It seems every time I listen to the news there has been another tragedy and more people have died. On Monday a rented van mounted the sidewalk and killed 10 people and injured 15 in Toronto. On purpose. This person literally had no regard for human life. There was no empathy; how scary is that? How can someone be so incredibly detached from people and the world? What was wrong with him? I know that they must be mentally ill but that means nothing at all to the people whose lives have been turned upside down by one person’s deranged actions. It is not an excuse. It infuriates me that these innocent people lost their lives so senselessly.
Yes, it is great that people come together to support the community and I keep seeing the phrase that we should look for the helpers. But really, I just feel annoyed. We shouldn’t have to look for the helpers because this never should have happened. It’s because we lack any control over the situation that we are forced to respond and help afterwards as our only option. We are working backwards and will never prevent this type of violence from happening if we just help after the fact. The damage is already done. Those people are never coming back. We can punish that man all we want but he still killed all those people. And let’s be honest, unfortunately, he won’t be the last to do it. He certainly wasn’t the first.
We can keep responding to violence and death but it will never stop it from happening. We will always be one step behind. Instead, why don’t we take mental health more seriously? Mental illness is all around us. It takes many forms. What if we caught it early and intervened? People need help before the tragedies happen. That’s when the interventions need to happen. I know it’s a complex issue and I’m barely skimming the surface of it but if even one of these mentally ill people who committed such horrendous acts, in Toronto and elsewhere, received the help they required then maybe even a few lives could have been spared. People donate money to help other people affected by tragedy, and rightfully so as I know they can use all the help they can get. But what if we put our attention and resources to preventive measures? What if we got these people professional help before they killed others? I’m sure people would take their loved ones alive over any amount of money they personally receive
Toronto is a great city. It is strong. It is great that people are coming together to help. But helping now won’t bring those people back or make the families of those lost not grieve. More needs to be done. More needed to be done already. We need to start thinking forward. We will always need people to respond, it’s unrealistic that all violence will be ended, but we need to put more into preventing. We need to have more support for mental health. That’s where there is power for change and action. That’s where we can stop just reacting and gain some control. That’s where the people walking down the street in Toronto can continue walking. That’s where they should be.