As sadly expected, the baffling debate surrounding the nation's desperate need for gun law reform in the wake of another tragic mass shooting quickly turned from said reform to the issue of mental health. Of course, as John Oliver excellently highlighted on the latest Last Week Tonight, mental healthcare reform is most certainly its own pressing issue in America, though the intentions of the general GOP argument that mental illness is the root of most gun violence is quite simply false.
"The aftermath of a mass shooting might actually be the worst time to talk about mental health, because for the record, the vast majority of mentally ill people are nonviolent," Oliver said in response to Republicans' penchant for shifting the conversation from gun control to mental health. "The vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally ill people. In fact, mentally ill people are far more likely to be the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators, so the fact that we tend to only discuss mental health in a mass shooting context is deeply misleading."
After making the apt observation that discussing mental health solely in the context of mass shootings is akin to discussing Coca-Cola solely in the context of those 1980s Bill Cosby commercials, Oliver then took aim at the current state of mental healthcare in America. In addition to disgustingly misleading citizens by recklessly attaching the issue to the prevalence of mass shooting incidents, the current rhetoric surrounding mental health is largely indicative of the continuation of a decades-old stigmatization that should have long since been eradicated:
"As a society, we have to figure out how to fund [mental healthcare programs]," Oliver said. "Not just because it makes fiscal sense, but because it would save lives. If I remember rightly, there are some politicians who claim to be pretty motivated to address this problem. Because if we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control, then the very least we owe them is a fucking plan.”