Kenneth Cole is not in any way, pro-gun. He’s as left leaning as it gets up to the point it affects his bank account. Is all for making money himself, of course. That said, in making a public statement in favor of gun control, he actually hit the nail on the head with respect to many of the high profile shootings that have occurred in this country. He paid for a billboard that reads: “Over 40M Americans suffer from mental illness. Some can access care…All can access guns.”
The American Psychiatric Association slammed him and demanded he take the sign down because, “It provides the gross misimpression that people with mental illness are violent,” and incorrectly links mental illness with gun violence and the need for gun control according to APA President, Dr. Renee Binder. Admittedly, the good doctor is absolutely right in her statement that the, “…vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent and most acts of violence are not committed by people with mental illness.” However, there is also fair and accurate to say that a great many of the highest profile incidents that grab so much of the nation’s attention do involve people with mental illnesses that had gone untreated or even undiagnosed prior to their acts of violence.
In all the calls for background checks, bans of modern firearms/magazines, and even the outright repeal of the 2nd Amendment, no one seems to want to address the mentally ill elephant in the room. The argument is that pointing out the mental illness of the perpetrators of so many of the most heinous acts of violence we see in this country would unfairly stigmatize all mental illness and cause people not to seek help when they need it. And so, the APA’s answer is to sweep any relationship between unlawful violence and mental illness under the rug. To ignore it and continue to simply point the finger at the tool (so long as it’s a gun) rather than directly address mental illness as a factor. There was a time when medical organizations concentrated on medicine. Those days appear to be over.