Stanley Yaren responds to Justice Minister Andrew Swan

Re: Security must be tighter for Li, justice minister says (June 4). The provincial government’s reaction to the granting of a carefully considered slight increase in the liberty of Vincent Li as articulated by Justice Minister Andrew Swan is an example of the worst kind of political pandering and fear-mongering. It demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of mental illness.

Swan joins those members of the public who would return to the days when the mentally ill were cast out of society to be incarcerated in prisons and asylums, never to see the light of day. The fact is that recovery from mental illness is possible and fortunately so because 20 per cent of the population may at some point require hospitalization for a mental disorder.

While the pain, suffering and anger of all those affected by this tragic episode is understandable, it is the reaction by this government and not the Criminal Code Review Board decision that is inappropriate. The chair, John Stephaniuk, and the members take their job very seriously and are, in my experience, a diligent, knowledgeable and thoughtful group of men and women. Criticism of the board for acting responsibly is unwarranted and improper political interference in the judicial process.

The attitude towards mental illness by some members of the public and as reflected by Swan’s remarks is stigmatizing and hurtful to people and their families living with mental disorders. Stigma and fear create barriers to treatment. They prevent individuals such as Li from seeking early intervention for mental-health issues that may have prevented this tragedy from ever occurring.

By far, most people living with mental illness are not violent, and when they are, it is usually the result of inadequate or no treatment. Rather than investing money in a fence around Selkirk Mental Health Centre, the government would do much more to prevent the uncommon occurrence of violence by mentally ill individuals by joining the efforts of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in reducing stigma and by investing in improving access to mental health treatment.

STANLEY YAREN, MD, FRCPC

Canadian Psychiatric Association

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/pandering-destructive-and-ignorant-95678169.html

Who or what is to blame?

Posted on the blog “The Vanishing American

Oddly, there were two mass slayings in the news today, one of them at a school in Germany and another in Alabama, where 11 died.
I can only offer sympathies and prayers for the bereaved surviving family members and friends.

After such incidents, there is always the soul-searching in the media, with endless questions about ‘why’ the killer did what he did, as if any explanation really suffices. Inevitably, there are likely to be calls for stricter gun controls, although the German incident seems to undermine the liberal idea that strict gun laws prevent such occurrences. But nonetheless, there will be laments about the ease with which Americans can obtain guns, and there will be blanket condemnations of ‘society’ and its guilt in incidents like this. There is always disparaging talk about the South or heartland America in general, and its ‘gun culture’, as if that is the problem rather than simply human evil.

Why is it that so many people today have a problem identifying evil? If somebody kills most of their own family members, as the Alabama shooter did, is that act not evil? The German shooter apparently targeted mostly girls. Nowadays, what with feminism and with even many conservatives regarding women as more or less the same as men, it is not particularly seen as cowardly to target women or girls, though the code of chivalry would see it as such.

Most of all, though, incidents like these mass slayings always provoke more discussion of ‘mental illness’, as it is accepted by almost 100 percent of society that anyone who commits such crimes is automatically ‘sick’ or a victim of a mental disorder. Again, this obscures questions of good and evil, and individual responsibility.

That problem was also evident in the story I blogged on the other day, about the Chinese immigrant in Canada who savagely killed a Canadian bus passenger, in a particularly gruesome fashion.

On the discussion thread following that blog entry, reader and commenter Fed Up Canuck posted this link to the blog of Canadian radio commentator Charles Adler, who wrote about the court decision: Canada – Guilty of Gullibility in the First Degree.

Yes, it’s been a bit of a rough week. Not nearly as rough for me, as for the family of Tim McLean. But one of the reasons I sounded a bit rough yesterday, was because I was trying as hard as possible to be restrained, out of respect for the event that was fresh and raw. The event being a judge rendering a verdict of not guilty of criminal responsibility, in the case of the beheading of a young Canadian named Tim McLean. To me, it felt like he had just laid down a guilty verdict on all of us.

The Canadian people found guilty of allowing an elite group of experts, who do business in the legal system, telling us what is right and what is wrong.

The Canadian people found guilty for allowing themselves to believe that confining a mentally ill person for life is the equivalent of condemning all people suffering from any kind of mental illness.

The Canadian people found guilty for supporting a public school system where REASON is not taught and so vile arguments are presented in courts of law, and courts of public opinion go unchallenged by many members of the public who should know better, but have never been given the tools by an education system because it’s more about indoctrination than education.

The Canadian people have been found guilty for allowing their country to be stolen from them by the jackals of political correctness and moral equivalence and baffle gab.”

Adler’s commentary is sound, and it applies to America almost as much as Canada, and most of those who left comments agreed with him and shared his outrage. However there are a few typically obnoxious and piously self-righteous liberals who leave typically nasty comments.

Like this commenter:

Brilliant Charles. Do as the US does. Shoot the guy on site. Lovely. Vigilante justice. Won’t be accused of being ‘elite’ then! Why don’t you move to the states if you find their style of justice so soothing to your scared self. You can take comfort in the fact that they imprison more people than any other country in the world, yet still have the worst crime rates.” Continue reading Who or what is to blame?