Members of the public are mocking the police for pursuing ‘poor mental health’ as the primary line of inquiry into the stabbings that took place in London’s Russell Square last night. An American woman was killed in the attack, and five others injured.
This morning, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police told reporters: “While the investigation is not yet complete all of the work we have done so far, increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues. Indeed at this time we believe it was a spontaneous attack and the victims were selected at random.”
He added that no link has been found to radicalisation, ruling out terrorism as a cause. The perpetrator has been confirmed to be a 19-year-old man “of Somali origin” with Norwegian citizenship.
But many are sceptical of the official reason given for the attack, particularly given the speed of the diagnosis combined with the perpetrator’s background. Others suspect the police and media of using mental health as a cover for the perpetrator’s likely adherence to Islam.
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) August 4, 2016
— Mahmood Ali Razavi (@marazavi3k) August 4, 2016
I suggest Tommy you try the “mental health” issue defence strategy it works in many cases pic.twitter.com/Xm2VMiujdo
— David Sterling (@maturefinancier) August 4, 2016
There is no such thing a terrorism nowadays only mental health problems. #Islamisnottheproblem
— ♛ Cracker ♛ (@ejecter4579) August 4, 2016
The vast majority of Somalians – 99.8 percent – are Muslim, as Islam is the official religion of the state. Most are Sunni, although a minority follow Shia Islam. The constitution of Somalia also decrees that Islamic Sharia provides the basic source for Somalian legislation.
Some Twitter users are openly mocking the Police and mainstream media for laying the blame for the attack on mental health issues.
— /dev/null (@smbthomas) August 4, 2016
— Matt Fiddy2 Davies (@mkpdavies) August 4, 2016
— ((LibertarianRebel)) (@A_Liberty_Rebel) August 4, 2016
— Yanki יענקי פרבר (@96bdffa7cb624ef) August 4, 2016
Although many of the tweets are being posted in jest, others have pointed out that laying the blame for the attack on mental health problems risks stigmatising those living with mental health issues, as it suggests that anyone coping with a mental health issue could go on a killing spree at any moment.
On behalf of people with mental health problems can I say that mental health is not a reason, let alone an excuse, for murder or maiming.
— Allison Pearson (@allisonpearson) August 4, 2016
— Mirelle (@Mirelle_Byruck) August 4, 2016
— doodle bug (@DonnaBean) August 4, 2016
— Stephen Rockman (@shrock) August 4, 2016