgement. But most importantly it has to being used as a scapegoat from the elephant in the room: needing to have gun control.
Donald Trump is a sorry excuse of a President. If Michael Avenati gets arrested for domestic violence, how come Trump doesn’t get arrested for sexual assault??? I mean just like him, I mean we don’t “know” if Avenati committed the crime.🙄😒 The justice system is a joke. A man who ESPECIALLY makes light of rape jokes has NO right in the White House.