The media perpetuate stigma because the stories they posses and seek are the sensational. As consumers of media we are part of the problem. We don’t care much about the mayor of Calgary; we want to see the mustard on Mayor Rob Ford.
I was at a restaurant with friends and our seats were elevated next to a window looking down on patrons eating outside. I was glancing out at their plates as I was somewhat seized with hunger. A table with pasta belonged to a man in a tie and the back of a woman. On a future glance my friend looked out with me and sighed at the fact this man was eating alone. My friend is not wrong for the assumption; they simply do not possess enough information to draw an accurate conclusion. The conclusions we are given by the media contain the history of our appetite for the sensational.
We make conclusions because they keep us safe but they are not all factual or complete. We make mental shortcuts and apply the smallest of information to anything of resemblance. Not Criminally Responsible is likely about three images for many people. The term for some draws only information from the media.
Guilt is not the act but the act of knowing. When someone is found Not Criminally Responsible on account of a mental disorder it is because experts have found that they could not appreciate the nature of the act or omission. They are not sentenced according to a code of punishment but are placed under forensic mental health care. Forensic mental health facilities are secure, humane, progressive and therapeutic. Interdisciplinary teams were used for my progression through my rehabilitation and treatment. These facilities are hospitals and not jails because Not Criminally Responsible offenders are not criminals they are patients. They require not our judgement or fear but rather our assistance.
It is not a chosen path so it makes no sense to punish the traveler for being where they are.
It is difficult for many to reconcile illness with atrocity. It needs to be kept in mind that without the illness there may have been no crime. We recognize the defendant but we cannot see the culprit. The culprit is mental illness.
Not Criminally Responsible in my case was not a chosen defense. If I had my way I would have been a brilliant lawyer at my own trial. It was a defense of default for me. I was incapable of any other defense. The courts and medicine intervened to protect justice and my mental health. If we are to be merciful it is imperative we do not punish illness. It is pointless and cruel.
If it is an eye for an eye, Christ`s words were wasted.