In the wake of Thursday’s mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, many Republicans were quick to dismiss renewed calls for increased gun safety measures, in favor of discussing the need for a stronger mental health care system.
On Sunday, John Oliver agreed that mental health is a topic Americans need to properly address. But as he explained on the latest Last Week Tonight, broaching mental health issues in the aftermath of a mass shooting is more often than not a political strategy used to simply reroute the conversation away from gun control.
“It seems like there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest in mental health,” Oliver said, while featuring the talking points of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee—all of whom steered away from discussing increased gun control legislation after the shooting in Oregon, to tout the need for better mental health programs.
In reality, this is dangerously problematic because, as Oliver explains, “the vast majority of mentally ill people are nonviolent, and the vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally-ill people.”
But if Republicans are only willing to talk about treating mentally ill people following mass shootings, so be it: Then at the “very least we owe them a fucking plan,” Oliver said.