20 September 2013

Letter to the Editor: Mentally ill not more likely to kill


Police cars line the gate in the early morning as essential personnel only are allowed into a closed Washington Navy Yard in Washington, on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, the day after a gunman launched an attack inside the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, spraying gunfire on office workers in the cafeteria and in the hallways at the heavily secured military installation in the heart of the nation's capital. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Published: The Washington Times, Sept. 20, 2013

The national news media should report more facts whenever they cover stories having to do with mass shooters being mentally ill (“Aaron Alexis‘ history renews debate between mental issues, gun crimes,” Web, Sept. 18).

This includes, of course, this week’s Navy Yard shooting. If I were to rely solely on the coverage I have seen over the past few years, I would assume every mentally ill person is a ticking time bomb ready to go off at any moment. Actually, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 57.7 million Americans have suffered from a mental illness in the past 12 months. That is 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older. Furthermore, a person with a severe mental illness is four times more likely to be a victim of a crime than to commit a crime.

Come on, news media, quit adding to the stigma that makes mental illness scarier, and report all the facts.

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