Sunday, November 13, 2016


When I was a child, I was taught that if a friend was about to commit a wrong, I was to try and stop them or turn them in (by telling an adult). No matter which I chose, my actions or lack thereof provided me with consequences. If I tried to stop my friend, they might become angry and belittle me. If I turned them in, I would probably lose a friend and perhaps more once word got around. Neither of these consequences were particularly pleasant and so it took a lot of courage to follow through. If I did nothing, however, I was an accomplice; for just idly standing by, I was guilty of indifference. This consequence brought guilt and shame.

Guilt and shame are often blamed on others. “That person is making me feel guilty.” “This person is shaming me.” That isn’t to say that abusive people do not use guilt and shaming tactics. There are manipulative people who purposely use strategies that invoke guilt and shame in others. But that is not the type guilt and shame I am addressing. I am talking about the kind of shame we feel when we have made choices as demonstrated by my childhood scenario. That guilt and shame is ours to own. We made the choice and now we must deal with the consequences. Psychology often refers to cognitive dissonance theory to explain how we cope with the consequences of our behavior.

During his US Election campaign, President elect, Donald Trump was exposed as having made many troubling statements and he continued to behave in a manner for which as a child, I would have been compelled to tell an adult. These are the kind of statements that most people I know would not tolerate in their own lives. Here are just a few examples.

On Women

"You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p**sy. You can do anything." –Donald Trump

"Women: You have to treat them like s--t." –Donald Trump

"You know, it really doesn’t matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass." –Donald Trump

On Violence

"If she gets to pick her judges – nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know." –Donald Trump

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay? It's, like, incredible." –Donald Trump

"I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There's a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed punch back anymore. ... I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya." –Donald Trump

On Minorities

“Now, the poor guy — you've got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don't know what I said! I don't remember!'" –Donald Trump, mocking New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a physical disability

"Look at my African American over here!" –Donald Trump

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists." –Donald Trump

Behavior brings consequences good and bad. An onlooker not involved in the media saturation of the US Election might think that the statements and actions of Mr. Trump would bring negative consequences – a huge loss of votes. However, something very odd happened instead. People came out in droves to support a man whose behavior, by most ethical standards, is abominable. I have no doubt that today, there is much cognitive dissonance among many who voted him into office. In fact, I’ve seen it in the form of “Give it to g-d” or “Let it go” and “Can we please stop talking about politics?”

Some supporters are no doubt racists, sexists, nationalists, antisemites, eugenicists, and bigots in general. These folks are not feeling any dissonance; they are probably feeling empowered. But I am also sure there are those that tuned out the media noise and simply voted status quo along party lines. And there are likely folks who only tuned into outlets that preached to their particular choir. In this case, opposing viewpoints would have been dismissed and horrendous behaviors and quotes explained away. I imagine these are the folks feeling the bite of guilt and shame now as they see it directly affecting people they care about. Some attempt to blame the media, but it does little to absolve them from their own guilt. They know they had a personal responsibility to critically analyze what was presented before them.

Those who voted for Trump now have to deal with the consequences of their actions. The shame or guilt they feel is not imposed by those protesting; it is their own. Much like that of the child who allowed a friend to shoplift and did nothing, they are feeling negative emotions when they hear how the election has affected others. These emotions are consequences. 

Shame and guilt are emotional consequences we all face when we do something for which we regret. As children we are taught to stop our peers from wrongdoing or turn them in – not to help them commit the crime. Unfortunately in the case of the 2016 Presidential Election, not only did many supporters do nothing to denounce Trump's wrongdoing, they helped promote his and others' repulsive behavior and then provided a get-away-car.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

♫ Back in the ̶U̶S̶S̶...USA?

I'm moving away from a disability-centric topic today, though this topic is inclusive of issues that directly and probably disproportionately affect the disabled. There is something much more pressing on my mind that stands to potentially eliminate Constitutional Rights in the United States. And while I typically stay away from fear-based, catastrophic political rhetoric, today I am no longer looking at things with my rose-colored-lenses; the proverbial crap is getting real.

On June 3, the New York Times published a piece that we all should critically analyze. The headline: “Donald Trump Could Threaten U.S. Rule of Law, Scholars Say.” For those who do not speak “lawyer,” rule of law basically means everyone is accountable under the law including citizens, government, and leaders (World Justice Project, 2016). Just taking in the headline, one can surmise threatening this rule is not good. Read the article. It gets worse.

Picture is of a bust of Joseph Stalin
in front of a brick wall that is
partially obstructed by an evergreen tree

Highly respected and conservative law professors are alluding that Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric (his promises to “make America great again”) are signs of a forthcoming plan for a dictatorship. That means, goodbye democracy – hello Joseph-Stalin-America [Trump has even complimented Russia's current dictator, Putin and wants to work with North Korea's Kim Yong-un] (CNN, 2016). This means, goodbye to the Bill of Rights and all the Amendments thereafter. Goodbye freedom, hello police state.

Okay, stop rolling your eyes. “He wouldn't go that far,” “No one could actually pull that off with our military,” “the US is too stable for a dictator to take over,” etc. etc.. True? A little civics lesson.

The US Government was set up with checks and balances. We have the Executive Branch (President, Vice President, and the Cabinet), Legislative (Congress), and Judicial (Supreme Court). Each branch has some power over the other. Congress and the Executive Branch are supposed to keep each other's power in check. This is not always the case, however. The real glaring problematic issue is that the Executive Branch (which includes the cabinet handpicked by the President) holds all the power of the military; the President of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. The President may not have the power to declare war, but the President can instruct the military.Worse, the constitution allows for the President or Congress to declare martial law which means they don't have to agree.

I'm looking at the headlines every week that includes gems such as “Violence flares at Trump rallies.” Trump has been caught inciting the violence. During some of the rallies he has made comments to his supporters and even threatened protesters:
I'll beat the crap out of you.”
Part of the problem ... is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.” 
If you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them.”
I love the old days—you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
(Mashable, 2016;, 2016). 
This guy obviously has no problem with using violence to get what he wants. As President, he would be in charge of the US military. 

“ As President, he would be in
charge of the US military.

Are you sure that the US checks and balances system could keep Trump in check?

Now, you might be parroting the terms of the trade: “liberal media,” “biased news,” ad nauseam… Some of the news sites might have something to gain by dissing a conservative candidate like Trump, right? Well, here's where I think it gets real.

Ilya Shapiro, David Post, Randy E. Barnett, and Richard Epstein are the contributors to The Times story and they just all happen to work for the CATO Institute. The CATO Institute defines itself as “...a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.” Libertarian to a “T.” If you read through some of the work they do, it is not hard to see they align with small government and other tenets of Libertarianism. Look at some of their individual writing and you will really get a taste.

So that brings me to my point. Trump is not a joke. This isn't reality TV where we get to vote and wait 'til next season for the another exciting episode. Voting for him could mean the end of your rights as a citizen. Using your vote to “shake up the government” because you are angry or dissatisfied might actually destroy a nation. And while you may not like your options, voting in the Presidential election isn't the answer in the first place. If you want change, you need to vote in EVERY election. We need to make change in every branch of government – not just the big one that comes every 4-8 years.

Picture displays Roman ruins with five steps up to a platform
where a piece of column has fallen and is laying sideways.
The US is facing its first major challenge to the Constitution in many years. And while it seems an impossibility that our nation could collapse, our complacency might be our demise. Lest we forget that robust and large empires have collapsed in history. Rome did eventually fall. 


Friday, January 29, 2016

Good Sportsmanship and Disability

KidsHealth defines Good Sportsmanship as when “teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials treat each other with respect.” They further go on to discuss that “the best coaches and parents encourage their kids to play fair, to have fun, and to concentrate on helping the team...”[emphasis added]. 

These bullet points break it down rather concisely:

Sportsmanship is defined as:
  • playing fair
  • following the rules of the game
  • respecting the judgment of referees and officials
  • treating opponents with respect
Rules. Respect. Fairness. None of these terms will probably seem foreign as you contemplate good sporting behavior.

But let's delve in deeper to the words respect and fairness.

Respect is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to regard (someone or something) as being worthy of admiration because of good qualities.” In the case of respect in a sporting event, one might relate this to the athlete's dedication, determination and ability.

Fairness is defined as “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.” This is a bit more complicated, but infers that one will not cheat nor will they exhibit behavior that will reflect poorly on other players or acquire some sort of special treatment for themselves. They will also not purposely behave in a way that shows they favor particular players and so forth.

Enter what this post is really about. This week, a viral news segment hit the mass media stating “Good Sportsmanship is not Dead.” It seems an undefeated high school wrestler in Norton, Mass. volunteered to wrestle an opposing team's player who happens to have an intellectual disability. According to the news, the undefeated captain let the disabled student win and is now an example for Good Sportsmanship everywhere.

I won't speculate that this wrestler did not actually let the his opponent win and that the wrestler with a disability actually won fair and square. After all, an intellectual disability does not necessarily affect strength. Oh wait. Too, late. But that is not really what this is about… This is about the definition of Sportsmanship. Did this wrestling jock actually perform good sportsmanship? Let's see.

Rules: Did the student follow the rules? One can only speculate that he did else one would hope that the referee would have made a call. 

RespectDid the student respect his opponent? No. It is quite obvious that the undefeated captain did not respect abilities or even consider the disabled wrestler might be capable. In fact, he disrespected him so much that believed that he had to throw the match in order for his opponent to feel good about himself. 

Fairness: Did he cheat? Perhaps. It depends on whether one considers throwing a match as cheating behavior. Did he exhibit behavior that reflected poorly on others? Yes. He publicly declared that he threw the match on purpose propagating the stereotype of disabled people as incapable and worthless. Did he exhibit behavior that would get him some sort of special treatment? Absolutely! Let us not forget, this student supposedly volunteered to wrestle the disabled student. This was calculated. Now he has become a viral media sensation overnight. One can imagine this looks good for his college applications. If nothing more, he gets to gloat in his moment of infamy.

So is it good sportsmanship to let a disabled person win because you feel sorry for them? Is it good to presume they are incompetent and treat them as such? Is it inspiring to read stories about typical able-bodied people feeling they are superior to those with disabilities? No. In fact, these stories though on the surface may seem inspiring to the average person, they are harmful to people with disabilities. They help spread the idea that disability=inability. They help the world continue to believe harmful stereotypes that are just blatantly untrue.

Disability is constructed by our culture and does not mean people are incapable or worth less than others. Until we stop spreading harmful stories like these, people with disabilities will continue to be treated as charity cases with few rights.

To better understand this idea, read:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Disability Exercise for Allies


You are born sighted into a world of unsighted people who have heightened other senses to navigate their world. Their sense of smell, hearing, and touch are exaggerated. But you, you can see and so as a consequence your other senses work, but not as keenly. But you do not mind because...SIGHT! You see colors and shadows and shades though you have no words to express these things. And though the human-made world such as buildings and structures are drab since the unsighted have created them, you see shapes and contrast against the colors of the natural world.

You see the blue sky, the green fields, the rich variation of nature and all its splendid colors, tints, and shades - Nature's Art. If only you had a way to convey this information to the unsighted. But alas, because they cannot see, there is no language to describe these things. You try, no matter.

When you attempt to explain to the unsighted about what you see, they tell you that you are not making any sense. They tell you that what you have to say is not meaningful. They tell you that you are disabled and therefore what you are attempting to explain is not good. They pity you.

They focus on your deficits. They worry that you cannot smell as intensely as they can. They fret over your inability to hear as acutely as they do. They fear that you will never be able to achieve great things in life because “what you see” is interfering with your ability to function in this world.

They tell you that they are working hard to find a cure for your sightedness. They hope to find a way to cure this bad sight and improve your good senses. They are working toward finding the “sightedness gene” so that they can prevent future cases of sightedness.

You feel broken. You feel bad. But you still cannot understand how seeing all the wonderful things is so wrong. If only you could convey what you see.

Then suddenly one day you notice another person looking up at a colorful bird flying overhead. They see you looking at them. They are sighted as well!
You begin talking about your experiences and find how much you have in common. You have mutual struggles – the inability to communicate what you see in words, the frustrations of trying to get the others to understand that seeing does not make you less – than but makes you unique, the fears you have of those trying to remove your sightedness from you, and the terrifying idea of preventing future sighted persons from being born. The struggles you have with others expecting you to smell and hear as strongly as they do. You decide there must be others and set out to find them.

Over time, you find others and form a disability community of sighted people. But while this happens, parents of sighted persons all over the world also attempt to join this disability community. Both want society to treat those with sight better. But the goals of the entities are very different.

The sighted people want to keep their sight and promote the goodness of sight. They know that being able to see is a wonderful thing for them yet acknowledge they are disadvantaged in this world due to their other weaker senses.

But the parents, they do not understand this. They believe that their children are harmed by their sightedness. The parents believe that the sighted only believe they are benefiting because they do not know any better. The parents say that the sighted are not able to make good decisions because they are disabled. They say the sighted do not have the capability to determine what is best for themselves. The parents fight hard against allowing the sighted to advocate for change in society.

The unsighted also hold power. They form large organizations dedicated to stopping and preventing sightedness. They recruit sponsorships from trusted corporations and celebrities.

Meanwhile, you and the other sighted try desperately to speak out against removing your sight. But the behemoth organization continues to drown you out with their massive campaigns that promote fear. They tell the unsighted public that sighted people are dangerous. They scream that the sighted are costing the unsighted too much money. And they promote the idea that the sighted are burdens to their families.

But you keep on trying to change the perception of sight. You still have no words to convey these beautiful colors that you see. You cannot accurately explain what it is like to see. You attempt to communicate how you are okay with your other sensory deficits as a sacrifice for this amazing gift of sight but no one listens. But you hope with all your heart that someone, someday will finally hear you. 

Now...replace sightedness with a known disability and read this again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

6 Signs You Are Living in a Mental Health Fantasy Bubble

You believe…

1) Calling 911 for a mental health emergency means trained “help” will arrive soon.
Reality? It is more likely the local untrained (lethally armed) police will be dispatched and potentially make the situation more volatile and deadly.

2) There are medical professionals that understand mental health issues waiting nearby to help in a crisis
when needed.

Reality? They are very few mental health or medical professionals available for crisis intervention. Most rural areas do not have crisis teams and defer to the 911 dispatch for a mental health crisis.

3) There are medications that actually work and with few side effects.
Reality? Few medications work all the time and often only provide some relief. Many if not all of them have undesirable side effects – some of which cannot be tolerated and can even be fatal.

4) Public spaces are safe spaces.
Reality? When one has to worry about their behavior being reported to authorities as odd or deviant, one is never safe in public spaces. See #1 above.

5) There are a variety of options for treating and living with mental health issues that are not restrictive and readily available.
Reality? Treatment today consists of medication (see #3 above) and for those who can afford it, psychological/behavioral interventions. There is a shortage in most areas for these services as well as a lack of consistency for providing evidence based programs and having the funds to pay for them. Most people do not receive the treatments or services they need. For those experiencing severe crisis, inpatient treatment consists of an extremely restrictive placement where patients are treated much like criminals. There are few supports available if any, for those living in their own homes. Worse, there is no tolerance by society for minor behavioral differences and so those who present with such differences are forced to either fit in or avoid public spaces (see #4 above).

5) Seeing a host of mental health and medical professionals guarantees one is receiving a high level of care.
Reality? The quality of care a patient gets is often left up to a combination of how diligent and educated about their diagnosis the patient is, luck – falling in with some good doctors and providers, and how close to metropolitan areas one lives – the closer to a city, the better the selection of services and providers. Even so, most medical doctors do not inquire about a patient's mental health. Most mental health providers do not communicate with the medical providers due to privacy law inconveniences.

6) Suicide prevention hotlines consist of help on the other end.
Reality? Sometimes they give little advice such as “go take more meds” or even attempt to involve authorities (see calling 911 above).

It is noble to spread Internet memes telling folks to reach out for help. But we need to put our money where our mouths are. The mental health help of television and movies is pure fantasy. It would be so easy if only the care was actually there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Serotonin Syndrome - What You Need to Know

You are taking antidepressants (SSRI, SNRI, Tricyclic, St. John's Wort) or migraine medications (Triptans) or maybe treating a terrible cough with an over-the-counter cough syrup (dextromethorphan). Maybe you are taking a combination of drugs such as medication for a cough while taking your daily antidepressant. At first, you may think that the dizziness, chronic agitation, and fast heart rate are signs you just need to rest. But soon you develop seizure-like muscular twitches and jerks and perhaps uncontrollable shaking in the form of tremors that come and go. Perhaps you feel electrical-like jolts in your spine or head. You may have trouble sleeping and concentrating. When you see a health professional, it is concluded you are having severe anxiety, panic attacks, and/or [insert some psychological cause]. In reality, you may be suffering from Serotonin Syndrome - a poorly understood, potentially life threatening syndrome that is caused by excessive effects of serotonin on the nervous system and it is being missed by many health professionals.

A lot times, health professionals do not recognize the mild and moderate cases of this syndrome. When asked, emergency room professionals tend to dismiss the symptoms remarking that the patient is not “sick enough” to have serotonin syndrome basing this on the idea that patients must present with severe life-threatening symptoms for diagnosis. A study in 2013 by Cooper and Sejnowki found that 85% of physicians were unaware of this syndrome as a potential clinical diagnosis.

To help educate yourself about this syndrome, see Table 1 below for the symptoms.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who takes a drug that could elevate the amount of serotonin in the bloodstream is at risk. In the recent past, this syndrome was mostly associated with the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly known as SSRIs (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013). Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil are some of the most common brand names but there are many more. However this syndrome is not limited to these drugs which is part of the diagnostic problem; many other drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, nausea, migraine headaches, pain, and even over the counter common-cold remedies can cause this syndrome (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013). See Table 2 below for a list of drugs that have been implicated in serotonin syndrome.

A little history

As far back as the mid 1950s, it was found that taking a certain prescription drugs could cause this syndrome. It is a little cloudy as which kinds of drugs were implicated first. One study implicates drugs in a class called HT3 receptor antagonists (Gillman, 1998). Drugs such as Zofran (ondansetron) are used today to treat nausea in a variety of disorders, including cancer, fall into this class. Another points to older medications used to treat depression - the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like Nardil (phenelzine) (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013). More recently, it was believed that only overdoses and combinations of high doses of these drugs could cause it. It is understandable why there is so much confusion in the field; the information about the syndrome continues to evolve.

What should I do?

If you are experiencing the mild symptoms of serotonin syndrome, see your doctor as soon as possible to discuss potential treatment options. DO NOT STOP MEDICATION WITHOUT THE HELP OF A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL! ABRUPTLY STOPPING A MEDICATION CAN CAUSE OTHER POTENTIALLY SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS! Your doctor may discuss other medication options and begin a weaning process or even just reduce the dose of your medications to alleviate symptoms. If you are experiencing moderate symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately – especially if you have a fever. Be sure to bring a list of all medications, including over the counter and herbal/vitamins you may be taking.

I am a firm believer in Western medicine. I don't particularly love our current fee for service health care reimbursement system and the inequalities that result but that has nothing to do with this story. What I do believe is that the West generally has some of the best medical research and providers of medicine in the world. Everyday we see new innovative ways to treat and prevent diseases that once were death sentences for our ancestors. But with the cutting edge of innovation in real-time, comes risk. We need a better system of information flow because too many people are getting sick and not enough professionals understand the cause.

Table 1 Symptoms

Mild symptoms include (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013):
  • Tachycardia – an abnormally fast heart rate while at rest (not exercising or exerting oneself). For adults a heart rate > 100 beats per minute (BPM), in adolescents > 90 BPM
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Body tremors (uncontrollable shaking) or clonus (spasmodic jerky contraction of groups of muscles).
  • twitching or spastic muscles
  • Agitation
Moderate symptoms include all the mild symptoms plus (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013):
  • Fever of 104° F (40 ° C)
  • Hyperactive bowel sounds
  • More severe twitching and inducible clonus (can actually bring the episodes on with stress or by just thinking about them)
  • Ocular clonus – eye ball twitching or involuntary movements
Severe life-threatening symptoms include all mild and moderate plus (Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013):
  • Hypertension – High blood pressure
  • Delirium – a confused mental state
  • Muscle rigidity – muscles are involuntarily tensed
  • Hypertonicity – resistance to muscles being stretched
  • High Fever > 105.8° F (41 ° C)
  • Metabolic acidosis – too much acid in the bloodstream (found through lab workup)
  • Rhabdomyolysis - death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream (found through lab workup)
  • Elevation of serum aminotransaminases and creatinine (found through lab workup)
  • Seizure
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy – widespread coagulation of blood clots
Note. Adapted from Serotonin syndrome: recognition and treatment. AACN advanced critical care, 24(1), 15-20, by Cooper & Sejnowski, 2013.

Table 2 Drugs That Have the Potential to Cause Serotonin Syndrome


Ergot alkaloids

Methylene blue


St. John's wort




Tricyclic antidepressants

Valproic acid

SNRI: serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor; SS: serotonin syndrome; SSRI: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

Note. Adapted from Drug-Induced Serotonin Syndrome. U.S. Pharmacist, 35(11) by C. Brown, 2010, 

Works Cited
Brown, C. (2010). Drug-Induced Serotonin Syndrome. U.S. Pharmacist, 35(11). Retrieved from

Cooper, B. E., & Sejnowski, C. A. (2013). Serotonin syndrome: recognition and treatment. AACN advanced critical care, 24(1), 15-20.

Gillman, P. (1998), Serotonin syndrome: history and risk. Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 12: 482–491. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.1998.tb00976.x

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Abusive and Murderous Care-taking does not Evoke Compassion

A simple Google News search will turn up hundreds of results of abuse, neglect, and filicide (the murder of a child by a parent). Doing this search is not for the faint of heart. If you want to feel real pain for the suffering of children, by all means search away. The following are some snippets for which I am issuing a huge trigger warning; the details are highly disturbing.
  • Rachel Ball pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, two felony drug counts and a misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child after her toddler, Kayleigh, died from drug exposure to cocaine and heroin in February 2015. Ball admitted to watching her boyfriend physically abuse Kayleigh, even leaving him alone with Kayleigh at times to do so.
  • In December 2014, Lindsey Nicole Blansett waited until midnight to enter her 10-year-old son Caleb's room with a rock and a knife. She hit him over the head with a rock and stabbed him seven times until he was dead.
  • In what is considered a family effort, Mary C. Rader and her parents Deanna and Dennis Beighley nearly starved her 7-year-old son to death. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh staff was quoted as saying this was the worst case of child neglect they had ever encountered. He was less than 20 pounds when authorities rescued him. He also suffered injuries from beatings he incurred and was held prisoner in the family home. His three siblings all were healthy and attended school regularly.

Are you sick yet? Are you angry yet?

  • In January 2014, 17-month old Lucas Ruiz was poisoned to death by his mother who injected hand sanitizer into his tiny body causing acute alcohol poisoning. His father, who had also been feeding the tiny babe rum, was quoted as saying their son "would be better off dead, and that he wished he (the child) would die…".
  • In 2013, 14-year-old Alex Spourdalakis was murdered by his mother and godmother. First they forced sleeping pills down his throat and when that didn't work his mother stabbed the teenage boy multiple times in the chest as he lay in bed. She then slashed his wrist, nearly cutting off his hand while the godmother killed the family cat.
  • In April of 2012, 4-year-old Daniel Corby was drowned in a bathtub by his mother. She filled the tub, put him in the bath and held him under until he was dead. She then wrapped him in a blanket and put him the backseat of her car.

Do you feel compassion for the murderers?

You must be shaking by now. I know I am. As a parent I cannot fathom how anyone could ever think to hurt a child, let alone their own. The last three examples, Lucas's, Alex's, and Daniel's stories are often met with public sympathy for the murders, however. I hope after reading these awful crime snippets you are complete aghast at how one could feel any sort of compassion or sorrow for the murderer. I hope that you instead are feeling compassion and sorrow for the victim and the people who truly loved and mourn that victim; not the selfish murderous parent.

But society has given some leniency to killing people who are different than themselves. You see, these boys all had some form of a disability. And so it is with ease that you will find articles that dismiss the murders as “mercy killings.” There is no mercy in murder. There is no compassion evoked by these stories. By accepting the mercy killing ideal, society promotes that  people who have disabilities, who are different, are worthless and burdens. 

This is unacceptable.

A list of murdered disabled people can be found here: