Here’s one reason the Jo Cox murder suspect is unlikely to have acted due to mental illness

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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16 thoughts on “Here’s one reason the Jo Cox murder suspect is unlikely to have acted due to mental illness

  1. lanzalaco

    yes, but medications frequently do.. the medication for these conditions can frequently cause mania, psychosis and blunted feelings as a side effect. Many people have gone on murder sprees after such treatments. There is also mention of epilepsy and medication. The treatments for epilepsy can have even greater side effects. Notice how many of these killers had combinations of medications. Of course its not an excuse but an indictment of our modern mental health services.

  2. joanna

    You have just described how I lack motivation, the few friends I have don’t understand my lack of motivation at all! I can’t take my medication because it makes me throw up, I have mentioned this to my doctor but he won’t listen! I am trying to get better but I just don’t seem to care anymore and it really feels like no one else cares either, but then why should they?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Mrs Mike gets like that sometimes. It’s extremely frustrating when she’s saying “Nobody cares” to someone who quite clearly does – but it’s a sign of the illness, and I understand that.
      So I dare say someone does care. It may be that your illness (whichever form it takes) is masking that from you.

      1. joanna

        Thank you for your reply! Mrs Mike is fortunate that she has you, I have never had any family who weren’t abusing me even they are dead now, not that I knew them much.
        My best friend is still reeling from losing a fantastic job after the DWP rang him during the interview, that is what lost him the job!
        I am really scared for him, because he told me that he is a thin thread from a breakdown! I don’t care about me, I just want everyone else to be ok!!

        I am planning on going to college in September, I just hope I can commit to it! I am feeling quite reticent about it, but I have to try.

      2. joanna

        I know where she is coming from Mike, when you feel like your world is caving in on you, it is very difficult to recognise the good in life. Some people won’t recognise it because for some reason known only to them, they feel like they don’t deserve love! Depression seems to be a self-centred condition, because there isn’t the room for anything else. I know that I find it hard to connect with other people because I automatically assume that they know nothing of what I am going through, how could they? Then there are those who have come through their own depression, and then assume that they know all there is to know about it, and they do, but they have only their own perspective. I have even been accused of wanting to stay depressed.

        I think the issue with Jo Cox’ murderer isn’t to do with depression, I am leaning towards the opinion of brainwashing and a distinct lack of empathy! Using depression is a very dangerous assumption, which will lead to much more stigmatisation, and will therefore deter people from seeking much needed help, not to mention the ripple effect leading to more hate crimes

    2. foggy

      Joanna, if the medication you are taking is for depression then can I suggest you go back to your GP surgery and see a different Dr ? I understand how hard it is to do this but if you can muster up the strength to do it try to write down how the medication is negatively affecting you physically, mentally and emotionally. Hand it to the Dr to read and add to your notes. The Dr won’t be able to ignore your words and will have to acknowledge what is written. Hopefully, the Dr will review your medication and try to find one that will suit you far better.

      Depression is a very lonely illness and it doesn’t choose it’s victims,, but there are people who care…………….I’m responding to your post – I care 🙂

      1. joanna

        Thank you Foggy! I wasn’t trying to elicit sympathy but I need to find a way of getting to where I want to be, I have an appointment with the nurse at my doctor’s so I ask her to pass along the note. Thank you for that advice, I wish I had thought of that a long time ago!

        There is never any excuse for murder but, he might have felt ignored by society, which seems to only want to help if a person is socially healthy and wealthy!

  3. foggy

    I respect that Mental Health affects sufferers of such in many different ways but it’s a well known fact that anyone with Depression has a tendency to have intrusive thoughts of suicide/ self harm due to the darkness and loneliness of the illness.

    I cannot recall 1 person who has died, through the political cuts/sanctions of the sick and disabled, who has been arrested for attempting to harm a politician. To connect Mental Health to this mans terrible act makes my skin crawl and I fear that Mental Health sufferers will now be demonised as ‘nut jobs’ and potential killers !!

  4. Tony Dean

    I still wish to know if the DWP/JobCentre Plus had any influence in triggering Thomas Mair.

  5. Keith

    Exactly. It is wrong to ascribe moral wickedness to being depressed or having related difficulties. It encourages discrimination against ill people and reinforces stigma.

    Being a Nazi is a political choice, an erroneous one, but a choice.

  6. Nick

    iv’e studied Criminology and Psychology and my findings are that those who do struggle with their mental state have had a difficult upbringing irrespective of their wealth or family status

    we see this today in the brexit camp with many taking on extreme viewpoints of hate for others with no compassion

    my belief is that many are born with a Chromosome at birth abnormality and as they grow up in a loveless family household they are likely at any point kill someone

    for serial killers the above applies but with other defining traits within their personality that evolve from a young age and it’s vital that one can read the signs otherwise you could yourself end up a victim

  7. vox777

    I find it troublesome that this discussion is taking place. Who are we to judge if someone else is mentally ill !. Someone clarify what defines mental illness. In some spheres political troublemakers have been classified mentally ill out of convenience. You, as are many professionals in the field are simply applying ‘your’ perception of sanity, so don’t go diagnosing those you don’t even know, with expertise you have even less off. I add, I have no sympathy for Thomas Mair or his intentions,

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nobody here was diagnosing him, so you’re proceeding from a false premise.

  8. Steve

    To shoot a small helpless woman several times and stab her many times isn”t the action of anbody with a normal mindset. The man who killed Jo Cox was obvioulsy as mad as a hatter. (Consider his behaviour in court for example.) Whether his actions can be directly attributed to a recognised mental illness or not is neither here nor there. The bloke was a deranged fruit loop. And that’s the truth.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Whose truth?
      He’ll be standing trial in November, as a man who was responsible for his actions at the time.

  9. mrmarcpc

    Speaking as a mental health sufferer, I resent that we are still stigmatised as crazy, dangerous and a threat to society, we are not, we cope the best way that we can, regardless of what we’re suffering from, we try to carry on and have normal lives, it isn’t always easy but we try and many of us are like everyone else,we’re just living our lives.

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