[Hpn] Letter to the Toronto Star

Graeme Bacque gbacque@idirect.com
Tue, 06 Jun 2000 08:27:23 -0400

Graeme Bacque
319 Dundas St. E. #408  Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2  CANADA
V: (416) 368-3366  F: (416) 368-5984
E-mail: <gbacque@idirect.com>

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.

Sincerely yours,

Graeme Bacque
Toronto, Ontario