05/08/11 Mad, bad or sad

When Amy Winehouse died, isn’t it amazing how so many of us became forensic pathologists? We’ve all seen CSI Chipping Ongar, we just know she died from an overdose – don’t we?

When information about the slaughter of those young people at their summer camp started to come through – we knew it was one of the established terrorist organisations….but then we realised differently when the handsome face of Anders Breivik stared out from our TV’s, our phones and our newspapers.

So, the deaths of 45 thousand American men, women and children…? What kind of monster can be responsible for that?

There are 2 things for me that pour out of the Norway story.

The intolerance of the perpetrator – so panicked, so full of hatred was he for those immigrants coming into his country – taking his things – stealing his way of life – that he would stop at nothing. Which meant the mindless murder of liberal minded Norwegians.

The tolerance of the Norwegian people. Tolerance always sounds such a weak word – a sort of “Well, what can you do, let them get on with it…” kind of a word. Not so for me any more. In Norway mourners flooded the street not with demands for greater security – but for greater humility – for more democracy. Even if we look at the largest possible sentence of 21 years for Breivik – the cry is for rehabilitation not retribution.

Look at this –
Knut Bjarkeid, prison governor at Ila prison, told Norway’s largest tabloid VG: “This task will be a professional challenge. We must take care of him in a human way.”

Weak or strong?

The truth is we don’t know what killed Amy Winehouse – nor will we for a few weeks. The 2 incidents caused the Internet to come alive with comments on forums.

Generally absolute shock and pity for the victims on Utoya island.

Amy got a more of a mixed reception. Many bloggers wrote in a disparaging way, comparing the innocence of the Norway victims with her wilful and wasteful act of potentially taking her own life.

We show our anger and despair at the intolerance of Breivik and yet we show intolerance at her passing.

Mad, bad or sad?

There is a beautiful piece written here

It leaves so many questions – but what stands out for me is he was one of us – a human – what leads to this?

So, let’s look at the 45 thousand Americans who die each year because they don’t have health insurance…

Hold on though, what was the source of this loony left propaganda? The Harvard medical school.

45 thousand.

Well, what do they expect, they don’t pay their….

Amy Winehouse – whatever the outcome, there will be tragedy there. We skirt around it.

She’s mad. She’s different from us. He’s different from us. And that’s where the debate, the conversation, the argument starts and stops.

We are these people – we are what makes us, us.

No-one appears overly concerned about those 45 thousand people – or, if we look at the UK, the 5 and a half thousand young people who commit suicide every year – the second largest killer of young men in our country- and yet there is still no official waiting time for mental health treatment from the NHS.

When I was younger at school, when I go to college, when I went to work, I was always told to worry about the things I can take control of.

To my mind that boiled down to what I had to eat, what I wore and when I went to bed.

I guess what I’m saying is that we are the mad, the sad and the bad. We are, if not responsible, part of all of this. We can make a difference – we can show love and compassion – we can make a noise through tolerance and democracy.

Walk a mile


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