The whole Ant McPartlin situation is a strange one for me. I don’t know how to feel about it so I’m kind of writing this to understand it all in my own head. Because I’m kind of torn between different emotions.
Over 70,000 people are caught drink driving in the UK every year, resulting in more than 8,000 casualties.
That’s an average of 190 people every day drink driving and 30 casualties.
But I don’t see that many posts on social media saying we need to ‘be kind’ and that ‘we don’t know what people are going through’ regarding the other 69,000+ other people arrested for drink driving.
Yes I understand that it’s Ant’s high profile that has brought it to everyone’s attention. But it kinda feels like some people are making excuses for him.
I understand that he clearly has issues. I completely agree that we need to raise awareness of mental health conditions and that we need to look out for family and friends who may be suffering.
But Ant’s mental health is the reason he was drink driving. It’s a reason – not an excuse.
Psychopaths have issues. Serial killers have issues. But we don’t post pictures of them on social media saying ‘be kind’ because their actions endanger other people, often mortally.
Anyone who saw the footage of Ant getting out of that car can see how drunk he was. He had potentially driven that drunk before. He would potentially have done it again. And then his casualties might have been part of the 200+ statistic of people who are killed by drunk drivers every year in this country.
A four year old girl was taken to hospital following Ant’s arrest. I have two children around that age. If anyone remotely harmed them by drink driving, I would not be thinking about whether they had underlying mental health issues, I’d be furious that they had put the lives of the people who mean the most in the world to me at risk.
I do feel sorry for him. But I don’t excuse it or even try to explain his actions. Anyone who has lost a loved one through another’s addiction knows that an explanation of mental health issues does nothing to fill the gaping hole left in their lives everyday.
I am entirely understanding of mental health, in particular depression. But we have to separate cause and effect when the effect becomes dangerous to others. We have to deal with the cause but we don’t have to dismiss or tolerate the behavioural effect.
I hope Ant gets the help he desperately needs. He is obviously in a very bad place. But I won’t like posts on Facebook which juxtapose photos of him with Robin Williams and words about depression.
Yes, let’s use this incident to raise awareness of mental health. But let’s not do it in a way which lessens the gravity of Ant’s actions.
Just as murder is never ok, regardless of mental health, neither is drink driving.
Because, sadly, both of them have the potential to yield the same ultimate consequence.