The verdict was predictable but none the less painful for five Calgary families who have lost their bright shining lights. Matthew de Grood was found not criminally responsible for stabbing those young lives to death. During the short trial the court heard how the young man became withdrawn about a month prior to the attack. He talked about the end of the world and carried garlic to ward off vampires.
In my view Matthew de Grood wasn’t the only one on trial. I believe society’s view of the mentally ill has to be brought into question as well. Friends saw his strange posts on social media. His family considered swearing a mental health warrant prior to the attack. Not an easy thing for a family to do especially when dealing with a young adult.
The NCR (not criminally responsible) verdict will be criticized by many. It will be seen as an acquittal when it is anything but.
We as a society have to start recognizing and doing something about mental illness. We have to have a place to turn to when we suspect someone we love needs help. We have to be able to feel we can talk about our own mental health with friends, family, co-workers without being judged.
Five young people are no longer with us. You have to wonder if things would have been different if Matthew de Grood received the help he needed long before that fateful night.