Trump says US needs to 'build more mental institutions' to curb gun violence

Lowenna Waters
Friday 16 August 2019 09:45
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President Trump has claimed that the best way to deal with mass shootings in the United States is to focus on rates of mental illness and to build more institutions.

Speaking to a reporter outside of his re-election rally in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump suggested that recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas were due to people who were mentally ill, and said that he and his fellow Republicans had discussed America's recurring issues with gun violence.

Speaking to reporters, he said:

We’re looking at the whole gun situation. I do want people to remember the words ‘mental illness.

These people are mentally ill. And nobody talks about that.

He then added:

I think we have to start building institutions again.

He also stressed that in the Sixties and Seventies, mental institutions were closed, which resulted in people just being 'allowed to just go onto the streets':

..the people were just allowed to just go onto the streets ― that was a terrible thing for our country.

They closed them - cities couldn't afford them - I can tell you in New York they closed a lot of them. 

He then finished, saying:

We have to open up institutions ― we can’t let these people be on the streets.

Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organisation providing near-real-time data on US gun-related violence, said that at present, the total number of gun-related deaths in the United States in 2019 stood at 9,214.

Earlier this month, there were two mass shootings in the United States: in El Paso, Texas, where a shooter killed 22 people as well as in Dayton, Ohio, where a shooter killed nine people, reports the Huffington Post.

Before the El Paso shooting, the gunman posted a racist anti-immigrant manifesto. Research also suggests that most mass killers don't have severe mental health issues and that in fact, people with mental health issues are more likely to suffer from violence than to perpetrate it, reports the Huffington Post.

Mental institutions in Western countries were largely phased out in the late 20th-century, in favour of community-based care for those suffering from mental health issues. Many critics of the institution model have emphasised that they fostered prison-like conditions, as well as institutionalising patients for arbitrary reasons.

According to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 5 per cent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the US were perpetrated by people with a mental health disorder, reports the Huffington Post.

Another shooting in Philadelphia wounded six police officers on Wednesday, and in response, Trump said that the shooter was 'insane'. He added:

I support strong, meaningful background checks where people that should not have guns, people that are insane, people that are mentally ill, people that are bad, bad people, like this guy in Philadelphia who has been arrested numerous times — he’s a bad guy — where people like that would not have guns.

HT Huffington Post

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