Another day, another fatal shooting incident in America, this time with a soldier suffering from anxiety and depression.
The local mayor was on BBC Radio Five Live expressing his understandable shock and distress at this terrible tragedy, adding that he did not know what you could do to avoid these things happening in future.
Well, I’ve got an idea, hardly a new one: sensible gun controls! But in the land of the free, it’s everyone’s inalienable right to possess something that can kill you.
President Obama’s sigh-ridden response said as much but he can’t just come out with it.
Also disturbing to me was the reference, without qualification, that the alleged killer was suffering from anxiety and depression.
The suggestion, quite plain to my sensitive ears, was that mental illness was the reason this man killed people before turning the gun on himself.
Lazy, lazy reporting.
I would say we have come a long way in this country in trying to unstigmatise (is there such a word?) mental illness.
A good number of famous people, like Alastair Campbell, Stephen Fry and Marcus Trescothick have stepped forward to reveal their personal lives. And the effect has been positive on all of us non celebrities who have ploughed on regardless in a world that doesn’t recognise mental illness and mostly doesn’t care.
I hope today’s latest horrific and tragic murder is reported more sensitively than the BBC have so far managed today.
To me, their reporting was put together by a thoughtless editor and producer who ran the item without thinking it through.
Whatever happened, I found it profoundly depressing (literally) to listen to.
Would this man have killed without his mental illness? Was it the illness that caused him to kill? Or was it the causes of his illness that caused him to kill?
It’s never as simple as it seems, unless you work for the BBC.