The recent election has caused some concern for me, but not just for the fact that government is now under one political party. Now this post is not going to be a rant on the recent president-elect. I feel everyone is entitled to their political beliefs. My concern is for an initiative that passed in my state that will take away my right, as person living with a mental illness, to own a gun. Now, I have no desire to own a gun, but it’s just one more right that is being taken from me. My problem with this initiative is that had it been written without specifically mentioning “people with mental illness”, I could have voted for it. The idea behind the initiative was to prevent people who are of harm to themselves or others from obtaining guns, but then they specifically mentioned people with mental illness. This is not only discriminatory, but extremely stigmatizing.
People with mental illness account for about 1% of the gun violence nationwide (US). This bill directly targets those of us living with mental illness. This may be a bit of paranoia speaking, but I feel it is opening the door for further legislation to take away more of our rights. First, it was HR 2646 that was trying to take away our HIPPA rights…now this. What’s next? In either of these two cases, had the language of the legislation mentioned people of a specific nationality, physical illness, or race, they would not have flown under the radar as they have. I feel as though we are second class citizens in our own country. I have a strong feeling this is not isolated to just our country. I could be wrong. I still have more research to do.
Now to my question: How does or has stigma affected you? I’ve tried to explain why the passage of this initiative made me so upset to others, including my own family. People just don’t understand. They care, but they can’t understand unless they are a target of stigma. So, how would you explain it so that someone could begin to understand it even a little bit? I would love to hear from you.
UPDATE: I just watched an interview onTF1 with someone that escaped the Batclan 1 year ago. He looked into the eyes of one of the terrorists. That horrible person spoke to this witness and laughed. It made me think back to this initiative. How will this initiative preventive religious and political fanatics from acquiring guns? It won’t. It targeted the mentally unstable, not the fanatical. Think about that.