Remember when the Left believed that mental illness could compel a person to murder? Since memories are short, let this radical centrist take you back to Calgary, July 30, 2008 for a bus ride with Vince Li. That may jog a few selective memories.

There is a benefit to being a radical centrist: you are beholden to truth, reality, and facts, not contrarian stances that shift and flip depending on what people you do not like spew out of their mouths. The narrative that mental illness never causes someone to kill is absurd.

It does not compel everyone, but we do have not guilty by reason of mental defect for a reason: because it happens.

Paranoid schizophrenics have been known to hear voices that tell them to kill.

Do I believe the Florida shooter was compelled by mental illness? Given all his recent stressors and prior behaviour, I do believe this more than possible, but probable. I would still prefer more facts before I committed to any one position.

Once upon a time -- and in the very recent past -- the Left were as smug as they were assured that there were killers of this ilk, and they should be viewed with compassion.

Until the US President called it mental illness -- and then suddenly, the Left had to be contrarian, and then without facts, decreed it wasn't.

Slate claimed it was anger and not mental illness, completely forgetting that uncontrollable anger is a mental illness. Paste also made the same extremist decree along with a very insensitive headline:

Here's Everything That's Wrong with the GOP's "Mental Health" Excuse for Mass Shootings

Here's everything wrong with that sentiment:

I remember when I was an undergraduate student at McMaster studying psychology, I took numerous courses where were learned that yes, mental illness can cause those kinds of delusions. When you are a threat to yourself, or others, that was the benchmark to know you were suffering from a mental disorder.

Not everyone does. I don't care if you don't, you cannot paint everyone with the same brush. Some people have cancer and are cured; some have it and die, but just because your loved one died and someone else got cured, doesn't mean the person who was cured didn't have it.

The same holds true when it comes to mental illness: in the drive to be overly politically correct, all facts and logic have flown right out the window.

But it wasn't always like this: once upon a time the Left were pushing for rehabilitation and lenient sentences for those whose mental illness compelled them to kill, and the Right just bristled at the notion, repeatedly using that obnoxious phrase Bleeding Heart Liberals and soft on crime.

When you are a radical centrist, you are balance, and you are not swayed by dogma or the tweaking of noses. Extremists rarely get it right, and people completely unschooled in a subject have no business making sweeping generalizations just because a fact does not fit in with their untested theories.

To show just how insincere the press coverage has been, let me take you back to Calgary on July 30, 2008.

It was a shocking day for Canada because there were two men on a bus: one was Tim McLean who was just sitting quietly.

The other was a man by the named of Vince Li.

Li killed McLean on the bus.

Here is the New York Times' article on March 6, 2009 that described the outcome of the trial:

A judge on Thursday found a man not criminally responsible for killing, decapitating and cannibalizing a fellow passenger on a Greyhound bus last year. Justice John Scurfield of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench called the actions of the man, Vince Weiguang Li, ''barbaric'' and ''grotesque,'' yet concluded that they were ''suggestive of a mental disorder.'' Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense had recommended such a verdict, and Mr. Li, who was found to be schizophrenic, was sent to a secure psychiatric center.

Well, how interesting. No one -- not the defence, nor the prosecution disagreed with the facts of the case that Li was driven to kill by his mental illness.

Did anger cause Li to murder?

No, mental illness did.

People do not understand mental illness. They may understand anxiety and depression, but they do not understand what it means to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia. If it is caught and treated with medication, a person can go on with a functioning and peaceful life.

But not off the meds.

Not all who have it kill.

But not all who have it do not.

The Globe and Mail had an article how the mental health system failed Vince Li.

The CBC also had a piece how Li was not evil, but sick, and that article came out on February 13, 2017.

One year and week ago today.

Even as far back as December 2017, the consensus was that mental illness drove preteen Anissa Weier to try to kill her friend on behalf of the fictional character Slenderman.

Her partner in crime Morgan Geyser had the press comfortable with the notion of mental illness driving one to harm as recently as February 1, 2018, even though the crime was committed by two people and the attack was premeditated.

I can call up a whole slew of other articles and stories on the Li and Slenderman cases, and others from the US, UK, and Canada, with the same underlying theme, going all the way back to the 1960s.

So what is the difference? Why has the press suddenly turned on their own mantra in less than a month?

Because their mortal enemy co-opted their theory.

You either believe something or you don't. That is the reason you need facts, data, and evidence to draw conclusions. There are a lot of people I do not like, but if what they say is true, I am not suddenly going to say the opposite.

If they say the sky is blue, then I am not going to say it's pink to spite them.

It is one thing when you are bickering over petty nonsense that has no consequence. It is very different when the stakes are high and real.

This is not the time to politicize tragedy or pretend you know more than you do.

This is no time to push an agenda. Right now, it is time to gather facts before drawing a conclusion.

Was this boy mentally ill? Was he a paranoid schizophrenic? We absolutely need to know this. Many of these mass murderers are killed before they can be stopped, meaning we don't know as much about their mental state as we need to know.

Now is the time to find out how the systems (yes, plural), all failed.

We have to see if social services dropped the ball and when.

We have to see if the school dropped the ball and when.

We need to know if the police, FBI, or any other government agency could have intervened, but were stymied by rules, laws, procedures, or some other breakdown.

We need studies. We need studies dealing with current cases because these have exploded within the last decade, hinting the reasons are different than ones of the past.

When you are a radical centrist, you do not profess grand simplistic theories. You begin to gather facts. You find out who is this child. You find out about his history. You find out about his family. You find out if any other blood relative has the same issues. You isolate the most salient factors and then you hunt for more facts.

Then you look at his environment. What happened?

People want a solution. They can't have one that works if they do not pull back and see how very little they know about any of the details.

If we had a functioning media -- which we do not -- we wouldn't be throwing fits -- we'd be finding out as much as we could about what went wrong.

But we know nothing as of this point, let alone enough to decree a solution.

We cannot continue to pretend we have the answers when we are having petty squabbles over conjecture.