David Harbour Pens Powerful Thread About Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Illness

Stranger Things star David Harbour has fighting words for anyone attempting to conflate gun violence with mental illness.

In a Twitter thread, Harbour responds to the stigmatizing rhetoric about mental illness that seems to crop up after every mass shooting in recent American history.

“The ‘mentally ill’ (this arbitrary societally agreed upon cattle brand to differentiate ‘us’ from ‘them’ re: pain) are overwhelmingly SUBJECT to violence, not perpetrators. I am a card carrying  member and those I’ve met in asylums are some of the kindest, lost people I’ve known,” Harbour writes.

“I tire of this archaic branding of a subset of the species altogether (who does not suffer), but certainly in times of cultural strife to focus rage, hatred and deep uncertainty on a weak, already ashamed and outcast group seems, at best cowardly, and at worst calculated evil.”

In the aftermath of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings, President Trump and a swath of Republicans have turned to a reliable scapegoat in order to distract citizens from focusing on the issue of gun control: the mentally ill. In fact, it’s gotten so prevalent that whenever I hear the term “mental illness” after a mass shooting, I just read it as code for “blame anything but easy gun access.”

Harbour has been open about his mental health struggles in the past. In 2018, he appeared on Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF, and shared his experiences with substance abuse, sobriety, and bipolar disorder.

“I was sober for like a year and a half, and I was 25, and I actually did have a manic episode, and I was diagnosed as bipolar,” Harbour recounted.

“I really had, like, a bit of a break where I thought I was in connection to some sort of god that I wasn’t really in connection to…it was like I had all the answers, suddenly.”

Harbour was hospitalized for his disorder and explained how the experience opened up his eyes to the reality of mental illness:

“You have a romantic idea of it, like you’re a genius, and then it just winds up being sad and smells like sh—t.”

Social media users praised Harbour’s tweets and his continued openness with his mental health struggles.

Along with Harbour’s tweet, the hashtag #IAmNotDangerous has also been trending on Twitter, encouraging users to share their own mental health journeys and proclaim their humanity in the hostile climate of mental illness shaming.

Keep on, warriors!

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