Should the mentally ill be allowed to use public transit?

By now  you have probably watched the video of an OC Transpo bus driver yelling expletive deletives at a passenger who, as it was later discovered, was mentally challenged.

If not, I am providing the video with the warning that the language used by the driver in question is shall we say colorful . . .

Now in our Poll we asked the question as to whether or not the driver should be fired (you can also cast your vote as we have included the poll at the end of this post)?  So far, and it is still early in the voting mind you, the overall response is a resounding YES!

With such an overwhelming outpouring of public anger towards the OC Transpo employee it might be safe to conclude that there is no other side to this story . . . or is there?

As the sole voice of dissent, I spoke with the individual who had voted no and the reason given for going against the majority is that a 55 second video doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

Perhaps, what we are witnessing on tape (electronically speaking) is the tail end of an interaction in which the driver after politely asking the passenger to keep it down for say 20 minutes finally blew his stack when the desired response was not forthcoming?  Or maybe, just maybe, this was the fifth day in a row that this particular passenger got on the bus and began reciting what he later described as his play . . . that’s right, apparently what triggered the angry outburst was the passenger’s repetitious reading of lines from a play he had written.  Well, you know what they say about critics . . .

The above certainly opens the door to a possible alternative view of the events.

And if what we are indeed witnessing on YouTube is the culmination of building frustration over a period of minutes, or perhaps even days, is it fair to condemn the driver with little more than a proverbial tip of the iceberg understanding?

Furthermore, if you allow yourself to believe that there are indeed mitigating circumstances, and that perhaps the driver’s tirade was warranted then maybe the problem is solely the responsibility of the mentally ill young chap who perhaps while unintentional, causes this kind of disruption whenever he is out in public?

This may not even be the first time the young play-write has been the incendiary spark for a normal person’s ire, just the first time it was caught on video.  What if in his wake he has left a trail of people who, like the bus driver, has been reduced to a molten pyre of rage?

If this is indeed the other side to this sad story then perhaps the problem is with the mentally ill young man and all mentally ill people in general.  And if we are to accept this alternative view, then maybe we should question whether or not the mentally ill should be allowed to access public transit.

Maybe like the ill effects of second hand smoke, we should relegate the mentally ill to certain buses, in which the drivers would be specially trained to deal with them?

Come to think of it, having to wait for someone in a wheelchair to get on the bus as we race against the clock in morning rush hour traffic is also an inconvenience to us normal people.  Maybe we should create a separate bus system for them as well, in which they are restricted to back roads?  Just don’t get me started on punk rockers or, for that matter anyone of a different race or religion.

Or maybe . . . and this is just a thought, maybe we can treat each other like fellow human beings?



About piblogger

Author and Host of the PI Window on The World Show on Blog Talk Radio. View all posts by piblogger

2 responses to “Should the mentally ill be allowed to use public transit?

  • Robert

    Transport system in each country shows a lot about a country same goes for its citizens and the care provided for mentally ill. The two go in tandem and neither parties are getting the exposure I mean its not something you would normally read in mainstream media, so well done for covering such a universal topic.

    I think anyone who travels on public transport in instances like this just ignore it and cannot wait for the person to get of the bus, so they can go back to there pit. And the best any society can hope for is that anyone like this with such troubles gets better and leads a fulfilled life. The poll results show the contrary though, I really like and respect public transport and always when possible say hello and wave good-bye when the bus drives past because a I am very observant of current issues in the world which I’m noticing are improving and well b because not only do I rely on public services because I do not have a drivers license yet but moreover I am very grateful to get safely from a to b and have a big heart like many for all people.

    More importantly happy to be alive and be able to have opportunities to shine in a world of great people, bus drivers and conductors are really brave, facing the public anger everyday of the world just like anyone who works in public service, well done Jon for giving public transport staff such recognition, it clearly here shows culturally society is very observant of growing changes and does seek to improve and acknowledge such demonstrative effects to make it easier and nicer for the collective commuting, this video is a testimony of the importance of this, so another thumbs up for Youtube, this kind of footage would never be so accurate of bus CCTV.

    The same principle applies on the road on the outside of the bus, with the drivers on the road who would normally be more relaxed on their choice of language and the script that unfolds in instances of road-rage, that happens too, isn’t it. Perhaps drivers then should be issued either with better CCTV or given nice phones with decent mics and camera’s to document this type of unruly abuse if they wish to take action against the perpetrators.

    I have experienced many things in my years of travelling, not all of them good I might add, but since I have tapped into more inner peace myself I have avoided and been more intuitive about situations before they arise, for example its not everyday a pedestrian gets seen waiting for a bus, or its raining and next to the shelter is a big puddle, the answer is simple and being mindful of these things really helps the world avoid the problems before they arise, rather than just accept that’s the way it is, to only have to be part of then the problem. The responsibility should get resolved by those travelling on the bus, as individuals we also have responsibilities, but the truth is which I guess is another testimony of the effects is we have become passive audiences through media, we simply watch as things unfold (like prams) and are simply immune to such choice language, comedy has a big role in this too I guess.

    Have fun Jon and well done, I think we need more heroes on buses to help people to get from a-b happily its very simple but at times the hardest thing to do, any hero will tell you, and if anyone will get hurt it definitely is never the hero, and thankfully the general consensus I sure perhaps outside the law on the day is all about the survival of the fittest and the righteous or those outnumbered winning the battle and tackling the problem, I guess this would give someone who thinks they can get away with stunts like this something to think about on their journey back home to roost, but hey trouble is not always a recognisable middle name (clichés to solve the most cumbersome problems of the cultural worlds issues and defrosting the problems with common sense rather than wasting unnecessary brawn). And like pointed out we just will never know all the variables, and what is even better is its nice to know we were never there, yet we can experience and make evaluations which may or may not add to the intuitive observations we see around us.

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