Monday, October 05, 2015

Scott Cameron Pelley OWES US AN APOLOGY

I have enough diagnoses from DSM-5 that the letters that represent them could make up a good alphabet soup. However, not a single one of my diagnoses explain or is the causation of a particular action.  All of me goes into determining my behavior or reaction at any given moment in my life.  My genetic makeup, my social and psychological history, my spiritual life or lack of one, my mind and my brain and my body all influence who I am and how I behave.  All of my fellow humans are the same as me.  That is why I am always so astounded when some newscaster like Scott Cameron Pelley, anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, immediately says “mental illness” when speaking about the latest mass murder at a college.  He had no idea at the time he spoke the words what the causation of the shooter’s actions were.  No one ever will because the person took his own life when cornered by the police.  All the profiling and theorizing by newscasters and others does not produce anything but more stigma for those of us with a psychiatric diagnosis.  The fact is it does not produce truth.

First, they never even define what they mean when they use the term “mental illness.”  They use it then use the term disturbed.  What do they mean?  They mean the person has done something so abhorrent that there must be something wrong with them so they throw out words like mental illness and disturbed mind.  They never say the person had a shattered soul so they committed an evil act.

Second, there is an agenda by all sides that comes out every time one of these mass murders takes place.  The gun control people take to their bully pulpit.  The people who want no gun control laws take to their mental health bully pulpit wanting more of us locked up and forced treated.  The result is there is never a conversation or dialogue that has a chance of arriving at anything close to the truth.

Third, we have celebrity types like Patrick Kennedy going on shows like 60 Minutes trying to speak for all of us.  Years ago I was in a meeting in Philadelphia when a very nice lady who headed up services there reminded me I only spoke for myself and not for all people with a psychiatric diagnosis.  It embarrassed me at the time, but I have not forgotten it.  Mr. Kennedy needs to remember he speaks only from his own experiences which means he might want to look at some of the methods such as forced treatment he is supporting.

Reporting news is not making statements that no one could support with any shred of evidence.   Scott Cameron Pelley you owe us and our families an apology for making statements that are not only not supported by the research, but that no one can ever know since the man is dead.  You increased the stigma without any science to back your statements and you did it right before Mental Illness Awareness Week.  You along with your fellow reporters sure made the country aware. Is that good reporting Mr. Pelley?

© Ed Cooper, October 5, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
   All rights reserved

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