[Hpn] Letter to the Toronto Star
Tue, 06 Jun 2000 08:27:23 -0400
319 Dundas St. E. #408 Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2 CANADA
V: (416) 368-3366 F: (416) 368-5984
Tuesday, June 6, 2000
To whom it may concern,
In referring to the fact that Adrian Fillmore had been diagnosed
as 'schizophrenic', Cal Millar and Jennifer Quinn have resorted to raising
an ugly red herring which essentially implies that because he didn't seek
or receive 'treatment', this man was somehow to blame for his own violent
It has become fashionable of late to blame someone's psychiatric
diagnosis for whatever misfortune might happen to befall them, whether this
takes the form of overwhelming poverty, homelessness... or horrific acts of
unprovoked violence directed against such persons.
While psychiatric 'diagnoses' undoubtedly do play a role in these
situations, it is only in the sense that these arbitrary, misleading labels
fuel public intolerance and misconceptions. Out of the medias' repeatedly
playing on these unscientific criteria is born the kind of unreasoning
hatred and bigotry that sometimes gives rise to crimes of this sort.
As happened with the murder of Joey Pace in Oshawa in November
1999, or the horrific attack on Michael Wilson that left him critically
burned just prior to last Christmas, the media and 'family advocacy'
organizations such as the Schizophrenia Society will also undoubtedly be
exploiting this situation in order to call for greater coercive powers for
Unfortunately, this kind of backward logic will accomplish nothing
in terms of addressing the critical lack of affordable housing that lies at
the root of the current homelessness disaster, or the subsequent spate of
media and government-inspired public bias that has established the kind of
social climate where crimes of this sort are apt to occur. All it amounts
to in fact is a particularly insidious form of victim-blaming.
It is only when these pressing social issues are addressed - and
not through the further legal victimization of innocent persons in the name
of false medical compassion - that any further acts of violence against
such vulnerable individuals will be averted. Sadly, as long as governments
continue on their current destructive course, we can expect more such deaths.