In the last half hour I have been reading what the POTUS has said about shootings and mental health, and I just want to cry. (Note: I won't generally comment about politics, but when they involve mental health, an area I feel passionately about, I may very rarely delve).
This man, his government (how did that EVEN HAPPEN?), and all policy makers are destroying more and more lives by gun crime every single day that no action is taken. Thankfully, my tears and my outrage are nowhere near the devastation that those directly affected by gun crime, injury and death will be crying and feeling. They have my most sincere condolences and I wish their lives had not been affected in this way.
The most recent school shooting is devastating and so very sad. Because it happened in a school and the shooter took lives of innocent children has made it world news and it is causing outrage everywhere it goes. Outrage it would seem, except in the eyes of the POTUS. He is taking this opportunity to alienate yet another population (is there really anyone in the world who has yet to be offended by him?) - those of us affected by mental illness.
A small smidgen of what he had to say:
"Years ago, we had mental hospitals, institutions...& a lot of them have closed.
Some people thought it was a stigma...today, if you catch somebody,
they don't know what to do with him. He hasn't committed
the crime, but he may very well & there's no mental institution."
Does this man ever engage his brain before he opens his mouth? Does he listen back to his press and slap his head wondering why on earth he said what he did? Or, and this is the bit that is really scary to me, does he actually believe what he says?
"....He hasn't committed the crime, but he may
very well & there's no mental institution."
According to the Gun Violence Archive, on February 22nd 2018 alone, nine people across the US were killed by guns. During the three day period 20 - 22 February 2018, there were a total of 262 incidents. 103 injured. A staggering 59 killed. Think about this:
Where is the outrage over these figures? Where are the people who caused these tragedies ending up? Would they all be cited by the POTUS as needing be locked into a mental institution? The word institution is just so insulting. I have spent time in a mental health hospital. Do we call the place for those with broken bones, requiring surgery, gallstones, cancer, other physical illnesses, "institutions"? No, it's a hospital. For those who are ill.
That to one side, his words are more distressing to me because he implies that people who haven't done anything wrong, committed any crime, should be "institutionalised", just in case they do. I would like to know POTUS, does this apply only to those with mental illness?
What about those beaten and abused by parents or carers who go on to commit similar crimes. Or those on drugs?
What about another, new category of people - those who are outraged by the insensitive and totally inconsiderate comments by (allegedly) one of the most powerful people in the world? I do believe that ignorant is a more accurate description. Surely we need to be worrying about this group of people too? If he's not, perhaps he needs to.
Every single person in the world has the capacity to commit a crime. It seems that in the US, the POTUS is happy to make the most violent weapons available to those who want to do this.
Without the mass shootings, those taking place in public places, the 'intentional' shootings, what about the accidental shootings? How many times do we see a child has shot and injured or killed a parent, sibling, neighbour, themself, with a 'legal' gun in the home?
If the 'man' himself doesn't recognise that something urgently needs to be done, then surely those surrounding him do. I don't use the word 'should' often, but in this situation, something really SHOULD be done, and done quickly! Not just to disarm Americans and put laws in place, but also to remove the world of the POTUS. There are many more people who have a head screwed on who could cause a hell of a lot less disgust than this man manages to do on a daily basis.
If there are 262 gun related incidents resulting in injury or death over a three day period, you don't need to be a mathematician to work out what this could mean over the course of a week. A month. A year.
For the majority of us with mental illness, we are not a risk to others, we are a risk to ourselves. The majority of us don't wish people dead or have the intention, and means, to follow through with this. We would like to live with less pain, and that generally doesn't include causing more pain for innocents. There is a more apt name for the people who chose to do that kind of thing - evil. Being evil is not a mental illness.
Using mental illness as an explanation is making it a scapegoat and increasing the stigma associated with mental ill-health. This, at a time, when the rest of the world is trying to destigmatize and create inclusion.
Please, POTUS, do us a favour, go and take yourself off to a nice wee quiet corner of the world, where there is no internet, and no way for your thoughts, your words, to pollute the world the way that you are currently doing.
**Yes, I know that there is no 'one size fits all' and, yes, it is in fact true that people with mental illness do commit gun, and other, crimes. But so do those without. We should not lose sight of this.
Oh, and I promise to never write about POTUS again!
Sending love and kindness to all, Becs xxxx