(Image Credit: Dean Terry via flickr.com; the image is at this link. Used without modification under Creative Commons Licence)

(Note: This is a guest column by Pradip Rodrigues, see his Twitter account here)

Millennials are more likely to embrace lofty causes like global warming, homelessness and racism than they are to embrace a partner for life or children of their own.

In the past few years, survey after survey points to the Millennial generation in North America as being less likely than older generations to identify with a religious group. According to one Pew Research Centre survey, with passing time, the share of religiously unaffiliated or religious “nones” (means they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) is rising rapidly.

I know a lot of older Americans and Canadians must worry about the impact of this trend. But rest assured, their actions and words will fill you with guilt and make you question your goodness and in time, your sanity.

Millennials are more likely to embrace lofty causes like global warming, homelessness and racism than they are to embrace a partner for life or children of their own. In many ways Veganism is now a new religion and these social justice warriors are beginning to sound at times evangelical and missionary in their zeal. Heck, they could probably give Pope Francis a run for his money. The Left-leaning Pope embraces much the same causes as these Millennials like climate change, refugees and a whole slew of other social causes.

And yet as I look at the cities teeming with these progressives from San Francisco, Vancouver, New York and Toronto, I find that although these millennials sound like Christian evangelicals, they are really hard on the Catholic church and organized religion.

Today Christian do-gooders can be found helping out in food kitchens and shelters, while these progressive activists in all major North American cities are frontline defenders of tent cities now dotting your favorite neighborhood park and streets. The rise in crime doesn’t faze them one bit, even when it literally strikes them in the face.

Take for instance the story CBC published on 2nd May titled: Violent crime on bail up in Ontario, stakeholders agree system is broken, but not on how to fix it.

In that story, the account of one Nicola Lightstone’s ordeal leapt up at me. Back in January, Nicola who lives in the Regent St. neighborhood took her dog Noodle, in the middle of the night to answer his urgent call.

She was approached by a man who in her words struck her as someone “in a bit of a mental health crisis” who chased her down and viciously struck her in the face. The lights may have gone off in her head. Like Saul in the Bible who was struck by lightning, blinded for three days, and went on to be known as St. Paul spreading the good news, Lightstone appears to have seen the light. You’d think she’d be terrified and demand her attacker be put away before he hurt another person. Not a chance!

It’s a good thing she’s a psychotherapist who harbours nothing but love and empathy for her attacker. Here is she in her own words:

It saddened me to know that there’s clearly a flaw in this system where this individual’s not getting help, that he’s still out on the streets in a state of mental crisis.

“I think that my assailant was as much a victim as I am,” said Lightstone. “When the system fails an individual — like the person who attacked me — it fails me, it fails my wider community and it fails all Torontonians.”

Clearly, Lightstone is turning a blind eye, or in her case, a black eye to the real and present danger “unhoused” and unhinged individuals pose to the public.

Apparently, the “victim” who hurt Ms Lighstone is known to have attacked several women in similar fashion in the past. But to many progressives on the Left, this pattern is irrelevant if he/she or other is homeless because by default, it seems, mental health challenges go with the territory.  

According to StatsCan data on incidents where someone has allegedly failed to follow bail or peace bond conditions and committed a violent crime show that the numbers are up across Ontario, a 27 per cent increase to be precise, and a 16 per cent increase in the GTA, about 200 more incidents in that same period.

So we are finally living in the era where calls to defund police and instead create a network of mental health professionals may be a real possibility.

Logically I’d say most people in prison today, even the mass murderer was/is technically a victim of something or the other. Any deviant behavior can be labeled by a psychologist. Almost anyone has an alibi. So what these millennials believe is that most people, unless they are rich, powerful and white don’t belong in jail and should instead be treated for their mental disorder.

By this logic, any deviant, like say a Jeffrey Epstein who preyed on teens must have had something in his past that affected his choices, ditto Harvey Weinstein who used his power to coerce beautiful women into bed. He too must have experienced mental trauma, after all, he isn’t and probably has never been easy on the eye. I can well imagine him being rebuffed by the good-looking girls when he was a nobody. His success with women corresponded with his power in Hollywood. But wait, these are White men, rich and famous, so they don’t get any benefit of doubt. Perhaps if Weinstein or Epstein was homeless!

Why don’t we have some mental health expert look into those acts?

Do all victims have to be homeless or “unhoused” or people of color in order for millennials to assume they also suffer mental health issues?

Looking at law and order through these lenses would make it clear that we don’t need to be dispatching cops to deal with most emergencies, we need a team made up of a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a social service worker and a lease to an apartment.

I am beginning to believe that victims of violence and their families are under societal pressure  to take all responsibility of their assailant’s action and put it at the doorstep of the government. We are all victims of an uncaring and unresponsive government.

It seems to be a pattern. In the old days, you might have had the public furious at the person who took another person’s life or violated them in any way. They would be demanding nothing less than life in prison or the death penalty.

Last month, 16-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes was stabbed while sitting on a bench on the lower level of Keele subway station by a homeless 22-year-old man. Incidentally, this was also a repeat offender well known to authorities.

But once again many news outlets and commentators mostly blamed the system for not getting the unhoused killer the help and accommodation he so badly needed.

The 16-year-old’s mother Andrea in an interview said she didn’t blame the individual who killed her son.

“I know a lot of my family members and close friends are enraged and they are blaming the person who stabbed Gabriel. They blame him. I personally — I don’t know where I am, my feelings are all over the place — but right now I don’t blame him. I blame the system,” she said.

“Why wasn’t he getting any help? … If we’re going to look into fixing the problem, it’s way deeper than just getting some security guards at the subway on the streets. We need proper supports in place. Instead of cutting funds to health care. We need to be investing more. This is a rich city. We pay a lot of taxes, we want our money to go towards safety.”

It looks as if the “unhoused” get to be victims even when they cause someone to be “unalive”.

There is only one thing that is puzzling, I’ve encountered unhoused people living in abject poverty on the streets of Mumbai, India. I’ve walked through slums and sidewalks teeming with unhoused people at 2 A.M, but never have I feared for my life. I wouldn’t dare try doing that in many cities run by progressives in North America at even 10 AM.

I don’t for a minute believe that most unhoused individuals staggering on the streets of Toronto or defecating in public places have any fear of any consequences for their actions.

There is no doubt these individuals need help, many are unable or unwilling to seek help. They need to be forcibly removed and put into places where they can receive the help they need. Their families, if they are around, need to take some responsibility for them instead of unleashing them onto an unsuspecting public. And they should be under house arrest until they can be fully capable and functioning members of society. Leaving them on the streets does them no favors and leaves the public at risk of being a victim of an attack which is turning out to be more routine than random.


Darshan’s note: This is a guest column by Pradip Rodrigues, who has worked as a journalist and editor in India as well as Canada for many years. The views expressed in this article are those of the writer. As I set up this website to become an independent voice in Canadian debates, I am also committed to helping other writers offer their ideas via my website. If you wish to publish your article here, please let me know by sending me a message thru the Contact page. Thank you.

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