Trump Blames School Shooting on Mental Illness While Proposing Budget Cuts for Mental Health Programs

A protester holds a sign that reads, ‘NRA Stop Killing Our Kids’, outside the courtroom where Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was having a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Charles Trainor Jr. - Pool/Getty Images).
A protester holds a sign that reads, ‘NRA Stop Killing Our Kids’, outside the courtroom where Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was having a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (Photo by Charles Trainor Jr. - Pool/Getty Images).

As Republicans fail to offer more than thoughts and prayers to those affected by the most recent mass shooting, Donald Trump blames the massacre in Parkland, Florida not on guns, white supremacy, or a history of violence, but on mental illness:

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After essentially blaming the victimized community for the actions of a terrorist on Twitter, our magnanimous leader addressed the nation and said little about policy change aside from the need to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

Republicans have long blamed mental illness for mass shootings, generally when the shooter is a “lone wolf” white male (brown and black men, conversely, are mostly labeled terrorists). This argument is dangerous and false. The rate of mental health issues in wealthy nations across the world are similar, but mass shootings and the frequency with which they occur are a uniquely American phenomenon. The New York Times reported staggering statistics about gun violence last year, noting that “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns,” and that “from 1966 to 2012, 31 percent of the gunmen in mass shootings worldwide were American,” according to one study. According to a 2015 study in the American Journal of Medicine, 91 percent of fatal shootings of children 14 and younger in high income nations took place in America. Gun violence is directly correlated to the proliferation of guns in America, along with the lack of regulation around them.

Yet, if Republicans believe mental health is indeed the problem, this administration isn’t taking the solution very seriously. Last year, Trump signed an executive order that actually made it easier for people with severe mental health issues to buy guns, repealing Obama-era protections signed in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. NPR reports that while Trump’s 2019 budget proposal, released on Monday, adds $8.6 billion in funding for intervention programs with the Department of Veterans Affairs and increases the Children’s Mental Health Services program funds by $1 million, it slashes funding for several mental health programs. The plan cuts $665 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and a 30 percent cut to funding the National Institute of Mental Health. The budget also proposes slashing federal school safety programs by $25 million, Politico reports, including taking $1 million from the School Emergency Response to Violence program. So even though Trump believes mental health is the true culprit for the American epidemic of mass shootings, his own record says he doesn’t really care.

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

DISCUSSION

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philaDLJ

Donald Trump is a 71-year-old man with the emotional development of a 13-year-old.

That’s when his father sent him off to a military academy, because he was constantly getting into trouble, and liked to throw rocks at babies in playpens, he called it, “to make the baby cry”; he wrote in one of his books that he punched his second grade teacher; I don’t believe that story, but it’s indicative of his thinking...

Be glad you’re not Donald Trump. Donald is a man who has never known and never will know joy or contentment. He cannot laugh at himself; all the rest of us who are parents learn, you know, if you want to be any good at parenting, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself.

Donald takes enormous umbrage, and cannot laugh; have you ever seen him laugh in public? I’ve seen a few forced laughs, that are very minor...but this is a man who...he’s the Dark Side of Groundhog Day; he’s been living as a 13-year-old emotionally for his entire life.

We all went through a year of transition that was horrible; imagine spending your whole life in that, and that’s why it’s twisted him. It explains his attitudes about women; it explains his bullying and a lot of other things. He’s just...he’s not a grown-up, and when he doesn’t know things he makes things up, which gets him into other trouble. 

—Investigative journalist David Cay Johnston on Radio Times