Mental Illness does not Explain Terrorism


In the wake of the recent mass shooting in Toronto and with the release of Ayanle Hassan Ali, a man diagnosed with schizophrenia who stabbed three Canadian soldiers in 2016 while shouting "Allah Akbar", there has been a lot of emphasis on the topic of mental health in our national media.

Contrary to the angle that some of the prominent mainstream outlets have taken, particularly with the case of the Danforth shooter, I will argue that giving such credence to purported claims of illness is a huge detriment to the vast number of people who struggle with mental health issues and live peaceful lives. A privation of sanity and mental wellness can most definitely lead to tragedy, but the type of premeditation required for acts of terrorism entails that we not dismiss agency and the possibility of evil so readily.