In the wake of mass shootings, nearly all the Republican presidential candidates tend to avoid discussing gun control in general. In cases where debate is inevitable, they exasperatingly redirect the conversation to mental health.
That’s exactly what happened after the recent rampage at a community college in Oregon where a gunman killed nine people before committing suicide.
During his main Last Week Tonight segment, host John Oliver explained how GOP presidential hopefuls use mental illness “as a means of steering the conversation away from gun control.”
After playing clips of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee, Oliver said, “Perhaps the clearest sign of how little we want to talk about mental health is that one of the only times it’s brought up is, as we’ve seen yet again this week, in the aftermath of a mass shooting, as a means of steering the conversation away from gun control.”
While there is no definitive proof of the relation between mental illness and firearm deaths, one report from last year that concludes “most violent behavior is due to factors other than mental illness.” That's why Oliver stated, “The aftermath of a mass shooting might actually be the worst time to talk about mental health,” mainly because it creates a stigma against people with mental illnesses – a vast majority of who are nonviolent.
“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,” he added.
Watch John Oliver’s brilliant takedown of the issue in the video above.