BY BARRY PLOUGHMAN
The recent mass violence in Canada’s largest city really hits home as I make my way through beautiful Prince Edward Island. The horrible killing of two people and injuring 12 others in the Danforth area of Toronto by a gunman again puts the spotlight on mental illness.
There are many times, I would surmise, that mental illness may very well be a cop out for what the real issue is. The availability of guns in Canada, and especially in the U.S., is at the root of this problem.
The justification for killing another human being is a moot point. There is no justification. There has to be accountability. Period.
It is incumbent on every individual, and appropriate caregivers, to take the required medication for illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.
Killing a human being is also many times just what it is – an intentional act of evil meant to justify the means to an end. And there is certainly no excuse for that. Mental illness seems to be a catch phrase to condone such ridiculous acts.
Is terrorism a mental illness or another mandate justified by ideology to take lives? The people who committed the atrocities of 9/11 and the many terrorist acts since - were they mentally ill or simply consumed by hatred?
Think about it. High-profile suicides such as Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade have highlighted the illness of depression. Is there any justification for taking your own life? There isn’t.
There are countless support systems and ways to reach out for help when you need it most. Life is precious and valuable and a gift we are given. It shouldn’t be squandered, no matter what.
As I travel across P.E.I. again this summer, I am reminded of the miracle and beauty of this life. Prince Edward Island always seems to keep me grounded and acutely aware of my good fortune. This place will always have a special place in my heart.
This really is the island of dreams.
- Barry Ploughman is a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador and a frequent visitor to Prince Edward Island.