I was as horrified as the rest of the UK today to hear about the shocking murder of MP Jo Cox, a wonderful and hard-working woman who was also a wife and mother of two young children. Her death was senseless, violent and a devastating rarity in this country. All she wanted to do was make her country a more positive place, and today she died at the hands of someone who has already been described by his neighbours as a ‘loner’ and someone who ‘kept to himself’.
Yep, you know where this is going.
It didn’t take a lot of hunting to find a quote in the media about the suspect Tommy Mair who murdered Jo Cox; or more precisely, his mental health:
Tommy Mair volunteered at the Oakwell Hall country park in Birstall in 2010 after being a patient of the Mirfield-based Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental illness, according to a Huddersfield Examiner report at the time.
He told the paper: “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world.
“Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common, mainly caused by long-term unemployment.” – mirror.co.uk, 9:14pm
I haven’t looked on social media to see what’s being said about this, simply because I can’t justify the immense amount of rage I’m bound to feel at any ignorance I come across. Simply from what I’ve seen written on Twitter by friends, I’m saddened to see mental health already in the spotlight. But there is simply one question I have about the obvious attempts to look deeper into Mr Mair’s mental health history – what do you hope to find? An answer to this madness that saw him butcher an innocent woman? A diagnosis that makes the world go ‘ah, of course’ when they read their red-top rags? Maybe they just want a way of confirming their ignorance of mentally ill individuals without sounding like a cunt?
(Above image is taken from Time to Change)
The simple fact is, by perpetuating this ridiculous notion that mental health = murderer, you are making yourself look like an uneducated fool who would rather follow the crowd into a moral panic than look up some fucking numbers for yourself. Because when stuff like this is reported, it does nothing to help the victim, their family, or even the criminal themselves – all it does is spread fear and further ignorance, and throws abuse and further threat towards those with mental illnesses.
This mentality that I’m seeing right now is of the same idiocy that comes from those who believe that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all men are rapists, or that all England supporters are violent thugs. Stereotypes are poisonous, and do more harm than good – so why bother spreading it?
Nothing can justify this tragedy. That’s the brutal, sad truth.
I didn’t want to write this for the simple fact that a woman died today and everyone should be focusing on that alone – but others simply won’t allow that. I am angry, tired, sad, and fed up. Jo Cox MP was a shining example of someone who just wanted to do some good in the world. Tommy Mair is a man that has yet to explain why he committed such a horrific act against an innocent woman. But he does not represent me, or anyone else out there with a mental illness. This is a message to the bottom-dwelling scum who call themselves journalists who want to get the most shock-value out of their work – think about what you’re writing and saying about those with ill mental health. Just for one fucking second, think before you write. This isn’t about an agenda, it’s about a woman who was murdered and no matter what the reason, there is no justification for it. So stop blaming it on things you clearly don’t understand, tell the real story and leave us alone.
My thoughts go out to Jo’s husband Brendan Cox, their children and her family and friends.