On his show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver had a very strong message for the Republican politicians who are, yet again, blaming mental illness for a mass shooting in the U.S. to steer the discussion away from gun control.
The comedian and TV host took aim at GOP candidates including Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee who have pointed to America’s lacklustre mental health care in the wake of the shooting which killed 10 people in Oregon.
In his latest impassioned, politically charged and frequently hilarious rant, Oliver addressed the often misunderstood topic of mental illness, particularly when it comes to how the media report on it.
If we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control then the very least we owe them is a f*cking plan.
The aftermath of a mass shooting might actually be the worst time to talk about mental health. Because for the record, the vast majority of mentally ill people are non-violent.
Oliver pointed out that an estimated 10 million people suffer from a serious mental illness every year – the equivalent to the entire population of Greece – while also noting that those with mental health issues are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.
Oh, and the vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally ill people, by the way.
He also addressed the hypocrisy of someone like Mike Huckabee lecturing people about mental health and gun violence, considering their awful track record on the issue.
It seems there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark a political interest in mental health. Although, it’s worth noting that Governor Huckabee’s state got a grade of D- on mental health care while he was in office. And you can’t lecture people on something you got a D- in. It’s like passionately delivering a speech on proper English grammar by saying, ‘We need to thunk better about how we does word stuff. We need to get it did!’
The 38-year-old Brit went on to say mental health care in the U.S. is “a mess, and always has been”, before reeling off numerous examples to back up his point, including the alarming statistic that jails are still the largest mental health providers in America.
Credit once again to Oliver for bringing attention to another important, and oft-misrepresented issue. Check out the full clip above. It really is worth your time.