How Michael Bryant could do some good | #FASD #onpoli
I could take the easy route and make a snotty remark about the poor fellow’s discomfort at being arrested.
Bryant told the CBC’s Amanda Lang that he was surprised he was arrested when he felt like the victim.
“And I still kept thinking, I don’t get it,” Bryant told Lang. “Like I tried to get away from an attack and you’re arresting me?”
I could say something like “Oh, Michael, I feel your pain. After all, you only killed one guy, and it’s not like he had a raft of expensive lawyers and PR people or anything.” But I won’t do that.
There are a lot of questions about the incident that may never be answered comprehensively. But here’s a thought for Mr. Bryant: You’ve written about your struggles with alcoholism. How about drawing the connections between that and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? It’s been suggested that Darcy Sheppard had it.
FASD is a common and often undetected or misdiagnosed mental disorder. It’s referred to by a variety of names: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Effects, Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder, and so on, but the thing is, it’s entirely preventable.
And so are the related effects and collateral damage. According to FASworld,
Most people with ARND look perfectly normal and are never diagnosed. Research indicates that a high percentage of homeless people, and at least 25% of juvenile and adult offenders suffer from undiagnosed FASD.
Of individuals with ARND between the ages of 12 and 51,
- 95% will have mental health problems;
- 68% will have “disrupted school experience”;
- 68% will experience trouble with the law;
- 55% will be confined in prison, drug or alcohol treatment centre or mental institution;
- 52% will exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior
Of individuals with ARND between 21 and 51 :
- more than 50% of males and 70% of females will have alcohol and drug problems;
- 82% will not be able to live independently;
- 70% will have problems with employment
Disclosure: I know Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox, the folks behind FASworld. I take part in one of their parental support groups. They do amazing and worthwhile work, and they deserve more recognition and support.
So how about it, Mr. Bryant? A guy with your profile, resources and connections could do a lot to raise awareness and, you know, do something helpful.