A Santa Fe shooting victim’s mother confronted Donald Trump when he called the shooter “wacky”
It’s been nearly two weeks since 10 people were killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. In the aftermath of the senseless tragedy, the question of how to end gun violence in schools has been raised yet again.
On May 31st, Trump held a private meeting with the survivors of the shooting and the families of the victims to discuss the issue. And while some attendees felt the President exhibited compassion, not everyone agreed. Rhonda Hart, whose daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed in the massacre, told the AP.com that Trump repeatedly called the gunman and the trench coat he wore “wacky.”
Hart told People.com that she raised her hand and told the President, “Let’s just get to the mental health part.” She revealed that her daughter was on medication for anxiety, Asperger’s Syndrome, and ADHD before continuing.
"I said, ‘[The shooter] might have been depressed, but he wasn’t wacky. But if that kid needed help, he needed to have proper access to it. [...] Meaning you shouldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act and get them the help they need and take away the stigma of mental illness."
Hart told Newsweek that after she spoke up, Trump continued to push for giving teachers firearms. “It was like talking to a toddler,” she said.
Just to be clear: There’s little evidence that mental health problems make someone more likely to commit violent crimes. In fact, a 2014 study in Annals of Epidemiology found that just 4% of violent acts are caused by someone with mental illness.
There’s already a huge stigma surrounding those with mental health issues, and Trump calling the Santa Fe gunman “wacky” perpetuates those harmful notions. Weneed better mental health care in the U.S., and we also need to stop stigmatizing those struggling with mental health.
We applaud Hart for correcting the President, and we sincerely hope Trump learned something from the moment.