Public Comment

Trump Rejects Gun Control, Blames It on the Mentally Ill -- My Take on This

Jack Bragen
Thursday November 09, 2017 - 11:13:00 AM

Numerous friends and acquaintances whom I know are unhappy over President Trump's remarks about the Texas massacre being a mental health problem rather than a gun problem.

Only a small portion of gun violence in the U.S. can be attributed to a mental illness. Persons with mental illness, by and large, are good people with bad illnesses and are not out to do harm to anyone.

Trump is grasping at straws, and he is bullying mentally ill people, many of whom don't have a voice and cannot defend themselves against such trashing. Next, we're going to see Trump try to take away hard fought rights of psychiatric consumers.

If the shooter happened to be African American, or Jewish, or Latino, would it be fair to blame all African American people, all Jews, or all Spanish-speaking people? This is the same thing. Persons with psychiatric disabilities aren't officially recognized as a minority. However, the fact that many people in the general public vilify us, are afraid of us, hate us, and attribute all manner of evil to us, means that we should be recognized as a minority, similarly to LGBTQ people, and nonwhite people.  

Having a psychiatric problem doesn't automatically make you a "sick" person or a "depraved" person. It means you have a disease. Would you call someone depraved or sick for having colon cancer, diabetes, or heart disease?  

Psychiatric conditions are physical diseases, and there is no correlation between having a psychiatric condition and being a "bad person." We are probably the most misunderstood category of people, because these brain conditions, when not treated, can cause erratic behavior and speech, and this seems to upset people who lack knowledge of these conditions.  

Most people with mental illness want the same things for themselves as do most other people, such as a good career, a good relationship, a nice place to call home and a comfortable life. We should be allowed to pursue happiness as our Constitution promises, the same as anyone else. Yes, most people with mental illness are capable of happiness...and sadness, and pain, and joy, and all of those things that make us human.