160622 mental illness v terrorism

This is fascinating, from Liza van Zyl on Facebook:

Thomas Mair reportedly suffered from depression. If true, he murdered Jo Cox *in spite* of his condition not because of it. Depression has a devastating impact on motivation: truly depressed people tend to find it almost impossible to scrape together the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, brush their teeth, or take a shower. Anyone who has experienced real depression will understand how laughable is the suggestion that it was depression that motivated Mair to plan a murder, build a homemade gun, and repeatedly stab and shoot someone in cold blood.

Harold Shipman, the doctor who murdered hundreds of his patients, was extensively studied by psychiatrists after his conviction and found to have no diagnosable mental health condition. Human beings have never needed to be “mentally ill” to find the motivation to kill those they perceive as their enemies. There is ample evidence that Mair was motivated by far-right extremism, which is far more dangerous to society than the one in four of us who suffers from depression.

Those who ascribe Mair’s actions to his mental health are not only apologists for white terrorism, they reinforce the ignorance, stereotypes and prejudice against mental illness that do so much harm to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

I strongly recommend you read some of the comments, which provide links to further background information, such as the Evening Standard article stating that lone right-wing extremists ‘kill and harm more people than lone Islamist terrorists’.

And then there’s the Guardian piece stating that a focus on Islamic terror plots overlooks the threat from the far right.

This is background information, though, and we must not forget that the suspect is innocent unless and until he is convicted of a crime by a UK court.


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