Murder… torture… I don’t just lose faith in humanity, I am disgusted by it

humanityI like to think that I generally try to see the positive in things and even try to be positive most of the time too (although that is often a fail)… but I’m having a harder time with it lately.

To maintain my positive aura, I didn’t speak out against huge tragedies just because.. well, they’re huge tragedies. I probably should have but it’s really hard for me to do.

Murder

I didn’t say anything when one parent killed their autistic child, Glen Freaney.
I got a little sick to my stomach when another parent killed their autistic child then herself too. Her son’s name was Ben Jensvold.
Then I heard about George Hodgins, a 22 year old autistic who was killed by his mother just before she killed herself too.
Shortly after that, Daniel Corby, another innocent autistic child killed by his parent.

These aren’t even the first, not by a long shot. These are just some of the latest that I’m aware of.

It’s a disturbing trend.

Torture

Then came the video… an alarming news story from the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts. This video shows trained professional therapists using electro-shock therapy on a young autistic (teenager) simply because he didn’t want to remove his jacket.

When he refused, staff electric shocked him and he tried to hide under a table. They dragged him out and tied him facedown to a restraint board where he was kept for seven hours without a break, and shocked a total of thirty-one times.

While he was being tortured, he cried out for help… they laughed.

Is this humanity? Is this the world that I try to be positive for? Is this what I’m supposed to be excited for my children to grow up and be a part of?

What came next

There’s more though. As if this isn’t enough to make me give up on the human race entirely. Tragically, there’s more.

The media and even worse yet, the people who comment on those stories, all feel pity for those parents. They show their compassion by explaining how hard it was for them, all the heartache they felt, how they had nowhere to turn and no one to talk to….  those poor poor people.

Really? I realize they’d never condone the killings but really? Compassion? Pity?

If I had lost my faith in humanity because the murders happened, I gained disgust in humanity due to it’s reaction.

Murder is not ok. It’s never ok.

Child, adult, easy, hard, happy, sad, struggle, celebration, special needs or not… murder is not ok.

There is no pity. There is no compassion.

They killed someone.

Not just someone. Their child.

The rule is supposed to be that the child outlives the parent. Autistic or not. Special needs or not. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way but generally, that’s the rule. There are no conditions to the rule. There is no “unless in the case of” exception to the rule.

Is that where humanity is now? We kill our children when life is hard? Humanity is ok with that now? Because if it’s supposed to be human nature to say “it’s understandable, their life must’a sucked”… then I want no part of it.

The world lost some beautiful souls and that is the news story. Not the troubled life of the parent. Not the struggles they faced or had yet to face.

If you skimmed the 4 links above, please go back and read one more time. Read the names. They are the victims. They are the real stories.

Which brings me to the video of torture. It’s not therapy. It’s torture.

What disgusts me more than the fact that it happened?

The fact that it happened 10 years ago and we’re just seeing the video now.

That’s what disgusts me. That’s what humanity is doing now to disgust me.

Somehow, those animals were able to not only torture kids, but able to have courts not tell anyone about it for 10 whole year.

How did this happen? Red tape? Bureaucracy? Politics?

I don’t even care what it was or why. The fact that it’s taken this long… I can’t understand it.

And what’s been happening during these 10 years? Have the animals stopped torturing kids? Or have they just learned how to better cover it up?

Speculation aside, filling my head with thoughts too unbearable to think aside… 10 years.

Someone, somewhere, decided not to put a stop to this. Someone, somewhere, decided not to share this with anyone.

I may have been wrong

My son has autism… and I fear for him. I fear for his life, I fear for his well being, I fear for his sanity… as he gets older, this is the “real world” that he will be faced with.

I do not fear for his humanity though.

Because if this is humanity; torture, murder, justifying it, sweeping it under the rug…  this is not the type of humanity I wish for my children to have.

If this is humanity, I don’t want them to have any part of it.

My children will grow up to love each other and others, to try to prevent harm from others not to inflict it, to value life, not take it or damage it and to do what’s right, when it’s right to do it.

Because that’s what I have faith in. That’s what I will never be disgusted by.

I used to think those characteristics were the traits of humanity.

I’m starting to think that I may have been wrong.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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9 Responses to Murder… torture… I don’t just lose faith in humanity, I am disgusted by it

  1. Aasiyah April 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Some say we get desensitize from all these news, killing, abuse, neglect torture. As far as I am concerned no one can be desensitize by these tragic events. I am hurt, disturbed and scared for the future of my son. My children stick out like a sore thumb, they have compassion and heart, and want to help, and accept others. Because of those characteristics they are bullied and put down daily. I often think maybe my parenting skills not up to modernization, but yet again if this is the new style of parenting I just going with a good old-fashioned method. I hope one day humanity realizes how far they strayed, and maybe than they will try to find their way back.

  2. Debbie April 13, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    My heart aches for all children who are bullied, abused, neglected, tortured, tormented, and/or murdered. Like you, I don’t understand how society, as a whole, can accept this as okay. My mother raised me to be compassionate, caring, understanding, and accepting of all things, especially people. I have raised my children with those same values, and can only hope that they, in turn, will one day raise their children with those values as well. Perhaps, if enough of us keep teaching and living these values, we will one day no longer have to endure the heartache of another child’s pain.

  3. Alicia April 13, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Thank you for this post, I’m still shocked by news like this but not surprised, I learned humanity and society are terrifying a long time ago. Still trying to help those that need help and care about all but I know things are like this.

  4. Carl Young April 13, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Stuart,
    I think that you speak for many parents. Only your voice is apparently being heard. Sad commentary on society when we become numb to this tragedy.

    Remember when it was very rare for parents to kill their kids? It really wasn’t that long ago…

    As far as torture goes, not to condone it, but that cruel behavior has been happening for centuries. Doesn’t make it right.

    thank you for this post. I will share it with many people.

  5. SaraCVT April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Oh my God.

    I have twin special-needs daughters. One of them is autistic. I had assumed that the world was getting better, that their future was brighter than it would have been if they had been born only a generation ago. For one thing, they’ve been diagnosed in elementary school, and I’m not sure that would have happened in my childhood.

    But like you, I may have been wrong.

    I am now feeling really frightened for them as well as shocked that ANYONE could condone those parents’ actions. Hey, there are times my life sucks royally and I definitely struggle, but you know what? I SUCK IT UP. THESE ARE MY KIDS–THEIR LIVES ARE NOT OPTIONS. There are things you can do before you reach for that weapon–TALK to someone! Heck, I see a therapist! Yeah, you heard me…I’m not as strong as a perfect parent is. But I also don’t hurt my kids.

  6. Rebecca Magliozzi April 15, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Wow. what the hell is wrong with people? Why would you kill your child and yourself? No matter how bad it gets, feeding tube, self injury, etc, they have a right to life. I think my son with autism has a greater sense of humanity than Dr. Phil, who recently supported a mother who wanted the right to kill her two severely handicapped adult children, who she does not care for or hardly sees. She wanted to kill them because she claimed they had no quality of life. Yet when questioned, she had no idea if they were miserable or happy or a clue to their real lives. She just wanted to kill them on this presumption.
    I plan to train my boy with autism to defend himself. God forbid someone comes after him like this.

  7. WakeUp Neo April 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Dear Stuart and All,

    Thank you for putting into piercing words what so many are feeling.

    You and your readers may also wish to see the related discussion here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/13/1082898/–Students-Who-Don-t-Follow-the-Rules-Receive-Painful-Electric-Shocks-?detail=hide

  8. Richard Linder April 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Although the Judge Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the United States (maybe the world) to shock children as a punishment, abuse of this sort is extremely common in residential “treatment” centers for “troubled” teens. In fact the Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a number of reports on the issue (sources will be given). They had this and many other horrifying things to say:

    1. GAO found thousands of allegations of abuse…GAO could not identify a more concrete number of allegations because it could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data.
    2. During 2005 alone, 33 states reported 1,619 staff members involved in incidents of abuse in residential programs. GAO could not identify a more concrete number of allegations because it could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data.
    GAO Investigation Documents/Video:
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08146t.pdf
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08713t.pdf
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09719t.pdf
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdhsk-T6krs (VIDEO of testimony to US Congress).

    One can, of course, extrapolate that if nobody was keeping track on a national level and that oversight varies widely from State to State (Missouri for example has no licensing, accreditation or approval requirements for private schools) that there are many more perpetrators, particularly in the 17 States not represented in the report. Furthermore, one may easily assume that each staff member, on average, was involved in more than one case of abuse. Finally, the news reports of abusive facilities are abundant, though often ignored and rarely making the national press. I will throw just a handful out there, in a moment.

    Another horrifying report by the Department of Justice says that 12% of inmates in juvenile detention report sexual abuse, mostly by staff (9,000 minors interviewed). In some facilities as many as 30% report being raped.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/opinion/15fri3.html?_r=1

    Finally, a few resources on individual schools:
    Articles Concerning Mt. Bachelor Academy/Other Facilities (Maia Szalavitz):
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1891082,00.html
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/12/former-students-of-a-school-for-troubled-teens-sue-for-emotional-sexual-abuse/
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/07/new-efforts-to-crack-down-on-residential-programs-for-troubled-teens/
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/05/increasingly-internet-activism-helps-shutter-abusive-troubled-teen-boot-camps/

    PBS Montana: Who’s Watching the Kids?
    http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/1430387622/

    Picture of a Child in the High Impact (WWASP) Dog Cages, High Impact was a particularly abusive facility:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=high+impact+dog+cages&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1260&bih=649&tbm=isch&tbnid=GgP8cTQEw48Q-M:&imgrefurl=http://domestic-prisoners-of-conscience.weebly.com/blog.html&docid=LLGw_ToFtKIT6M&imgurl=http://henrikhansen93.home.webname.dk/images/highimpact.jpg&w=352&h=320&ei=VRw4T4WWGoGztwely8irAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=467&vpy=141&dur=167&hovh=214&hovw=235&tx=158&ty=125&sig=117697010717945438412&page=1&tbnh=138&tbnw=152&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0

    St. John’s military Academy (branded students, broken legs, shattered eye socket):
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/kan-military-school-seeks-dismissal-abuse-suit-16102140#.T5ISmGP7T1Q
    http://www.hutchnews.com/Localregional/st–johns

    Family First Boot Camp (Warning: disturbing videos included):
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/kelvin-sgt-mac-mcfarland-boot-camp-video_n_1051216.html

    If you really want to lose your cookies, look up World Wide Association of Specialty Programs, Straight inc., and Elan. Material on WWASP is most readily available; however, Straight and Elan (essentially a particularly nasty Straight clone) are templates for the modern industry. if you really want to dig deep, look up Synanon, a militant anti-drug cult responsible for the tactics at Mount Bachelor Academy (Elan and Straight use the same tactics of humiliation, and sometimes WWASP too).

    And concerning the effectiveness (they aren’t):
    Department of Health and Human Services (National Institutes of Health) says that “programs limited to scare tactics…toughness” are largely ineffective:
    http://consensus.nih.gov/2004/2004YouthViolencePreventionSOS023html.htm

    Incidentally:
    Lots of students are speaking up about Diamond Ranch Academy, which Drew recommended, too.
    “I got there when the day was almost over. They take you to the blue house… they gave me clothes and told me to change into them. So I took the clothes and went to walk back to the bathroom and they said, “no, you can’t go to the bathroom, you have to change right here.” I told them I wasn’t taking my clothes off in front of them, and they said, “Okay, we can do this the hard way or the easy way.” And that’s when I gave up and let them tell me what to do. … I stood there naked and humiliated as they made sure I didn’t have anything hidden. I felt like a criminal. I felt so dirty and ashamed. I cannot begin to express the humiliation I felt.
    Brianna, attended DRA March 19, 2007 to December 19, 2007”.

  9. Jessie July 12, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    why is it that you included that quote in this, you said at the. Beginning that you haven’t lost faith in humanity, but obviously you have, if you don’t want your children any part of it. I am a teen that is slightly autistic and I wanna say that I accept these, these aren’t common occurrences, I believe. You look at the people your age and the horrible things to their kids. Then you look at your kids and they wonder why this, they are a problem, they are innocent, that innocence makes them think the best of everything and see everyone equally, it is you, the rolemodels that kids get all there wrong opinions, I want to ask you that if you believe that there is nothing wrong with your children then they will never believe their any different from anyone else, and their not an autistic person, but just human, which is humanity, to reject humanism is to reject equality and the idea that everyone is one. Big family. Things will improve not just for your kids but all the children, because their the future, and eventulally people won’t be ‘different’ but human in a big family called humanity.

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