Reinventing mental health stigma,and knee jerk reactions.

black pistol with bullet shell in mid air
Photo by Ivandrei Pretorius on

In my last post I wrote about the anger that I have been struggling with, and in that vein I have been contemplating a news story that has my blood boiling.

Unless you live under a rock, pretty much everyone in Canada knows about the shooting in Ontario last week. While I do not know all the details, two aspects of this case I do know of have me furious.

The first is yet another act of terror perpetuated in our country that has been blamed on mental illness. I am not saying that mental illness couldn’t play a factor, because quite honestly, no one in their right mind goes on a killing spree. However there is a huge difference between someone using a firearm to commit suicide, or even commit a murder suicide of those they know, and taking an alleged illegally obtained fire arm, going onto the street and opening fire a various random victims.

In the first scenario, where someone kills someone they know, I don’t say it is right, but I have an easier time accepting someone snapping versus hitting the street to shoot whoever they can and inciting terror in the population. To me, that is the very definition of a terror attack, whether mental illness is involved or not.

Highlighting the mental illness component in this situation is a dis-service to those who deal with mental illness everyday. Statistical data shows that those with mental illness are less likely to commit a violent crime, not more. The media highlighting cases like this just further stigmatizes those dealing with enough crap, never mind causing their friends or family to un-rightly wonder when their loved one will “snap” because of their mental illness.

The second aspect of this case is aimed directly at the government, and the mileage they are getting off this case to further restrict firearms in this country, a country with some of the strictest firearms legislation already in place. According to a recent post by a national news network, our government is currently considering legislation that will ban all pistols in the country.

As I’ve spoken on before, I have a significant mental health history. If I were to attempt to get a firearm myself, I would already be in for one hell of a fight due to my history, so the proposed legislation really does not affect me directly, but it affects all Canadians rights.

Drugs of all types are already illegal in Canada, yet they are found in almost every community in the nation. And the offenders generally get no more than a slap on the wrist, thanks to our revolving door legal system. I fail to see how demonizing legal gun owners is going to help the issue instead of enforcing the already strict laws that are in place.


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