The Big Lie, Mass Shootings and White Males

It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males

Blaming “mental illness” is a cop-out — and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism

“I get really really tired of hearing the phrase “mental illness” thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “misogyny” or “racism.”

We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all.

But it’s also bullshit when used to discredit the perpetrators of crimes. Mass murderers frequently aren’t particularly shy about the motives behind what they do — the nature of the crime they commit is attention-seeking, is an attempt to get news coverage for their cause, to use one local atrocity to create fear within an entire population. (According to the dictionary, by the way, this is called “terrorism,” but we only ever seem to use that word for the actions of a certain kind — by which I mean a certain color — of mass killer.)”

Read the full article at: Its Not About Mental Illness: The Big Lie that Always Follows Mass Shootings by White Males


19 thoughts on “The Big Lie, Mass Shootings and White Males

  1. it is my understanding that mentally ill peeps are usually the victims of crime, not the other way around. how else did many of us become mentally ill in the first place!?!
    This is how the perpetual myth of mentally ill folks, or anyone who is placed a box because of who they are, and not for the fruit they produce.
    thanks for this article.
    Keep up the Good Work!

  2. I know you didn’t write this, but I thought you might find some. . . I dunno, solace, perhaps the first lights of justice, something to inspire a little hope for changing attitudes if I told you this one is already being investigated as a hate crime/terrorism. I have not run across anything mentioning mental illness.

    And I’m commenting here because I respect you and the message you’re trying to share, but I am so not interested in drawing potential trolls in the comments of the original piece, and also not interested in engaging the author, about whom I know nothing other than on this occasion, he used very poor judgment.

    You and your judgment I know and trust, Kristen. 😉

      • Yes I know but ppl scream for reasons and the truth is sometimes blinded by the newest terms. If I went and killed my ex boss bc I am pissed I could say temporary insanity and a lawyer would get it to stick. However, if a good defense attorney read me talking about it they would disallow it. Mental illnesses are no joke and should not be used by the wrong people for their own gain. I agree with you.

  3. What a great article! I get so sick of hearing that rhetoric and scapegoating people rather than addressing the multitude of issues on our society that lead people to become violent. Mental illness would be the least of the threats. Thank you!

  4. ThiS and other so called media stories are damm insulting to real mental I’ll people and notched the stigma, and discrimination up 100 per cent , and can set off triggers like mad , take care be strong

  5. Wow Kristen you have taken on an interesting one here.
    I agree, as I think you know, that using mental illness as a way to throw ice on the fire of what seems essentially to be a hate crime is just nonsense and will never address the real issue, plus it will add more fuel on the fire of mental illness stigma.
    However I really think that sometimes those who know little of mental illness, their fault nobody else’s, live with the thought that to commit such an atrocity, even if it is a hate crime, a person cannot be mentally together. They just look at themselves and think that they couldn’t possibly do such a thing, therefore there must be a mental issue involved. I know people who would fall into that category. Doesn’t excuse them but…
    I wonder though what stand they would take if they were called to arms and sent off to drop bombs of cities full of civilians?? Collateral damage!!!
    Love your articles Kristen keep it up

    • Thank you! This is a tough issue and I do try and tread carefully because I understand that I come at this issue from a place of privilege as a white woman. I just try and show that I understand that racism is real, that we live in a society that tries to justify it and that is all extremely wrong. It’s not my voice that is important in this issue but I try and be an ally. I highly recommend reading more about it from authors of colour such as Jacquline who shared with me her blog post about it:

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