The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
I believe with my whole heart that every person matters. That they belong, have value, and contribute to society in ways that can’t even begin to be measured. Infants with disabilities are often seen as inherently less valuable than children without disabilities. Even more disturbing is how the infant’s disability itself is seen as a just excuse for murder, leniency and compassion on behalf of the murderer.
Like the satisfying end of a black and white movie, Colin Brewer has resigned from his position as counselor of Cornwall for touting his outrageous beliefs about children with disabilities. I’m so glad that the combined pressure of advocates and concerned citizens has forced his resignation from public office.
However amidst the glow of my victory rush that Brewer is stepping down my eyes caught sight of these brief lines in the DNS briefing: “Even during the preparation of the [investigation] report, [Brewer] continued to attempt to justify his views, telling a council officer that “people are still telling me that what I said is what 80 per cent of people agree with.”
Sad to say but there’s truth in his statement; dark, hard, ugly, nasty truth. Don’t believe me? Feeling outraged that I could even type out these words?
Remember the Latimer case? Back in 1993 Robert killed his twelve year old daughter Tracy and called it a mercy killing. Global even made a sympathetic documentary about it that I criticized called Taking Mercy.
Public opinion about euthanasia and ‘mercy killing’ kids with disabilities is popular. Even participants polled on an episode of Doctor Phil endorsed it. It’s part of our mainstream. So much so that research has been conducted on how Canadian jurors react to the infanticide of infants with disabilities.
Sad to say but it backs Brewer’s hideous opinions.
The findings state that, “little has been done to recognize that children with disabilities are a high risk of abuse and homicide, [or] to educate the public..on the rights of the child. [There has been] utter disregard for…[the] protection of the right to life and survival for children with severe disabilities.”
Not all Canadians feel that way…but 36% do according to a 2010 poll of over 1,005 Canadians by Angus Reid. That’s more than a quarter of our nation! That’s outrageous! In Canada, an enlightened nation that has long been a pioneer of human rights, how is it that anyone thinks that a parent murdering a vulnerable child is okay?
Reflecting on Brewer’s archaic logic and discriminating ideals I’m concerned about how our justice system is actually treating kids with disabilities. There’s a darker more insidious threat for which he’s just a figurehead – the public opinion that ‘mercy killing’ kids with disabilities is okay.
What can we do to end the myth of mercy killings, the lie that children with disabilities are less valuable, and that parents have the right to kill said children?
Take the time to comment, share, and give an opinion on this story. I want to hear what those of you who work in community living have to say.
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