As our country holds candlelit vigils after another series of mass shootings, elected officials and the media line up again to blame the tragedy on the mental health of the shooter.
ADAPT strongly denounces this response and calls on President Trump and others to stop this deplorable practice immediately. Blaming mass shootings on mental health issues puts those living with mental health conditions at risk of harm and in danger of discrimination.
Studies show people with mental health disabilities are more likely to be victims of crimes, rather than the perpetrators. We suffer discrimination in healthcare and are less likely to be believed when reporting crimes and discrimination against ourselves and our community.
Blaming gun violence and mass shootings on mental health only serves to scapegoat those living with mental health conditions and disabilities. It has led to laws, policies and practices that discriminate against and institutionalize us, especially within prisons and serves only to expand the ableist violence so many in our community already face.
President Trump and others must address the real issue about these mass shootings – the overwhelming majority of these tragedies have been perpetrated by white men who have clearly expressed hatred of religions, races, immigrant status, and other social identities different than their own.
Racism, hatred and bigotry are wrong, but they are not mental health disabilities. They are not disabilities at all. Furthermore, calling them by these terms hides the true evils of systemic and structural racism.
ADAPT remains committed to supporting immigrant communities and other marginalized groups through our work. The mass shootings that have occurred are a symptom of a bigger problem, and psychiatric disabilities cannot be weaponized to justify the actions of a person.
Sensible, effective gun control laws that do not discriminate against or scapegoat those of us in the mental health, disability or other communities is what is needed to address gun violence and prevent mass shootings.
ADAPT calls on President Trump and all engaged in bringing an end to these shootings to immediately stop the practice of blaming gun violence and mass shootings on mental health, issue an apology to our community for their statements and work together to craft, enact and enforce gun control laws that do not discriminate against or scapegoat communities. We refuse to continue to be the stigma of the terrible actions of hate.
ADAPT Intersectional Justice Committee