“HATE IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS”
Washington, D.C., August 3, 2019 — Police have confirmed that a shooter killed 20 people and injured at least 26 more at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas, making it one of the largest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
In a press conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott repeated the inaccurate narrative that the epidemic of gun violence in the United States stems from a problem with mental health. Only 4% of all violent acts in the U.S. can be attributed to mental illness.
Brady President Kris Brown stated,
“Governor Abbott’s comments are dangerous and misleading, fed by long spread gun industry rhetoric that misrepresents the sources of gun violence. There is no evidence that this shooting stemmed from mental illness, but there is evidence that this shooter was a hate filled racist. Hate is not a mental illness. Hate is taught and fueled through rhetoric we witness far too often in this country, often from President Trump. The anti-immigrant and racist language spewed from Donald Trump and his allies has been heard around the world. There is no doubt that the President foments these hate-filled individuals and validates their ideologies. If you want to solve a problem, you have to solve it at its root. It’s time we remove this toxicity from the White House and focus on fixing the real problem in America—weak gun laws that allow this hate to become lethal.
Ted C. Bonar, PsyD, clinical psychologist and Brady partner, added,
“Responding to gun violence can no longer be met with empty rhetoric citing mental health problems. It deflects the focus from the violent act and easy access to powerful weapons and places the focus where it does not belong. How to care for people with mental health problems and increase the funding to do so is certainly an important discussion. But as a reflexive talking point in the immediate aftermath of mass violence, millions of Americans with a mental health diagnosis should not be asked to carry the blame, while each of us remain vulnerable to the inevitable next mass shooting. Powerful firearms are the most efficient tool to inflict the most damage in the least amount of time. Easy access to these weapons cannot be ignored as a primary and common component to the act of gun atrocities.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.