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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.

Madman with a gun is a phrase I’ve heard chanted over and over and over—a never ending mantra of ignorance.

“Its’ madmen with guns,” they cry out. “We need to stop these madmen, these lunatics are the real problem,” they blame. Blaming, while ignoring the fact madmen exist everywhere, yet, only in this country are mass shootings such an epidemic.

Every time I hear those words pour out of their mouths like bile, it’s like a slap to the face, and all it does is fill me with anger. I’ve been unable, yet, to sit through an entire video on gun control because of this kind of talk.

You see, I am what you would call one of those madmen, those lunatics. I have bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, ADHD, and I’ve suffered a psychotic episode that lasted for over a year. And like some mass shooters, I’ve also been bullied—in my case, largely because of how strange I came across toward my peers due to being mentally unstable. Generally speaking, looking like you haven’t brushed your hair in weeks, constantly looking mopey, and having the occasional crying episode during classes, for what seems to them no reason, is going to raise a few eyebrows. Current me, fortunately, has their shit together and does not consistently look like a walking train-wreck, despite my ever-present mental illnesses.

But you know what? This madman, this lunatic, writing to you, dear reader, has never been violent toward anyone or ever wanted to be—with a gun or otherwise—and the idea that, because of these problems I have, I am inherently dangerous is, frankly, insulting.

In fact, research shows that it is more often that the mentally ill are the ones on the receiving end of violence and abuse than they are the perpetrators. Also, psychotic episodes are not inherently filled with symptoms of violence, with my own episode being a prime example.

For over a year, I thought parasites were living inside my body. This kind of psychotic episode is so common it has its own name: delusional parasitosis. And, yes, no violence occurred during this episode due to my psychosis because psychosis is, again, not inherently violent.

This is why I feel these discussions being had on gun control that focus on the perpetrators’ mental health have worrying implications. These politicians, NRA spokespeople, and, in all honesty, society in general, have such a bad grasp and understanding on the nature of mental illness. Having people uneducated in these matters drafting up new legislation related to gun control is worrying to someone like me. I can see this as the beginning of the privacy of people like myself being violated and as the potential beginning of something much, much worse.

So, let me tell you what this madman, this lunatic has to say: to the general public, stop pretending that this has little more to do with your obsession with your precious second amendment and guns. And to politicians against any real gun control measures, stop pretending that your motives don’t stem from the blood money the NRA is feeding you.

There is blood on your hands, all of you—stop deflecting blame and pretending it’s on mine.