Letter to Globe and Mail

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Tue, 28 Dec 1999 08:42:53 -0500

Graeme F. Bacque
319 Dundas St. E. #408 Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2 CANADA
V: (416) 368-3366 F: (416) 368-5984 Internet: <gbacque@idirect.com>
December 28, 1999

To whom it may concern:

       I've seen some seriously yellow and biased coverage of so-called 
'mental health' issues in my time but Sean Fine's graphic exercise in 
victim-blaming in the vicious unprovoked attack on Michael Wilson on 
December 22 has to be an all-time low.

      It is an obscenity to even imply (as Fine does here) that the 
victim's so-called 'mental illness' should provide any kind of mitigating 
circumstances for the animals who committed this heinous assault or that 
the victim might have been spared if our mental health system had the means 
at its disposal to forcibly pacify whatever traits he may have displayed 
that proved to be the 'catalyst' for these thugs. Fine's speculation as to 
whether Michael was 'on his medication' or not at the time is irrelevant 
and displays just how deep misconceptions and prejudice still run against 
psychiatrically labeled persons.

      Recently another similar attempt was made at pinning responsibility 
on an innocent victim when Joey Pace was brutally kicked to death last 
month in Oshawa because the assailants 'didn't like' his demeanor - of 
course the media immediately battened on the fact that he'd been diagnosed 
'paranoid schizophrenic'. I fail to see what these arbitrary and 
unscientific labels have to do with what happened to either of these 
innocent souls or how forced psychiatric treatment  could have prevented 
these attacks.  These were unprovoked hate crimes, pure and simple.

      Pinning blame on these victims - especially when the blame wears the 
mask of false compassion - is unacceptable and only serves to make the 
media itself complicit in these attacks. You certainly don't see the 
medical histories of other victims of violent crimes being trotted out, 
especially in this context. This amounts to making excuses for violence 
against a specific sector of the community on the basis of a perceived 

       I can only hope that it won't take too many more funerals to make 
the media and public alike realize that a psychiatric label in no way 
diminishes a person's right to peacefully and safely dwell in the community 
of their choice, without fear of violent interference in their lives - 
whether from street thugs or at the hands of psychiatric proessionals.

Sincerely yours,

Graeme Bacque
Toronto, Ontario