FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2019
202-408-0061 x 1017
Americans Living with Mental Illness Are Not Monsters, Mr. President
Trump distracts from the issue of gun violence and his own racist rhetoric by stigmatizing an entire population.
Washington, DC (August 5, 2019) — “Mentally ill monsters.” That is the language the president chose to use. This was not an off-the-cuff remark — it was written on a teleprompter. Trump was reading from a script handed to him by advisors. He was reminded to be empathetic. And still, he chose to attack an entire community.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz issued the following statement:
“Just as Trump has characterized immigrants as ‘rapists’ and ‘animals,’ African-Americans as ‘dangerous,’ women as ‘dogs,’ he chose today to paint Americans living with mental illness as ‘monsters.’ By Trump’s calculation, about 20 percent of the country could be considered ‘monsters,’ given that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year.
“We know this old trope. It is a standard gun lobby tactic — blame mental illness, shift the blame away from guns. But the evidence doesn’t support this discriminatory talking point. Research shows that mental illness is not a significant risk factor for interpersonal violence. Only four percent of interpersonal violence can be attributed to mental illness alone, and those with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.
“We know Americans living with mental illness are not the problem. The gun lobby and Trump can point fingers and attempt to place blame, but that trope is tired. The American people are determined to stand up to the gun lobby and all politicians who refuse to address the real issue: the guns.”