A member of the British Parliament, Jo Cox, has been assassinated by a man inflamed by the recent Brexit chaos — he shouted “Britain first!” when he was arrested. The media is reporting on the case now. I’ll bet you’ve heard this familiar refrain before.
The man being held in connection with the death of MP Jo Cox has been named as Thomas Mair, who was described as a “loner” with a history of mental health problems…
Loner. Mentally ill. Yeah, that’s it. Explains everything.
No, it doesn’t.
These are the words of convenience used to exempt a person from criticism of his particularly dangerous ideology. The media will not consider that a far right political stance might have led someone to violence, so they strategically deploy the “mentally ill” excuse.
But this reporter didn’t even seem to read their own article. A little further down the page, they report on an interview the murderer gave years ago.
In 2011, Mair spoke of how he had volunteered to work as a groundsman at the nearby Oakwell Hall County Park, which had helped ease his mental health problems.
He told a local newspaper: “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.
“All these problems are alleviated by doing voluntary work. Getting out of the house and meeting new people is a good thing, but more important in my view is doing physically demanding and useful labour.
Does that sound crazy to you? He was feeling isolated and disconnected, thanks to a social attitude that resorts to blaming mental illness for all kinds of unrelated problems. And here’s a reporter doing the same thing!
Then, of course, you’ve got to interview the neighbors to find out what kind of juicy deranged things the killer had been doing.
Kathleen Cooke, 62, said: “I am really shocked. He walked past my house this morning and said hello like he always does. He was wearing a grey T shirt and his white baseball cap like he always does and he was carrying a small rucksack.
“He is just a quiet bloke who keeps himself to himself. “He is very helpful and he helps local people with their gardens. There is one neighbour who is a bit frail and he keeps her garden tidy. He has helped me cut my hedge a couple of times.
“He has lived here for 40 years and has never been in any trouble and has never caused any trouble. He sometimes used to shout at the local kids if they played too near his house but that is fairly normal.
A quiet bloke who helps elderly neighbors with their gardens? INSANE. They should have seen all the signals right there.
How about a different story. Here was a lonely fellow, isolated and vulnerable, and what probably happened instead is that he was poisoned by an evil ideology.
Despite being born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, a decade-old website posting identified Mair as a subscriber to S. A. Patriot, a South African magazine that was published by the pro-apartheid group, the White Rhino Club.
The club describes the magazine’s editorial stance as being against “multi-cultural societies” and “expansionist Islam”. A blog post attributed to the group, dated January 2006, described Mair as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of S. A. Patriot.”
Racism, and anti-immigrant and specifically anti-Muslim bigotry, fed by a hate organization — that’s what led Mair to murder, not “mental illness”.
You don’t get to label Mair as dangerously insane unless you’re also ready to label these attendees at a Trump rally as “mentally ill”.