As Democrats focus on mental illness as an angle that can be used to justify more gun control in the wake of the Umpqua Community College (UCC) attack, singer Demi Lovato is standing up to say the mentally ill are a greater danger to themselves than to others and ought not be used as an excuse to further a political agenda.
During an October 5 interview with MSNBC, the singer spoke about her own struggles with mental illness–being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2011–and her role now as spokesperson for an initiative called “Be Vocal, Speak Up For Mental Health.”
When asked about the shooting at UCC–and about how mental illness only seems to come up for discussion when being used to pass new laws–Lovato spoke against co-opting mental illness this way. She said, “Well, unfortunately, we’ve had several instances where mental health has been brought to the attention by the media because of these tragedies. [But] I think it’s really important, to remember that actually mental health — people with mental illness are actually more likely to inflict harm on themselves and become the victim rather than be the perpetrators.”
In October 2013 Breitbart News reported that Mayo Clinic psychiatrist J. Michael Bostwick, M.D. said some very similar things, pointing out that “the majority of mentally ill people aren’t dangerous” and that most people who commit mass shootings “are not mentally ill–or it is [only] recognized after the fact.” His contention was simple–if the governments sets out to began deciding who does or does not deserve Second Amendment rights based on who they do or don’t label as mentally ill, then a lot of people who would never be a harm to others will soon be stripped of their liberties.
In a pragmatic sense, Bostwick also warned that blaming the mentally ill for gun violence would prove a disappointment because “taking guns away from the mentally ill won’t eliminate” mass shootings.
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