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My journey with AIDS…and more!: Meanderings of a mental health client in good company

Originally posted on My journey with AIDS…and more!: Would it be much of a surprise, even to the casual reader, that I am a mental health client? I have been since soon after my conclusive HIV diagnosis in 1990, although I wish now that I had sought such accompaniment long before then. It started…

. . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Meanderings of a mental health client in good company

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Legacy of Hope

In one of my last posts I looked at the tragic case of Sammy Yatim who was killed on a Toronto streetcar by police officer James Forcillo.Who shot the troubled teenager barely a minute after arriving on the scene, rather than take the time to negotiate… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Legacy of Hope

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Day of Justice

It's been three years and one day since 18-year-old Sammy Yatim was shot to death on a Toronto streetcar by police officer James Forcillo.But yesterday his killer was finally sentenced.A Toronto police officer who gunned down a troubled teen on an… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Day of Justice

Montreal Simon: Why the Liberal Government is Defending Bill C-14 So Strongly

Because I know a lot about death, and I've seen a lot of people die, some of my friends have been coming up to me and asking the same question:Why is Justin Trudeau's government clinging so stubbornly to its assisted dying bill C14?My blogging … . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Why the Liberal Government is Defending Bill C-14 So Strongly

Montreal Simon: The Police Murder of Sammy Yatim: The Shocking Verdict

It's one of the most bizarre verdicts I've ever seen. A Toronto police officer is found guilty of attempted murder for shooting a troubled teenager on a streetcar.But not guilty of murder.Even though he killed him.Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Police Murder of Sammy Yatim: The Shocking Verdict

The Disaffected Lib: The Danger of the Lone Wolf

Canada’s had its share of lone wolf terrorism.  In fact, most of the worst incidents have been the work of lone wolf terrorists.  They’re loners, often unhinged and looking for whatever “cause” they can latch onto.  Then they grab a gun or a car and make headlines for opportunistic politicians like our prime minister . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Danger of the Lone Wolf

drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

RCMP - Zehaf-Bibeau video

After we were told the video made by Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau would be made available to the public, the RCMP has changed its mind, or had it changed for them. RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics. He said there may be a release of “some aspects of a transcript of the video”… whatever that means.

Given the terrorist narrative favored by the government and also by the police, how can the public be sure that ‘aspects of the transcript’ aren’t cherry picked to reenforce the preferred narrative. Surely the honest and transparent thing to do would be to release the video for the public to make its own judgment or alternatively release the entire transcript, rather than “aspects” of it. If as some claim, there are concerns about the video being exploited in some way for jihadi propaganda, the odds of that happening would be diminished considerably if a transcript was involved – cop out though that would still be – because there is no compelling reason to sit on the video.

There are any number of jihad-inspired videos in circulation that glorify jihad and attack the West… lots of audio-visual incentive out there for anyone influenced by such material. The release of Zehaf-Bibeau’s video – assuming it contains any such content – would not likely make a substantial difference one way or another.

In giving reasons for withholding the video, Paulson also made vague allusions to “some sort of court process.” But given what we know this doesn’t add up. Zehaf-Bibeau is dead and there were no known accomplices.

The decision to withhold the video seems to be more about political calculations. Perhaps Harper is concerned that the video’s contents might in some way influence public opinion about Canada’s involvement in the US-led war in the Middle East… part of the government’s deeply misguided foreign policy agenda.

There has been some debate in parliament about whether or not the term “terrorism” should be used in describing Zehaf-Bibeau’s actions. But from the outset it was clear that the government was dead set on labeling it a “terrorist attack” despite information about Zehaf-Bibeau’s past that indicate mental and emotional problems were a likely trigger.

Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother, Susan Bibeau, who presumably knew her son better than most, denied that he was a terrorist acting “on behalf of some grand ideology or for a political motive.” She said he felt “cornered” and “acted  in despair.” She is also skeptical of the radicalization theory and said she believes “mental illness is at the center of this tragedy.”

According to a recent poll Susan Bibeau’s view is shared by a high percentage of Canadians … while 36% describe the shooting as a “terrorist attack” 38% believe mental illness played a part in it.

Although the Harper government has been careful not to appear to be chaffing at the bit to beef up enforcement powers in the wake of the attack… given the reactionary right-wing nature of this government you can be sure it wants to extract as much mileage as possible from the incident. The wheels are apparently in motion.  On Monday a Commons committee passed Bill C-44 that hands additional powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). According to Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, another bill is in the works that will boost law enforcement powers in the areas of surveillance, detention and arrest.

In the course of conjecturing out loud when and if the Zehaf-Bibeau video might see the light of day, RCMP chief Paulson wasn’t big on specifics…  “I don’t know when it’s going to be released. It will certainly be released some day, but I would be a fool to say when it will be released.”

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

After we were told the video made by Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau would be made available to the public, the RCMP has changed its mind, or had it changed for them. RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson wasn’t exactly clear on the specifics. He said there may be a release of “some aspects of a transcript . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: RCMP backtracking on release of video by Ottawa shooter Zehaf-Bibeau reeks of political influence

drive-by planet: Ottawa puppet masters

Montreal Simon: Robin Williams and the Demon Depression

He was such a funny man, he made so many people laugh. Which only made his sad death even more shocking. Robin Williams, the versatile actor whose madcap comic style made him one of television and film's biggest stars, was found dead on Monday from an apparent suicide at his home in Northern California. . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Robin Williams and the Demon Depression

Alberta Diary: The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

The National Firearms Association’s logo and slogan. What do you think their message is? Below: NFL President Sheldon Clare and the organization’s Executive VP, Shawn Bevins. All photos grabbed from the NFA’s public Facebook page.

Enough time has passed since the shocking murders of three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in Moncton, N.B., . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: The NFA is right about one thing: it’s time to talk about guns and mental health

Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Fatal Legacy of Stephen Harper

When I went by Dundas Square this evening after work, a march had already departed heading for the place where Sammy Yatim was killed. All that was left was a chalk memorial that the rain will soon wash away.But I will not easily forget what happened to that troubled teenager. Not only because it . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Sammy Yatim and the Fatal Legacy of Stephen Harper

knitnut.net: Seamy Underbelly, Part II

Visiting the Downtown Eastside (DTES) has churned up some contradictions for me, and resolving those contradictions requires re-thinking some questions I thought I already knew the answers to:

1) To what extent do people choose to live in the DTES, and to what extent are they stuck there?

2) Does the DTES community strengthen . . . → Read More: knitnut.net: Seamy Underbelly, Part II

Montreal Simon: The Mad Cruelty of Stephen Harper

It has been said of Stephen Harper, by those who know him well, that he is a man incapable of feeling the pain of others.A man with no capacity for empathy, a man devoid of human warmth. In short, a clinical psychopath.So you can imagine how I felt today when I saw him sitting . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Mad Cruelty of Stephen Harper

Montreal Simon: The Slow Death of Ashley Smith

It is without a doubt one of the worst things I have ever seen. The slow death of Ashley Smith.While her guards watched.Read that and weep.Or watch the video here.If you can bear it.Read more »

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Slow Death of Ashley Smith

OPSEU Diablogue: Guidelines for media reporting of suicide need reconsideration – Picard, Goldbloom

If the audience was expecting a debate, they may have left disappointed. Globe and Mail reporter Andre Picard and Dr. David Goldbloom, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, spoke about the media’s portrayal of mental health during a Longwood’s … Continue reading →

Montreal Simon: Ashley Smith and the Cruelty of the Cons

I think this image will haunt me forever.The image of a bound, hooded, 18-year-old Ashley Smith being duct taped into a seat on a plane.Like she was some kind of dangerous terrorist on her way to Guantanamo.When she was just a poor mentally ill teenager on her way to one of the nine Canadian . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Ashley Smith and the Cruelty of the Cons

The Disaffected Lib: A Nation Chock Full of Crazy People

Looking at the United States today or at least the Tea Party half of it is like sneaking into an old-time carnival Freak Show.   There is a big chunk of the American population seriously detached from reality and some of those actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination – you know who I’m talking . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: A Nation Chock Full of Crazy People

knitnut.net: The lowdown on substance use

Last night I attended a free session at our local mental health facility. It was called Getting the Low Down on Substance Use, and was presented by Michael Coughlin, a registered nurse with the Royal’s Substance Use and Concurrent Disorders program.

I was interested because I have a young friend who uses heroin. He . . . → Read More: knitnut.net: The lowdown on substance use

The Disaffected Lib: Think You’re Creative? No, You’re Just Sick

I’m not sure this will come as a surprise but there’s a link between creativity and mental illness.   It’s no coincidence that so many great comedians, for example, are or have been manic-depressives.

Now a study of more than a million subjects finds that creativity is often an actual part of mental illness.

Writers . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Think You’re Creative? No, You’re Just Sick

Montreal Simon: Beating the Doggie Called Depression

I went for a walk the other day through the leafy lanes of The Shire, with a friend of mine who has suffered from severe depression from about this time last year.It was such a beautiful fall day. He was so happy, at having made so much progress on the road to recovery.And I . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Beating the Doggie Called Depression

My journey with AIDS...and more!: There are at least a few, if not many, important people with whom I need to have my own conversation about…

…this! It’s certainly not too early to think about Mental Illness Awareness Week When I read the Ottawa Citizen article (linked above) I immediately thought, “Mom will have read that yesterday,” and what an opening it would give me to discuss my own mental health history with her. Not long after sobering up five+ years . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: There are at least a few, if not many, important people with whom I need to have my own conversation about…

knitnut.net: Ottawa Citizen outs mentally ill man

On Saturday the Ottawa Citizen ran a story called Pleas to help mentally ill son ignored, mother says. It was in Hugh Adami’s column, The Public Citizen.

Complete with names and a photograph, this article provides detailed personal information about a 22-year-old man who lives in Ottawa’s shelter system. The information was supplied by . . . → Read More: knitnut.net: Ottawa Citizen outs mentally ill man

Melissa Fong: Making James Holmes innocent: The lengths we go to to explain White killers

(Written Jun 23, 2012 and reposted on this blog). This graphic has been circulating around the internet about how James Holmes, the killer in the recent Aurora, Colorado shooting, benefits from his Whiteness. (Image credit: Kim Katrin Crosby) Left side of graphic: I massacred innocent men, women and children in a movie theatre. But the . . . → Read More: Melissa Fong: Making James Holmes innocent: The lengths we go to to explain White killers

Montreal Simon: The Police Execution of Paul Boyd

I think this is the most disturbing video I've ever seen.

Paul Boyd, a mentally ill man in Vancouver crawls towards police after being shot seven times.

And is finished off with a shot to the head.Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Police Execution of Paul Boyd