Crossbow killings victims were mother, 2 brothers of murder accused – Shared via the CBC News Android App
Bad start to the week in one of Toronto’s neighbourhoods: Mother, and brothers gunned down by one of their own. Brett Anthony Ryan now faces first degree murder charges for strangling his mother, Susan Ryan; and killing his brothers Alexander and Chris Ryan with a cross bow. A tragedy, and the tragedy is far from over.
I have a sneaky suspicion the Canadian media is going to wave the mentally ill card. In these cases, aka mass killings, that usually is where the media tries to lay the blame: It wasn’t the perpetrators that deliberately decided to kill those people, it was the mental illness that made him or her or they do it. Often this assumption comes before a psychiatrist or psychologist can even get a basic profile of the murderer, and then the media uses the research done for the case to back their preconceived ideas up.
In the last decade or so mass shootings in the USA often resulted in one or two mental illnesses being blamed, and in others they blame it on a developmental disorder like Asperger’s Syndrome. Then the people who agree or disagree with the assessment by news outlet get into a giant fight over whether mental illness equals violent behaviour every single time.
Misperceptions about the relationship between mental health, mental illnesses and violence contribute significantly to stigma, discrimination and social exclusion. Studies indicate that people living with mental health conditions are no more likely to engage in violent behaviour than the general population (From CMHA Violence and Mental Health September, 2011).
Know what this reminds me of? A blog article I read here. In it the blogger equates people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) with toxic people, and advised all those who encounter a person with BPD to run far away from them. Either way, it is equating mental illness with danger and alerting the public to the supposed “sleeper agents” among them.
Yet those articles don’t explain why someone would develop such illnesses. It didn’t talk about how people who develop illnesses like BPD often came as a result of the person being naturally emotionally sensitive and being brought up in an environment where those emotions weren’t validated; and they not talk about how BPD can also be developed as a result of a traumatic childhood.
Those articles don’t talk about the good things autism can give people: above average intelligence, able to notice small but crucial details, very focused, and different ways to see the world. They don’t talk about how people like Anthony, and I try to work to stand underneath our trials, and emerge as stronger people. Sometimes we succeed, and other times we fail. News Articles don’t mention that the mentally ill are most often the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. They don’t talk about how 1 in 6 children who have autism are bullied at school. They don’t mention that BPD patients are often in abusive relationships because they perceive the abuse to be their fault because their BPD did something to set the other person off.