Friday, October 24, 2014

It isn't "terrorism", its mental illness 

What Canada should always remember about Wednesday was the courage of our politicians -- hearing a fusillade of gunfire right outside their meeting room, they armed themselves with flagpoles and prepared to defend Parliament and their colleagues against what they must have believed at the time to be an invading force.
But to me, it inflates the importance and significance of Wednesday's attack in Ottawa to continue to call it "terrorism" or even "micro-terrorism".
It actually appears to be an almost-random outburst by a mentally ill man.
While Michael Zehaf-Bibeau may well have thought of himself as an "ISIS terrorist", the attack he made was apparently not planned out in any particular fashion nor was it pointed towards any real goal -- according to the Globe and Mail, he first shot an unarmed soldier who was out in the open, standing still, then he ran crazily down the street, hijacked a car, drove to the Centre Block, and ran inside the Parliament Building. If he was thinking to shoot up the caucus meetings or kill politicians, he didn't even seem to know exactly where they were, apparently running right past the caucus meeting rooms before he was shot down.
Even if he was wearing a ghutra, this doesn't make it terrorism; its mental illness.
Rather than worrying too much about terrorism in Canada, we would do better to make sure a person this delusional doesn't have access to a rifle.
Oh, wait...
As Montreal Simon says about both this attack and the running down of two soldiers in Quebec:
For the day we allow some deranged gunman, or some ISIS wannabe from small town Quebec, or just two pathetic losers like these...To scare us, and change our Canadian way of life, is the day we lose our last shred of self respect.
It's the day the crazies WIN.

Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers | 7 comments


And the issue of mental illness concerning recent events in Ottawa doesn't stop there. It appears that now, the entire punditry corps of the national political press and most of the country's Members of Parliament (most notably the Prime Minister and two of the opposition leaders) are in need of immediate and extensive treatment for PTSD.

By Anonymous John B., at 5:15 pm  

Points well made, Cathie. We've transformed a very disturbed man into a master terrorist. Harper wasted not a minute working out how to exploit the public angst to ramp up the surveillance of "radicals" which just happens to be the same term he uses to describe First Nations and environmentalists opposed to his pipeline fetish.

By Blogger The Mound of Sound, at 7:43 pm  

.. there's little coherance or credibility to much of the mainstream coverage or followup. The factual failure, disjointed chronology, and plain invented scenarios or speculations are breathtaking..

Anyone watching TV, the web etc.. knows how long the gunfire lasted within Parliament. 15-20 seconds and it was all over. Hundreds of Mounties, security and Ottawa police running up and down hallways, peering at the rooftops etc long after a lone deranged gunman was dead.. seems ridiculous

How long it took to pry Harper out of a closet to 'whisk him away' is a mystery.. and the MP who blabbed that certainly earned a backbench.

The gunman had a 30-30 lever action.. hardly the archaic weapon some media are clamoring. A 7 shot internal mag that does not need 30 secs between shots to reload.. far from it. if I'm not mistaken, more deer are shot with this rifle than any other model

And the intrepid Vickers may have 'put down' the shooter as he was huddled behind a column, already hit by possibly a dozen shots. An autopsy should clarify all rounds & from which guns.. even in which order. If as some reposts claim, that Vickers reloaded in his office, then he emptied his sidearm at the gunman at least once.

By Blogger the salamander, at 8:52 pm  

So what's your diagnosis Dr. Cathie? I'm happy that someone as qualified as at diagnosing mental illness has been able to find something that several doctors in BC couldn't despite several psychiatric remands. Of course, it could be possible that these kinds of micro-attacks are exactly what ISIS asked for last week, right down to suggesting the use of cars. Maybe the type of person drawn to radical ideology, like our shooter most definitely was, just aren't that bright.

Finally, maybe blaming mental illness is a convenient way of avoiding the obvious fact that dumb little terrorist wannabes, inspired by nastier radical elements, exist in Canada and we should deal with it without using mental illness as a crutch and a shield. It does a real disservice to those who are truly suffering from mental illness and to those murdered by people who have a real, violent, if ineptly acted, agenda.

By Anonymous The Rat, at 9:01 pm  

I thought Jonathan Kay put it quite well : Get a grip - it was just suicide by cop in a famous building.

By Blogger Alison, at 2:21 am  

I see your point, Rat -- there is a line here between terrorism and mental illness that is not clearly defined. But I do think we should not inflate the importance of this man's actions by calling "terrorism" what is actually just, as Alison says, suicide by cop.

By Blogger Cathie from Canada, at 12:47 pm  

I have to agree, calling this and the previous incident a terrorist attack seems really over blown. Though both are dead now, so we may never know what was really going through there minds.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:21 pm  

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