The focus of late has been the horrific tragedy in Tucson Arizona. As you know by now, a 22 year old gunman by the name of JARED LEE LOUGHNER went on a shooting rampage at a public gathering for U.S.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford. Loughner managed to not only shoot Congresswoman Gifford in the head, but his deliberate act left 14 wounded and 6 dead including a Federal Judge. Another casualty was a 10 year girl who arrived in this world on the memorable day forever known as 9/11.
The despicable event has touched off a debate over whether mean spirited words emanating from Politicians, particularly the “Tea Party” movement, talk radio and/or cable news, played a part in LOUGHNER’s attack.
Gale King weighed in on the subject. King who is Oprah Winfrey’s BFF was hosting her radio show which can now be seen on The Oprah Winfrey Network (“OWN”) when she spoke on the power of words. The radio host cautioned her audience as to the power of their words, and the impact they can have on certain people.
In reflection we may not intend for our words to have a certain impact, but nevertheless they often do. This is true of all of us including Gale King.
During her show yesterday, Ms. King used the phrase Coo Coo for Coco Puffs. The phrase has a derogatory connotation in its description on people who suffer from mental illness.
In our status driven society where we strive for acceptance, mental illness is frowned upon and people suffering from mental illness are treated like they have a contagious terminal illness.
Although we are moving away from the past where we were embarrassed to admit to suffering from a mental illness or having family members who suffered from mental illness it is still a taboo subject. As a result, people who are in need of help will not seek it. Ms. King, being described as Coo Coo for Coco Puffs doesn’t encourage people to seek help either.
Hopefully the day will come where we will embrace the fact that mental illness is no different than a physical illness such as brain cancer or a stroke. All have an impact on the brain. The only difference is that with mental illness there is most likely a chemical imbalance. The same thing is true for diabetes which deals with the balancing of a chemical known as insulin.
It may not have been your intentions to be offensive to those who suffer from mental health issues, but perhaps now you can see the damage those words can do. At the same time they are avoiding being described as coo coo for coco puffs; they are missing out on the help which may allow them to live their best life. Further, those hurtful words coming from you, the BFF of media mogul Oprah Winfrey resonates with power twice as much.
This Blog is written with the best intentions. Unlike Sarah Palin, who fails to see the damage of her hateful words and therefore deny her responsibility, it is expected that you will own up to yours.
Now that you know better, you will do better. Let us all be mindful of our words so that we can all live our best lives.
You can listen to part of Gayle King’s discussion pertaining to this Blog above.
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