Thursday, 6 October 2011

over the balcony

yesterday some dude decided to give everyone in parliament a scare by climbing over the balcony, presumably in an attempt to jump down. in the process, he was heard to be shouting out some grievances he had with the minister of social development and with the system. perhaps he was also upset at the prime minister.

there is a narrative running on several blogs that the person is, you guessed it, "crazy" or a "madman". perhaps he has a mental illness, i really don't know. no doubt it will come out soon enough. but even if he does have one, should that mean that we ignore anything he has to say.

the thing is that no-one seems to be clearly reporting what he actually did say. some lawyer that helped try to stop him says "[he] was making noises about various injustices". i can understand that, being busy with physically trying to stop the man might have been a hindrance to paying full attention to what he was saying. but someone nearby must have heard it. and surely the man himself could be interviewed further?

of course if he is discredited enough as a "madman", then no-one needs to take seriously what he has to say. yet there are certainly some issues issues in his life, issues regarding WINZ and social policy that are directly impacting his life, that motivated his actions. i believe it's important for us to know what those issues are, and why they made him feel so desperate. to continue to ignore those problems, which will no doubt be shared by many people across the country, is to ignore a ticking time-bomb.

but what irks me most, as i've mentioned above, is the notion that if he is "crazy", he has nothing useful to say. or nothing that we should be paying attention to. as if people with mental illnesses have no rights, no needs, face no injustices, and simply don't matter. ugh.


Carol said...

Yes, I have been concerned about the way the labeling of mental instability has been used,and about the lack of investigation or consideration of the background to relevant issues on the part of the MSM.

Paula Bennett was quick to promote the individualised, mentally unstable line, while aiming to sound caring and compassionate.

That was at least a bit better than our PM, who has slunk away showing a lack of leadership, and attempted to use the incident merely to score points against the opposition... no expressions of concern for anyone involved from him.

Muerk said...

Very well said.