By now, everyone knows about the pink letter from “One p***ed off mother
” to the Begleys
, the parents of a child with autism. P’ed
off mother suggested that Maxwell Begley
should be euthanized since he will never marry or have a normal life. The general consensus of the public, however, is that P’ed
off mother should herself, be euthanized for writing her ugly screed.
The outpouring of hatred against the pink letter-writer was enormous. How could a mother be so lacking in maternal feeling?
I was forced to follow the story in my Facebook newsfeed since this is not the kind of piece I am generally attracted to reading or hearing about on television. I like hard news. This is not that.
This is a provocative piece of fluff.
Of course, for Maxwell Begley’s family, the recipients of P’ed off mother’s letter, this was no piece of fluff. Getting that letter was like being sucker punched in the gut. It HURT.
“What would have hurt me most,” I wondered, “had this been a letter written to me about my child, God forbid?”
Would it have been the part urging the Begleys to donate to science whatever “non-retarded body parts” the 13 year-old child in question possesses? Would it be the part about his “noise polluting whaling [sic]?”
The Durham Regional Police in Newcastle, Ontario, where the Begleys live are considering filing criminal charges against P’ed off mother. Not that they’re calling this a hate crime. They think that an arrest will deter others from following her bad example. At most, maybe they’ll force P’ed off mother to do community service or some such, teach her a lesson.
Torrent Of Hatred
More appalling to me than this story, however, was the public torrent of hatred against P’ed off mother.
That’s right. Part of my sympathy is with her, as much as the rest of my sympathy quotient remains with the Begleys for having received that letter.
The consensus on Facebook freaked me out: P’ed off mother is the one who should be euthanized, they all said, my erstwhile Facebook friends—well, friend, in the singular, at any rate. I had unfriended and blocked one of them after giving her a piece of my mind.
“My God,” I thought. “They can’t be serious.”
Not A Full Deck
Clearly P’ed off mother is not dealing with a full deck. She’s mentally ill. Insane. Do we just kill off all the insane people when they say stuff we don’t like?
“What would THAT teach our children?” I wondered to myself.
They called it “murder of the unfit” and referred to the disabled as “life unworthy of life” or “useless eaters.”
So then I wondered: where is the thin line between evil and insane? In killing those with mental illnesses and disabilities were Hitler and his henchmen themselves insane or simply evil? Would we say they were in need of treatment?
These are difficult questions to answer and greater minds than my own have wrestled with them, I am sure.
For myself, less important than this question now is our immediate reaction to P’ed off mother. By calling for her death we become her: someone who clamors for another’s death. We become ugly, like her.
Instead, let us consider the idea that she is mentally ill, that her mother raised her without empathy for those with disabilities and their families. Let us fear for her children, raised in such a home. What can we do to help them?
I think community service for P’ed off mother is a good start. But let her bring her children with her. Let them work in a soup kitchen, read stories to children in a pediatric oncology ward, or volunteer their services to tutor children in after school programs such as those underwritten by car donation program Kars for Kids
Let them nurture the good that must exist in their hearts, unless we are to believe that some children are just born evil. Let them spend time in close proximity with those God made different and see their struggles and their joy in living in spite of those struggles.
Let them learn that all life is worth living.
And let them learn that having people with disabilities among us is an ever-present reminder of that truth.
Varda Meyers Epstein writes about current educational issues in her capacity as a communications writer and blogger at the nonprofit organization Kars4Kids.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.