What is Canada doing right that our mentally ill don't have access to guns?

Today was a regular day for me and my family. Our eldest enjoyed a day off and ran errands in Toronto, some for her, some for us. Our youngest spent another Monday, from 8am-10pm in college, learning. Our middle, who is working for us at the moment accompanied me on some errands, and Yannick rode his bike. Just a regular day for regular people.

For others it was anything but. My friend Tessa Virtue skated her heart out and won Gold for our country. How fucking epic and cool is that??? I wiped dribble poop from Duke’s backside a good half dozen times, and my friend became the most decorated skater in Olympic history.

Oh the shame of how mundane my life is some days.

But you know what, even though today was just a regular day, at least I got to live it. And for those of you out there reading this blog, I’m not saying you can’t have shitty days where you feel blue, lord knows I woke up feeling “not right” and struggled with putting on my happy face for pretty much the entire day. I’m simply saying thank God we woke up. Thank God that I got to experience a shitty day today. That I was lucky enough to live another day where it didn’t go exactly like I had hoped it would. I used to hate when my mother would say to me; “smarten up, there is somebody out there who has it much worse than you.”

As a young person that always stung, and I tried, and I truly hope that I succeeded in not saying that to my girls during moments of intense vulnerability, but the truth of it is, my mom was right. She is right. This doesn’t mean that my disappointments, my let downs, my I’d rather stay in bed sort of days aren’t real for me, it just means that when those moments start to compile on me, and one hour of feeling like that turns into many, and then into a day, and maybe more than a day…that’s when it’s a very good idea to take stock and “snap out of it.” For sure there are a great many people who have it much better, and there are likely just as many who have it much, much worse. All the parents burying children since they were murdered last week come to mind. It’s hard for me to think of little else these days, probably because the friends who survived that shooting are making it their lives work to make sure that their friends didn’t get slaughtered in vain. And I for one am damn proud of them for being so bold, strong, and intelligent enough to stand up under their grief and make sure that we don’t forget what they lived through, and how their friends died.

Somebody commented on my post yesterday, as they always do during these sort of “hot potato” topics; I’m copying it here in its entirety because I don’t want to misquote him.

Mrs. Bisson,
I 100% agree with you that something needs to be done to keep mentally ill people from harming others. So let’s review a little history shall we? Prior to the mid/late 1960s in the US, it was fairly easy to involuntarily commit someone for psychiatric evaluation/care for a significant amount of time. There were many “state hospitals” where these patients were housed, treated and those who recovered were released. Some were absolute hell-holes where the developmentally disabled were consigned and abused by both staff and the truly violent patients (the ones who really belonged there in the first place). “Right thinking” people objected to the very concept of state hospitals and convinced legislatures to close them in favor of “community-based care”. In practice, this has resulted in a large percentage of the homeless population that exists and, due to restrictions on involuntary commitment statutes, many potentially violent seriously disturbed individuals being left free to do as they please in society. Hence, we get “monsters” like the mass shooters. We don’t have the ability to legally strip away someone’s right to purchase weapons if their mental health problems are not reported to authorities…law enforcement, schools, etc. So maybe instead of going for the largely symbolic act of banning so-called “assault weapons”, we should take a very serious look at changing how society is allowed to deal with mentally disturbed individuals. In reality, a school shooter could just as easily kill lots of people with a couple of revolvers and a pocket full of speed loaders. It isn’t the tool, it’s the intentions of the person wielding it. BTW, unless you support confiscation of existing “assault weapons” from their legal owners just how does a ban on new sales keep anyone from buying/stealing any of the hundreds of thousands already in private hands?

I agree with him, for the most part, I simply wish he didn’t begin his comment so condescending, like why are you like that dude? But this isn’t the first time this man has commented on my blog, and he always comments at me like I’m dumb, so I guess that’s just how he is. Anyway, despite that I’m posting it here because we had the same thing happen way back when in Ontario, and I’m assuming Canada. Mentally ill people were deposited in these torture buildings where they were left to live out the rest of their lives in the most heinous way. We did right by the mentally ill but stopping this practice, by closing down the institutions. But then what was our follow up?? Not a whole hell of a lot. So we see our homeless people, in Canada anyway, begging on the streets, sleeping on subway grates and tents along our freeways. Not shooting people en masse, but regardless of that, we’ve let them down.

Yes these are our most extreme cases, those with mental illness who are homeless and destitute, but we also have taken away government funding for people who do have homes, jobs, and in some cases family from getting therapy. And for what? The country saves money but at what cost? So people can suffer? Have poor quality of life? I for one don’t get why there isn’t more support for the mentally ill.

I agree with this patronizing male that we need to do more to make sure mentally ill people don’t fall through the cracks and then turn into madmen. But where I do not agree with him is that he thinks I only want the US government to put a ban on assault rifles, I’m sorry, but I happen to think the law on making it harder, hell almost impossible actually to get any gun is what is needed in America. As far as the more than 300 million guns that are already out there? You’re talking to a Canadian here, and I’m sorry but I happen to think that that is just bat shit crazy, all day every day. My only answer to that is who the hell needs a gun anyway?? Things that make me go “hmmm” indeed.