A 14-year-old girl was the victim of attempted murder.
Shocked? Outraged? We should be.
The girl was severely autistic, didn’t get the support she needed, and suffered from episodes of violence. Does that change things?
A 14-year- old girl is a 14-year-old girl. A person is a person. Attempted murder is attempted murder. Period.
It happens all too often when a person with a disability is the victim of murder or attempted murder. We minimize it. We sympathize with the attacker. We call it mercy killing.
This is profoundly dehumanizing. It suggests that their lives are less worthy than others. It absolves us from responsibility towards making sure these people get the help and support they need. It spares us our own discomfort. Turning a blind eye while they are murdered is just so much easier.
Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.” You can’t suffer with someone when they’re dead. And yet, as a society, as individuals, we would rather end suffering the easy way rather than truly stand side by side with others, bear their burdens and ease their load.
We need more support for people with special needs and their families. We need be willing to reach out and help those who are struggling. We need a plan in place to protect the loved ones of those who have reached their breaking point. But most of all, we need to treat all people as though their lives are worthwhile. Only then can we prevent more tragedies like this.
Issy’s life is worth living. Everyone’s life is worth living.
More thoughts on this terrible tragedy:
ischemgeek: This Really Shouldn’t Be That Hard
sleepwakehopeandthen: On Issy Stapleton, About Issy Stapleton, To Issy Stapleton