In Parkland, Florida, students and family members gathered for a candlelight vigil on Thursday night to mourn the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Early Thursday morning, President Trump tweeted, “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” Mental health advocates are warning President Trump’s comments perpetuate stigma against people with mental illness, who are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of violence. DN! speaks with Lindsay Nichols, the federal policy director for Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Vanderbilt University psychiatry professor Jonathan Metzl, lead author of a Vanderbilt study entitled “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms,” which found that fewer than 5 percent of fatal shootings in the United States are committed by people diagnosed with mental illness. Metzl also wrote a recent Politico piece titled “I’m a Psychiatrist. Making Gun Violence About Mental Health Is a Crazy Idea.”
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