This strikes me as really pushing for any excuse to attack Trump for any reason whatsoever. CNN has a whole story devoted to shaming Trump for calling the Parkland shooter a “sicko” on the grounds that it’s stigmatizing to people with mental health problems who aren’t all mass shooters of children. From CNN:
In a tweet Thursday, President Donald Trump described someone who would shoot up a school as a “savage sicko.” At CNN’s town hall on the Parkland, Florida, school shootings on Wednesday, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch described the gunman as “an insane monster” who is “nuts” and crazy.” And at a White House briefing Thursday, the President again used the term “sicko.”
The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, struggled with depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism, according to a 2016 Florida Department of Children and Families report. But having a mental health diagnosis does not mean he would become violent, many experts say. And although Trump has said he wants to focus on mental health to stop school shootings, calling Cruz a “sicko” doesn’t help, those experts claim…
“When it comes to mental health, language really matters. This is not about being politically correct. It’s about wanting to do everything we can to encourage people to get health treatment that works,” said Ron Honberg, senior policy adviser with the National Alliance on Mental Illness…
MentalHealth.gov, a federal website, cautions against using stigmatizing labels like “crazy.”
“How helpful is calling a black person the n-word? Not only is it disrespectful, it fans racism,” said Pat Corrigan, a distinguished professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology who manages the National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment. “Using such language when it comes to people with mental illness is the height of disrespect and the height of ignorance, as it reduces some hugely complex person down to a diagnosis.”
I’m perfectly willing to believe the experts who say people with mental health issues are not, by and large, more likely to be violent than anyone else. But I don’t think anyone thought Trump was referring to a large group of people. He wasn’t suggesting every person with depression is a killer. He was referring to one specific individual who just murdered a bunch of children. He called that person a “sicko” based on their actions, not based on a prior diagnosis he may have received. Are there really a lot of regular people out there thinking, ‘Hey, I’m a sicko, why are you comparing me to this guy?’
MentalHealth.gov does recommend, “Refusing to define [people] by their diagnosis or using labels such as ‘crazy.'” I could be wrong, but I don’t think this advice was intended to apply to mass shooters of children. I’m pretty sure we’re allowed a little leeway to criticize those individuals as sick without people getting the idea we’re attacking every person with a mental problem. I suspect even a lot of people with mental health issues feel Nikolas Cruz was sick, at least morally if not mentally.
As for the n-word comparison, again Trump was talking about the disturbed behavior of one specific mass murderer who just killed 17 people. And he was referring to his sick behavior not an immutable characteristic like his skin color. Do we really have to worry about showing “disrespect” for someone like Nikolas Cruz?