In conversation with reporters on Thursday, President Donald Trump suggested that the solution to mass shootings would be to go back to the days when we locked people up in insane asylums.
“We’re going to look at that very closely, looking at the whole gun situation,” said Trump. “I do want people to remember the words ‘mental illness.’ These people are mentally ill. Nothing talks about that. People have to start thinking about it.”
“You know, if you look at the ’60s and ’70s, so many institutions were closed,” continued Trump. “The people were just allowed to go onto the streets. That was a terrible thing for our country. Cities couldn’t afford them, and they closed them. I can tell you, in New York, they closed a lot of them. The people went out, went out onto the streets, and it’s a terrible thing. A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact we have to open up institutions. We can’t let these people be on the streets.”
While it is indeed a problem that we have inadequate facilities to care for the mentally ill, Trump omits the fact that those “institutions” were closed down in the mid 20th century because they were essentially torture centers. Additionally, most mentally ill people are not violent, and most mass shooters are not mentally ill, making Trump’s entire argument a red herring.