What’s sad is that it’s not anything personal (though I do have quite a bit I haven’t been writing about on this blog … more on that soon) that’s compelled me to write a post tonight. What’s sad, instead, is that today there was another school shooting. Obama is as infuriated as he should be, but with his commentary after today’s terrible violence, he reinforced stereotypes about people living with mental illness.
“The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis,” he said. “And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyone else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses, and that’s sort of par for the course.”
Really? “Crazy people?” Is that what we are now? Forget about the millions of Americans living with mental illness. Forget about the millions more who have loved ones with a mental illness. Let’s just use the blanket term ‘crazy people’ when addressing the nation on gun violence?
My heart aches for everyone who has lost family/friends/loved ones in one of these shootings. And yet, I’m just as saddened by our president’s use of ‘crazy’ to connote mental illness in the context of gun violence. Because that’s exacerbating stigma that we need, as a country, to eradicate.
— Jeffrey A. Lieberman (@DrJlieberman) June 11, 2014