By now, most of you have heard about the mass stabbing of disabled people at a care facility just outside out of Tokyo, Japan. I've been contemplating what I wanted to say here about this attack, if anything. Living in America, as I do, it could just be another mass murder on a never-ending list of violence that litters our headlines everyday. But as a disabled person, it is NOT just another mass murder. It was - it is - violence against my brothers and sisters. Violence against disabled people is a world-wide problem. It happens everywhere. But it generally happens on a much smaller scale than this, so as to go widely unnoticed, or reported, by the media. And when it does get attention called to it, it is written off as 'justifiable'. Even in this instance, news reports were sure to talk about the perpetrator's calm demeanor and how good he was with children, etc. No one ever would have guessed.
Except, of course, for the detailed letter he wrote talking about wanting a world where disabled people are regularly euthanized. Why? Because we burden society? Because we burden our families? Or because we burden ourselves? We may never know this man's thought process, but the bigger point here is that IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't matter what he was thinking, because all of these things are reasons that society sees as 'justifiable' when a caretaker kills their charge 'for their own good'. Or a mother kills their child because 'she just couldn't take it anymore'. Or someone shrugs and says, 'maybe the nazis were right, maybe the world is better off without them'. And then the people around them nod and say, 'That's understandable, I suppose.'
NO, IT'S NOT. It's not understandable. It's not justifiable. It's not a thing of the past or a thing only Nazis did or something that only happens in 'undeveloped' countries. Or something that society as a whole - and us as a community - should stand for. Whether or not we should have assisted-suicide is a whole other debate. But the keyword there is 'assisted'. Meaning of our choice. OUR CHOICE. The disabled have their bodily autonomy stripped of them on a regular basis. Even, in this case, when it comes to our life and death. 19 of our brothers and sisters were murdered and a few dozen more injured and the media rolled over to something new within 24 hours and once again, we are swept out of sight. Where people, like this man, believe we should be.
And yet, I sit here at a loss as to what can be done to make society see that our lives are our choice. And we should not be swept aside. Or silenced. Or forgotten by the next news cycle.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words, friends.