John Oliver: Mental Health Debate Used to ‘Dodge Conversation’ on Gun Control



For his main Last Week Tonight segment Sunday night, John Oliver dove deep into the issue that has been top of mind for every major Republican presidential candidate in the wake of the latest mass shooting in Oregon: mental health.

“Perhaps the clearest sign of how little we want to talk about mental health is that one of the only times it’s brought up is, as we’ve seen yet again this week, in the aftermath of a mass shooting, as a means of steering the conversation away from gun control,” Oliver said. After playing clips of Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee blaming a broken mental health system, and not guns, for the constant gun massacres in this country, he added, “It seems there is nothing like a mass shooting to suddenly spark political interest in mental health.”

But, as Oliver proceeded to explain, the aftermath of a shooting may be the “worst time” to talk about this complex issue, because “the vast majority of mentally ill people are non-violent and the vast majority of gun violence is committed by non-mentally ill people.”

Watch video below, via HBO:


After spending most of his show breaking down the historical problems and potential solutions for a system that does not help the mentally ill nearly as well as it should, Oliver returned to the current political conversation.

“If we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control, then the very least we owe them is a fucking plan,” Oliver concluded.

Of all the many difficult issues Oliver has addressed with his show over the past year and a half, gun control has not been one of them. He did however deliver an impressive three-part series on gun violence back in 2013 before he left The Daily Show, traveling to Australia to demonstrate what that country has done to dramatically reduce gun deaths.

[Photo via screengrab]

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