Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Winter Wonderland Department: A Moose on the Roof, No Weapons Please

This photo was doing the rounds of my friends yesterday, with a tagline saying it was taken in Blainville, north of Montreal.  Seems that it probably isn't, but it's great fun anyway.

What wouldn't be fun would be to have a hunter take aim at the animals. 

You laugh?  Not really, given the gun culture in the US and in parts of Canada.  Maybe the slaughter on Friday will give rise to more restrictions on weapons South of the Border,  at least outlawing assault weapons.  But I've been appalled by 1) those who say, well, the principal should have had a gun and 2) let's blame it on mental illness.

The first statement is completely unacceptable.  The second has a little more validity: a number of massacres have been committed by mentally troubled individuals.  But, as Richard A. Freeman points out in The New York Times today, the vast majority of people with mental illness don't hurt anyone.  One large study "which followed nearly 18,000 subjects, found that the lifetime prevalence of violence among people with serious mental illness — like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — was 16 percent, compared with 7 percent among people without any mental disorder. Anxiety disorders, in contrast, do not seem to increase the risk at all."

He continues; "You can profile the perpetrators after the fact and you’ll get a description of troubled young men, which also matches the description of thousands of other troubled young men who would never do something like this."

More cooboration that the problem is complex, and a warning that those with mental troubles should not, once again, get the rap for a society that doesn't know how to behave.

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