Trump l'oeil, Virginia Tragedy Edition

"This isn't a gun problem; it's a mental problem."

So said Donald Trump, as reported on CNN this morning. Trump added, "You're not going to get rid of all the guns."

Trump made his comments in the wake of the most recent shooting in our country, the killing of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, two Roanoke, Va., television newscasters. They were shot dead allegedly by Vester Lee Flanagan II, who had also worked at WDBJ before he was fired.

Trump apparently thinks that, beyond being a real estate developer, Reality TV star and presidential candidate, he can masquerade as a mental-health expert.

This isn't the first time that Trump has weighed in on someone's mental health.

Last year, at the time of the Ebola scare around the world, Trump referred to President Obama as a "psycho" because Obama did not stop flights to the U.S. from some West African countries.

As I pointed out at the time, Trump's usage of the term, beyond being offensive, showed his complete lack of understanding of what "psycho" means.

Trump undoubtedly did not know that there is a huge difference between a "psychopath," someone who plans violent crimes for which he shows no remorse, and a "psychotic," someone who is simply divorced from reality, but almost never violent.

It seems that whenever a tragedy like the Roanoke one takes place, many of us resort to the most simplistic views, the basest arguments.

We are so devastated by these mass shootings that we lose our ability to reason, and we often blame a group of people who, studies show, are only responsible for three percent to four percent of violent crime in this country!

And yet Trump views this as a "mental problem!"

Since Trump does not believe that we can get rid of all the guns, then, if we use his simplistic logic, we are forced to conclude that he believes the solution is to get rid of all the people whom he deems so artfully to have a "mental problem."

Before Trump embarks on such a purge, let us consider the people to whom he is referring, the people with the "mental problem." He is referring not only to me, someone who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the late 1990s and who has never been violent in his life. He is referring to some of the most luminous and artistic minds in the country.

Robin Williams, a genius at improvisation and humor, was a beautiful soul who probably suffered from severe depression. We lost him to suicide a year ago, but perhaps Trump would have wanted to "get rid" of him.

What about Brian Wilson, the brilliant lyricist and front man for the Beach Boys, who has suffered reportedly from schizoaffective disorder and other psychotic diagnoses?

Are we supposed to get rid of Wilson, who is the subject of a recent film, Love & Mercy, in which he is depicted by both Paul Dano and John Cusack, an interesting conceit, given Wilson's mental illness?

If we get rid of people like Williams, Wilson and so many of the rest of us who have suffered from mental illness, then we are going to get rid of millions of innocent people who have never been violent and never would be.

What do I think of Vester Lee Flanagan, the suspected gunman, who killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward in the prime of their lives?

Flanagan was clearly a man with a rage problem.

Flanagan may have written a suicide note and may have been ordered into counseling, but he was at core someone who was prone to anger, to acts of violence. Not only did he have outbursts and engage in threatening behavior on his job at WDBJ, he was, according to reports, reprimanded by his superiors at the TV station for being a poor journalist.

Evidently, according to his manifesto released on social media, Flanagan felt that he had been mistreated at WDBJ because he was African-American and gay. He cited the Charleston, S.C., church massacre in June, where nine parishioners, all of whom were black, were murdered by a white supremacist, as a "tipping point" that pushed him to his acts of violence.

As a result, Flanagan planned, indeed premeditated, a "social media murder," replete with video, Twitter and Facebook postings.

Anyone who plans such acts of violence and carries them out is almost, by definition, a psychopath.

It bears repeating that a psychopath, as I have discussed numerous times in the past, is not someone who is mentally ill. A psychopath is an evil person who premeditates violent crimes for which he shows no remorse.

While I admit that there are times when people with mental illness commit violent crimes, most of those people do so because they misread a situation, not because they plan a "social media murder."

Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to the Charleston, Va., church massacre. Charleston is in South Carolina, not Virginia. I regret the error.