The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) released a statement condemning the imprecise language recently used by public figures to discuss the connection between mental health and mass shootings. President Trump and Dana Loesch, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, used words including “sicko,” “nuts” and “crazy person” to describe the diagnoses of mass shooter Nikolas Cruz. The NAMI statement criticizes such comments as reinforcing “inaccurate and negative stereotypes” that “create barriers to having real conversations about how to improve the mental health services that lead to recovery and participation in American society by people experiencing mental health conditions.” CNN.com interviewed several mental health experts who also suggested that mental illness is not a reliable condition for predicting violent behavior. Click here to read NAMI’s statement and click here to read CNN’s article.
In Chicago, the four people charged with attacking a disabled man and broadcasting it on Facebook Live have pleaded not guilty in court. Read more
David Perry examines the defense an attorney used in the case of a disabled black man attacked in his high school locker room. Read more
WBUR’s Robin Young interviews Julie Hertzog, the director for the National Bullying Prevention Center on why disabled students are more likely to face bullying. Read more
The attack and kidnapping of a man with mental disabilities in Chicago—the act streamed over Facebook Live—has spurred a host of new media reports on violence and disability over the past week.
Here’s some of the reporting:
- CNN: Facebook video reminder of violence faced by disabled Americans “But while the nature of the remarks on the video have unsurprisingly sparked much discussion about race, Trump and the live streaming of crimes, something important risks being overlooked: the chilling, everyday, truth that to be disabled in America is to be at greater risk of violence.” Read more
- The New York Times: Beating of Disabled Teenager Highlights a Crime That Often Goes Unpunished
“Violence against people with disabilities is far more common than most people realize, advocates have said, and frequently goes undetected or is not taken seriously.” Read more
- AP: Hate-crime charges filed in attack on mentally disabled man
“Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said investigators initially concluded that the 18-year-old man was singled out because he has “special needs,” not because he was white. But authorities later said the charges resulted from both the suspects’ use of racial slurs and their references to the victim’s disability.” Read more
- Vanity Fair: Should the Media Have Promoted the Chicago Brutality Video?
“Now, with Facebook, the “well, it’s already out there on social media, we can’t ignore it” rationalization often takes hold. Thus, there were a great many folks who used portions of the video.” Read more
- Los Angeles Times: The reaction to a viral Facebook video of a hate crime tells us something about postelection America
“Police say they think the victim, whose parents had earlier reported him as missing, was attacked because of his disability, not because of his race.” Read more
- The Christian Science Monitor: Behind Facebook Live attack, unseen scourge of crime against disabled
“Among all the categories of disability, those with cognitive disabilities experience the highest rates of violent crime.” Read more
- Salon: Don’t let racists fool you: The Chicago kidnapping isn’t about Black Lives Matter. It’s about the violence faced by people with disabilities
“This incident is a reminder of the violence that people with disabilities experience in everyday life. The young student, whose name has not been published in the press to protect the privacy of his family, has an intellectual disability, which means that his brain processes information differently than the rest of ours.” Read more
NPR’s Marketplace explores “The Cost of Criminalizing Disability” and the rising concern over police action impacting those with disabilities. The cost to families trying to keep a loved one from being arrested and thrown into jail, the article reports, can be high–even unattainable for some. And the cost for incarceration may ultimately fall to taxpayers. Read more