Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday suggested that the proper response to Monday's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard was to "increase the stigma" around "certain forms" of mental illness.
Police reports obtained from the Newport Police Department in Rhode Island indicated that gunman Aaron Alexis had told authorities that he was forced to switch hotels three times in August because voices were coming from the floor and people were using "'some sort of microwave machine' to send vibrations through the ceiling, penetrating his body so he cannot fall asleep."
Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, Carlson said that "unaddressed mental illness" was the factor that connected most of the mass shootings in the United States.
"This possibly is the legacy of the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill 40 years ago," he explained. "There's clearly something going on here."
"Sadly, there's a stigma attached to mental illness," Fox News radio host Alan Colmes pointed out. "The [Department of Veterans Affairs] was treating him for this, that was a report that came out in the last 12 hours. And why was this not in a database someplace?"
Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked Carlson why the media and politicians had wrongly fixated on an AR-15 that initial reports said Alexis had used in the killings.
"Well, your average reporter or Democratic senator wouldn't know the difference between a 12-guage and an RPG or a surface-to-air missile," Carlson insisted. "They just don't know anything about firearms, which is part of the problem. There's also this instinct to blame the weapon -- the tool -- rather than figure out why it was used in this horrific way."
"The reason the media reported it is because that's what authorities said he had," Colmes noted. "It wasn't because they made it up. The media wasn't inventing this out of whole cloth."
"They were looking for something to blame," Hemmer interrupted. "And that was the facts... But on Wednesday, three days later, we're learning all this stuff. A lot of people were aware that this man had problems."
"And it's apparently not enough to give people with severe mental illness and hope everything's fine," Carlson agreed. "Alan said, we need to decrease the stigma around mental illness. The opposite is true. Certain forms of mental illness -- I'm not talking depression or PTSD -- but paranoid schizophrenia, we need to increase the stigma. Which is to say, we need to make it really clear, this could become dangerous."
"I'm saying that people are afraid to talk about it," Colmes remarked. "People are afraid to get treatment sometimes. People are afraid to report it because there is an unfortunate stigma attached to mental illness."
(h/t: Media Matters)