My thoughts about #OttawaShooting

First things first – I feel nothing but grief and sadness for the family of Nathan Cirillo. I am so very sorry for their loss.

And for the family of Patrice Vincent. I am so very sorry for their loss.

And yes, for the family of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, even. I am so very sorry for the horrific powerlessness and sorrow and guilt and loss that must accompany events of this past week.

I worried all day Wednesday for parents separated from their kids – I’m sure that they must have been frantic (and then some).

However…

it strikes me that

1. this was not a case of terrorism. This is a case in which a young man with serious issues asked for help, and our system(s) told him clearly that in order to get help, he would have to up the ante. So he did. Sure, it is possible that he did have some contact with ISIL – or someone else that was able to wind him up and use him to do harm – but HE ASKED FOR HELP and was rejected. More than once.

I used to work in mental health. I quit when I could no longer be part of a system that so seriously went against my own values and beliefs. See, I believe that people who have a mental illness are every bit as deserving of early intervention, treatment, & support as are those who have cancer.

I was a member of the Board of Directors of a Canadian Mental Health Association chapter – and shortly after Mr. Harris won the election in Ontario, there was a discussion about how the only funding available any more was for the “seriously mentally ill.”  No money in early intervention & support any more. That was my last meeting. I couldn’t do it.

If you don’t provide treatment early, some mentally ill people will get better all on their own. The rest won’t. If the only way to get help is to become seriously mentally ill, many will. They will lose their family supports, their livelihoods, their connections to the community – and in far too many cases, the support that can be offered by that point is pretty much useless.

It’s a hell of a lot easier to help someone get better when they are still connected – once they’ve lost everything, it’s too damn late.

It doesn’t seem all that difficult a concept to grasp to me. But hey, I’m a socialist. I believe that people are more important than money. Ridiculous, huh?

Anyway …. another part of the problem of forcing people to become seriously mentally ill and lose everything before you bother to offer any help or treatment is that sometimes, we mess up and people die.

Nathan Cirillo should not have died. Nor should Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

MY Canada – my leftist put people first Canada – in MY Canada, we would have jumped in to offer services and support waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when Michael first showed signs of problems. You know, while he still had his family support. While he could have benefitted.

And if that didn’t work, in MY Canada, when he begged to be locked up before he could do something bad? Maybe I would have locked him up – but knowing the serious lack of mental health supports in prisons, I probably would have tried my damnedest to find a space for him in a mental health facility instead.

In MY Canada, when people are in so much distress that they are begging for help, we would HELP THEM!!!!

Kicking them to the curb and hoping they don’t take others out with them when they go completely off the deep end is a bad plan.

It is a BAD PLAN.

This is not an isolated case.

Remember Zachary Antidormi? I do – it was days after his death that I quit.  He was stabbed to death while riding in a wagon pulled by an 11 yo girl – by a woman who had asked for help; whose family had begged for help for her; who was turned away. And I walked away from mental health, from social work…. I could not be part of any of it any more.  It broke my heart.

Remember Richard Kachkar? Killed a Toronto police officer with a snow plow? He asked for help too.  Kicked to the curb, and 35 year old Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell is lost forever.

There are way, way, WAY too many cases like this… where families have begged for help for their loved ones, where people have begged for help for themselves …. and been told no, sent home …and eventually, they’ve gone on to kill someone. Or themselves.

It is just not right.

It makes me SICK – physically ill – to hear the RCMP and the cons go on about the need for increased resources for security, for spying on Canadians, for ….

MENTAL HEALTH!!!!

Take your blessed resources and put them toward providing effective services so that people don’t wind up homeless, family-less, jobless, in prison…. wandering the streets with no hope, no support, no reason to go on…and totally vulnerable to those who would use them to strike terror.

Even if the new video the RCMP so conveniently claim to have discovered does show that he was radicalized by ISIL (which I doubt, as it’s just WAY TOO CONVENIENT), Zehaf-Bibeau, had he received help when he should have, or – here’s a thought – when he begged for it, likely would not have been so vulnerable to whatever sickos decided to use him to do their dirty work.  If he was radicalized, yeah well…. you reap what you sow, eh?

And while on the subject of terror, another thought.

2. Who was it, actually, that held the city of Ottawa in lockdown; parents separated from their children; fearing for their very lives? Zehaf-Bibeau was long dead – he died shortly after shooting Cirillo. He wasn’t causing …feeding … prolonging… the terror. That was the RCMP and other assorted police forces, with more than a little help from the media.

Ask me, the only possible reason for keeping everyone so tense for so long was either that there were more bad guys, or that somewhere along the way, it was decided that this whole freaking mess could be used for political gain.

Did it REALLY take 8 – 10 hours to figure out that there was only one now-dead “terrorist”? I don’t think so. I really don’t.

Either there were more and the story that there was only one is to cover the fact that they lost them, or there was only the one, and they prolonged the whole thing to cause terror because hey, Harper and his fellow cons like terror right now – it helps to justify the whole war game they are so determined we must play.

Surely they don’t expect us to believe that they were SO incompetent as to require 8 – 10 hours to sort that out? Terrorists, indeed.

3. And the MPs that are feeling traumatized and being offered support and counselling? No, no, no…sorry! But we have it on good authority that there’s an app for that.

If it’s good enough for our vets, it’s good enough for you.

I’m sorry, truly – in fact, as I’ve indicated above, I actually think that early intervention and ongoing support for mental health issues should be a priority – but  if we can’t be bothered to support our vets, who have been through a hell of a lot more trauma than being held hostage by our own police forces (bad guy was DEAD, remember?)

The only one I think should qualify for support & counselling after that whole mess is Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers, if he wants it…. the rest of you, download the app.

4. And on a closely related note, what is this shit with fundraising? The campaigns to raise funds for Cirillo’s son and so on? In MY Canada, there would be, should be, could be NO NEED for that. He died in uniform, in the service of Canada. Is it possible that our support for those who die in service of our country’s families could be so pitiful as to require a fund-raising drive?

Yeah – that too makes me sick.

This is not my Canada.

I am not proud.

I am – again – ashamed.

I love Canada. I want to be proud of it again. I want to be able to celebrate Canada Day again.

We need to do better. Ever so much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to My thoughts about #OttawaShooting

  1. Stephanie Barr says:

    I feel for you, sister. I wish I had an answer but you know it’s no better here.

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