Is it me or does anyone else find it strange the NRA chief Wayne LaPierre repeatedly refers to violent people with mental illnesses as “lunatics” just three weeks after Congress overwhelmingly voted to ban the word “lunatic” from federal laws?

Who in his right mind would use the word “lunatic” during a national debate on reforming the mental health care system if he wants to be taken seriously  by the people with the power to change the mental health care system – ie, the lawmakers who just three weeks ago vowed not to use the word “lunatic?”

It’s kind of like using the N-word to describe African-Americans during a debate on Affirmative Action or Head Start Programs.

As someone with a couple of mental illnesses, I’m not feeling the love from the NRA when it suggests that the mental health care system in our country needs reform. I think my idea of reforming the mental health care system and NRA’s idea of reforms are probably a tad different. I realized this when LaPierre told David Gregory on Meet the Press this morning that “We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics.”

LaPierre continued:

“I talked to a police officer the other day. He said, “Wayne,” he said, “let me tell you this. Every police officer walking the street knows s lunatic that’s out there, some mentally disturbed person that ought to be in an institution, is out walking the street because they dealt with the institutional side. They didn’t want mentally ill in institutions. So they put them all back on the streets. And then nobody thought what happens when you put all these mentally ill people back on the streets, and what happens when they start taking their medicine.”

We have a completely cracked mentally ill system that’s got these monsters walking the streets. And we’ve got to deal with the underlying causes and connections if we’re ever going to get to the truth in this country and stop this–”

I agree wih LaPierre that our mental health care system is “completely cracked” but I think the NRA could make some serious headway in crafting meaningful regulations to control gun ownership by violent people with mental illnesses if they would stop referring to people with severe mental illnesses as “monsters” and “lunatics.”

It’s that whole stigma thing, Mr. LaPierre. We just don’t like being called names.




    Last reviewed: 23 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2012). Hey NRA! Stop calling us “monsters” and “lunatics”. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2015, from


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