I’m exhausted, simply exhausted with all the talk about mental health and mental illness after the latest school shooting. I had to say something. I posted this on Facebook yesterday:
I know they need something to blame. It is easy to make monsters out of the marginalized because Hollywood has been doing it without consequence for years. It is easier to point the finger at the most vulnerable than to accept the real issue.
Everyone would agree that a mass shooter is a monster but monster is not equal to mentally ill, and it’s time to stop trying to make people believe that it is, because that it is such an easy, quick, acceptable answer to so many.
Once again, the unspeakable has happened, this time, it was children, at school. It has been children at school before. It has also been a movie theater, concerts, nightclubs. Mass shootings, it is one of the most terrifying, heart-wrenching, dark sides of American culture.
All morning I have listened to politicians (including the President), sheriffs, governors, and governor-hopefuls, talk about mental illness. If only we could keep the mentally ill from getting guns. If only we could keep guns out of the wrong hands.
One in four Americans has a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. If we are going to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, then one out of four Americans would be unable to purchase a firearm. Keeping guns out of that many people’s hands doesn’t bother me in the least. That would be a good choice, but it still won’t end mass shootings, because mental illness isn’t what ties most of these shootings to one another.
What do most of the shooters have in common? They are men. They are white. They have a history of violence (not necessarily a mental illness). And some of the most recent have ties to white supremacy. How do we keep guns from their hands?
I would gladly give up my right to own a gun, that doesn’t bother me at all, but equating mental illness to monsters is a cliché that is going to end in more deaths because it’s the plot of a horror movie and not the cause of what is killing Americans.