Just yesterday I wrote about violence and mental illness. Today news sources are reporting that the gunman from the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting was mentally ill (I’m going to get to the point and jump over a lot of the details. Go HERE if you want to read the article I am pulling my information from.) and that the FBI suspected he was mentally ill. We know this because when the gunman went to the FBI complaining that “the U.S. government [was] controlling his mind”, they called police and had him evaluated. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that “People suffering from mental illness, they’re not problem people…But if they are suffering from mental illness or are on a no-fly list, they flat-out shouldn’t be able to own a handgun or rifle.”
Seriously? Should we expect all doctors to report every patient who is mentally ill to the government and that the government would then seize all their guns? Should we expect that WE will be put on a “no fly” list?
(I encourage you to read yesterday’s post listing some of the more “common” mental illnesses.)
I was going to try to ease into this and make an argument for what I want to say, but I don’t have the time or the patience at this point to do that. So, let me be blunt…
Every person who suffers from mental illness (Eating Disorder) cannot be put on the “no fly” list. If we were, a huge number of Americans would be included. Also, it is a joke to say that anyone with a mental illness shouldn’t own a gun because that would mean that anyone who is depressed or has an eating disorder or ADHD or has anxiety shouldn’t own a gun. Currently there are over 15 million Americans who have sought out professional help for mental illness (ADHD). This number does NOT include the vast number of individuals who suffer from a mental illness (Alcohol/Substance Abuse) and do not seek professional help.
Over and over again mentally ill (Bipolar) are accused of doing evil things… all mentally ill people are labeled together as being problem people. If yesterday’s gunman is mentally ill, then he’s mentally ill. I don’t deny that he may be. Should he have automatically been put on a “no fly” list because he was evaluated for mental illness? Absolutely not, that would just be stupid.
I have to ask, who would be listing these people?
Division. Repression. Persecution.
Race. Social standing. Health.
Here we stand, the United States of America…
I am afraid that if we continue to vilify those with mental health problems we will be creating a modern day witch hunt that goes beyond reason. Doctors, neighbors and family members could be required to report those around them with a mental health issue.
Am I jumping to conclusions? Am I making leaps in logic that are unjustified? Maybe, but then, I’m afraid and fear is a logic killer.
I have Bipolar Disorder, I am afraid, and I fly on planes.
* This blog is not usually about politics. It is about living with mental illness. But, sometimes, you just have to say what’s on your mind.