Media reports on homicides of people with disability, particularly those with intellectual disability, are frequently sugar-coated and euphamised. This only serves to diminish the value of those who have lost their lives, writes Craig Wallace and Samantha Connor.
Suicide is anything but painless. So we should share sympathy for the loved ones of the couple convicted of killing their son in 2001, who were found dead in their western Sydney home on the weekend.
The couple killed their son Matthew, who had a disability, days before his 29th birthday, yet avoided jail after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter. They were instead sentenced to five-year good behaviour bonds.
Despite this latest tragedy, it’s impossible to ignore the way the killing of people with disability continues to be minimised, sanitised and even excused by the media, the public, the judiciary and even closer to home in parts of our disability community.
Sure enough it was disappointing, but not exactly surprising, to see the usual green shoots of moral relativism in comments about the news on the weekend.
What wasn’t expected was for such views to emerge on a social media space that specifically works to break the silence about violence and abuse of people with disability.
“Who am I to judge?”; “There’s no wrongs or rights”; a “tragedy for everyone involved” were among the comments on the story.
Hang on – a tragedy for “everyone” involved?
Actually, it’s a tragedy for the person who was murdered. Period.
No wrongs or rights? Who are we to judge?
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? The death of three people is a tragedy by any measure and judging is a fraught undertaking – let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.
But what if we apply that even handed tone to other murders?
Read the rest here.
This article from Australia is a sad reminder that the dismissive attitude of the public and courts toward the murders of people with disabilities isn’t limited to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or … is there any country that treats the life and deaths of disabled people with real seriousness? I’d like to see that things might be getting better, but there’s evidence that they might be getting worse when it comes to outright murder – and I’ll try to wrestle an article out of my thoughts on that next week.