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Media Labels Stigmatize Again

Media allusions to mental illness immediately follow another act of senseless violence. With little or no evidence, other than the presumption that one would “have to be crazy to do something like that,” media labels of a killer once again gratuitously add to the stigma of mental illness.

On one forum I see speculation about paranoid personality disorder, but then I read he had pictures of himself all over his residence. Surely someone will want to label him as narcissistic. Never mind the rest of the list of criteria.

What does all this get us? Will it help if we think we can identify and learn to fear everyone who has a personality disorder?

Perhaps journalists, by attributing violent acts to anger or evil they hope to avoid admitting helplessness, that we may not have the tools to solve the problem. They can pretend the threat comes from a small group and that they are not like us, and after all, we can identify, treat, even cure, mental disorders, but what can we do about evil and anger?


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8/8-10 APA