Tag Archives: disabilities

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System

Reblogged from takingthemaskoff.com

This is an excellent post on one scenario of how two people, simply due to the circumstances of their birth, end up on two separate paths. I know that sounds trite and like every other story, but please read this one

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System.
A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System
November 30, 2014 125 Comments

1

“You know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see the party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re weak, please let us in.” After about a week that song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of that food! I’m breakin down that door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry”

– Tupac Shakur

It is my hope that we have a silent army building. The revolution will not be televised. But I see the replies I get, and it gives me hope.

I saw an article in the New York Times basically saying there would be less shootings if the mentally ill had less privacy and were more easily forced to be hospitalized. This is the New York Times! Who are the sick ones?

I’m going to tell a story. 2 stories, of 2 different people. They are both true stories. Then you can see how this all begins and becomes a problem. I’ll go back and forth between the stories until their paths meet.

Here’s Dusty, I don’t know, age 3 to 5. Happy kid, plenty of love. Just loves everyone and loves the world. He doesn’t see color, sex, religion. He has nokind of discrimination, all he sees is love.

Here’s the second story. This is my cousin Donald. The man he is with is my father. Donald also loves the world, he sees no race, sex, and discriminates against no one. He is a very loving and giving kid.

Dusty gets older. He still loves everyone and everything. However, Dusty grew up in a home that was infested with cockroaches, and had been condemned 2 to 3 times. There was about 7 or 8 kids living there, they had no food. Dusty was the kindest of the group. He got beaten by his brothers, picked on, and thrown around. He was told “You are a loser, give me your money, do my work.” He did not understand, he gave whatever he had to others.

When I met Dusty he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had 4 brothers and sisters, they all smoked pot, drank, and never went to school. Everyone walked around this place with almost no clothes. They had only 2 bedrooms. The house was full of smoke.

Cockroaches were all over. They had no shower, and a bathroom with only a curtain covering it. The old guys would come around drinking, smoking weed, and getting physical. The older kids were getting worse also.

There was something special about Dusty, his heart. He was born with an amazing heart. He loved everyone, and gave all he had. To tell you of this kids strength, words won’t do it justice. As a 9 year old, he was growing up in a house in which every adult was punching, smoking weed, drinking, and stealing. Also, the gangsters knew where the weed was. THE house, that’s where they were. But Dusty, at age 9, he refused to smoke weed or drink or do any of that. However, being sweet and sensitive, he was an easy target. He did not stop loving though, he still loved them all. He saw through it, through everything, even as a kid. So what happens when you are extra sensitive, caring, and loving? You get pushed down, forced to create a mask, his was the goofy guy. This is the same house where I met Joe. Dusty and Joe were cousins and best friends.

Here is Donald. He is my cousin. He was a great kid. His father was a doctor in a small town, he made lots and lots of money. That doesn’t make Donald bad, and he is not bad. In fact, he’s a wonderful human being. I know this story puts him in privileged category. But, that is not his fault, he is still a caring, kind, and considerate human being. His father, my uncle, was once in jail for stealing cars and grew up to be a doctor. The thing about Donald was, he was born gifted, and extremely smart. He was above the genius level. He may have skipped a grade, I can’t remember. He was and is not a bad person.

However, while Dusty was seeing what he saw, Donald was going on trips, and getting the best life had to offer. He worried for nothing, he could be a kId and thrive.

Thrive he did. He is a talented, smart, and funny guy that had charisma. He didn’t have to worry about gangsters, getting food, getting raped, or having mice and cockroaches sleep on him. He had a huge bedroom, went on vacations, had all he ever wanted. He had great parents. Now another thing I noticed about Donald was that when I went to spend 2 weeks with him when I was 12, was that in this small town everyone drank, and did drugs, at age 12. Which is common for a small town. They were 12 and flung this. All of his friends.

One time we went to his friends house, the kid was sleeping and the kid woke up, and lifted his pillow and there was jack daniels. They all smoked and drank, except Donald. His parents taught him this.

Dusty did it on strength of character. Donald friends said “man your dad is always getting thanked in the paper.” That was true, small town legend.

Donald’s pressure was to follow his father, and that is a different kind of pressure. One that is often not considered a problem, the gifted child.

However, that is just as hard as raising a troubled child. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. What they both had in common was they were gifted.

Dusty then ended up going away for a while after missing so much school. His brothers would go just enough to not get sent away. Dusty was the extra sensitive one, he didn’t care. Me and Dusty and Joe had a bond, we all loved each other and saw behind each other’s masks. One time, on the phone, Dusty had called his mom and said, “tell mike I lo, well never mind,” he wanted to tell me he loved me, but he was afraid. I stopped hanging out there.

That’s another story, this isn’t about me. Dusty eventually surrendered and started using drugs. Then, they had a guy from Arizona living at the drug house, his name was Carl. He had packages of drugs delivered to the house all the time. The police got involved, and a sting was set up. So the package is delivered, they all have Dusty answer because he is kind and wants to help. So he always does, and he did on this case as well.

Well, he signed, and he gets arrested, and now he has a felony. They knew it was not him, he gets interrogated, and interrogated. Does he give Carl up?, nope, never. This was when Dusty was 19. That’s his booking photo. He went to jail, then he just got off probation recently.

This is someone you may see in jail, or at the shelter, or with the dirty clothes. That’s what you see, but this is what you’re missing when you make that judgement. These are the kids that come into our neighborhood, come to school, to church. We say get them out, those dirty kids with no manners. We don’t want to look at them, it’s like clutter in our clean house. We don’t want to deal with it, we want to pretend it’s not there. Then we may have to do something. So we ignore them and label them and call them losers or dirtbags. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

But that is how we all are part of the problem and we ask are co responsible for the inequality. You see these kids, these people, and no action is am action. Silence is consent.

Here’s Donald at age 19. He had a child. Now that’s a disaster if he’s in Dusty’s situation. However, Donald had great supports in place. His mom and dad helped the teenagers adjust, made sure everything was taken care of.

Donald was able to go to school and while Dusty was in jail, Donald was excelling. He finished college in 3 years and went on to medical school and finished. He’s a doctor. Now again, he’s not bad, not a superstar yet, I don’t think.

He is now starting to isolate, he is on a different level than others and he gets told that alot. So he believes it, so does his wife. So now the good doctor moves and starts dominating the medical profession.

They told me his iq is 156. I’m sure they told him too. He then joined the army like his father and got lots of medals and accolades.

Which is not bad. This is simply to show how we start to label and separate.

Here is Dusty taking care of his dying mother. He gets out of jail, meets a girl, and they have kids. He didn’t know how to have a relationship, he is on his own with no college, no skills, no understanding of life. Just love.

Then you have Donald with his 500 thousand dollar house that got egged.

How do I know this? Well his wife posted on Facebook that someone egged their 500 thousand dollar house but she wasn’t worried because they had security cameras all over the house. You know, to keep the “bad criminals out.”

Like clutter, she didn’t want to see that.

I also saw her post once that she was very upset with the mayor in the town they live in because he allowed a Wal-Mart to be built by their house. Her quote was “who else has to look out their 500 thousand dollar house and see a Wal-Mart, someone needs to stop this guy, do not vote for him.”

See as the separation is almost complete. What did dusty do to be placed below donald?

Nothing. But we see them each walking down the street and we treat them differently. That’s how we all contribute.

Dusty getting older, he split with his kids mom. He suffers from depression, severe depression. He feels rejected all the time, he smokes weed to forget, to not be himself.

He talks about suicide all the time. He misses Joe more than anyone. His heart is broken. Dusty and Joe spent all their time together. They even moved 2 blocks down from me for 2 years. I would drive by and wave. Really? Yes. I was no better than Donald. Even worse, because I drive by, and we still talked from time to time, but I was trying to get my life together. I could have said hi.

The doctor and his family. Now this is not an attack in Donald at all. It is about how we create separation. He worked hard, he’s caring, and he is a good man. He just started to believe he was different and better. He got told lies.

Lies we all believe, like, you need this huge house, cars, medals, and everyone to see how awesome you are.

So he fell in the trap. Here we are, the “look at us” photo.

You know how the native americans defined mental illness? They said anyone who lives in excess of what they need is mentally ill.

The doctors wife at the ritz.

Dusty and his kid at the laundromat.

The doctor and his boat.

Dusty at the playground. Having fun.

The doctors daughter with one of her trophies, she had special tennis lessons, beauty pageants, and she going to Oxford college on scholarship.

Same thing as Donald, smart talented kid. No fault of her own, the cycle continues. She is being brainwashed like he was.

He had a mask on as well. Still does.

Dusty being a dad and loving. He never knew life would be so hard when all he wanted to do was love.

The doctor is now continuing to serve and get accolades. To bad it’s all a lie.

Now this part is not real, but an example of what would likely happen from what I’ve seen in my years being in both worlds……

Now what happens if Dusty walks into Dr. Donalds office? How in the world can the doctor understand what Dusty is saying. Dusty says “Life isn’t worth living, I need to smoke weed.”

The doctors response is usually, “He just doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to work, he wants disability.” The thought process I’ve seen a million times. All the time, it’s the rule, not the exception.

So, let’s say Dusty had attempted suicide 2 times, and keeps coming back. He has to in order to get benefits and to get housing for himself.

The doctor is frustrated, in his mind he’s trying hard. That’s what life is, you just don’t behave like that in his opinion. In his world, you get up, work hard, and get it done. He can’t understand why Dusty complains that no medications work, yet continues to use drugs, and goes to the hospital.

He thinks Dusty has children, and he’s not taking care of them, he’s a “Predator” or a “Manipulator” or “Gamey.”

This is when I hear things like, why do they get free healthcare and we don’t. Almost a resentment at the patients. This is something that I see daily. The caring staff keep their mouths shut in fear.

So now Dusty has to be forced to take meds. He doesn’t get it, we have to help him. So we will put him on meds, and we aren’t going to listen to his side effects stories. We are going to force injections if he doesn’t comply with orders.

He can’t take care of himself. We have to in the doctors opinions.

Oh and, let’s charge insurance about 1500 dollars a day to do this. If the drugs give him diabetes, that’s too bad because he needs to be safe.

Good job young doctor, you’re saving the world.

Now Dusty has not been without weed for years, so asking him to stop is asking him to feel all these feelings that he has never felt before. Forcing him to take his mask off without support. The feelings he had been told to block his whole life, the feelings that have made him an outsider and not accepted.

Then give him a med that makes him feel no better for at least 6 weeks. Then it might not be the right medication, so we may have to start all over.

He will have side effects like drooling, sedation, diarrhea, and tremors. That occurs right away. Plus feeling all these emotions. Then when he sleeps too much we say that he is lazy, or non compliant with his treatment.

So we force him out of bed, and we make him go to groups with someone explaining all these “skills” he needs to use. Then he can’t participate due to the meds, the side effects, being off drugs his brain had coffee to rely on, and now having to freak with all these suppressed emotions.

So he is said to be non interested. So we need to give him more medications.

Of course we do.

Now he’s angry. No one listens, he’s sensitive, but he has had enough. He explodes from this and other patient’s likely taking advantage of him, and staff telling him when he can shower, piss, and treat him like a criminal.

Because, we say, look at his record, he is a felon. No one asks why or what happened, and they won’t believe him anyways, he’s a “manipulator.”

True story…

We had a young man admitted to our place the other day. I’ll call him “kev.” Abused age 1 to 3. A ward off the state at age 3. Picture a 3 year old being abused and taken from home, then a 3 year old in a privileged home, they’re is no difference, why do we seem to think as adults that there is? He was in foster homes his whole life, sexually abused, and beaten.Then at age 19 he committed an armed robbery, and he was shot 3 times. Then he Went to max security prison for 7 years. In prison, he cuts himself enough to need surgery, he has been known to swallow glass, and toothbrushes requiring surgery.

The assessment by “the team.” Is that he is “smooth, and manipulative.” He swallowed these things to get to go to hospital, a trip out of jail.

This is dangerous to call him manipulative. If I think you are manipulative then everything you do I take as a con. If we instead think of him as this kid who has a desparate need for acceptance and love, you will treat him differently. Then he will react differently. Then he gets better treatment. Our staff are young, impressionable, and eager to learn about psychiatry since it is romanticized on the media at times.

However if you work in government, they need to save the taxpayers money, they don’t want us spending “their” money. We have to hire inexperienced staff, because they are cheaper. We train them by what they see. The cycle continues.

So why would someone like Dusty shoot his doctor? It’s not so black and white if you look deep enough.

What’s the difference between…

This 19 year old young dad.

And this…

This young dad? (This is Joe and Anthony from last post)

The answer is nothing. Until we divide them. When we divide, we create class, uppers and lowers. When really we are all connected.

It won’t end. It can’t. Until people start fighting back. The battle is not going to be easy, we won’t see the end. We won’t see the victory. That will come after we’re gone.

But there is going to be a fight, we know that there is going to be a fight because we are going to start it. We will lose some, as we lost Joe. We won’t stop. Love always wins. Always.

If I’ve made you mad, then I’ve done my job. Happy people don’t create change. You have to be angry, you must have discontent to create change. So be angry. Then do something about it.

If 1 person reading this gets 1 thing and does something, that’s perfect. The ripple effect will be huge.

Love you Dusty.

The end.

If you want to see this in video.
Here it is..10 minutes I think.

 

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Susanne Atanus: “Everybody knows that God controls weather […] God is super angry[.]”

I didn’t think it was possible that a woman of such extremism her own GOP opponent regarded her with an extended expression of disbelief during their “debate.” Because how do you have a debate with someone who just repeats, “God is angry.” I know, because I tried, but more on that in a minute.

So, if this last winter has been “God…super angry,” what’s he like when he’s really pissed off? Sounds like we’re talking old testament God here. The one before sharknadoes and…rats, I forget the other one. We’re having a heck of a time with moths right now, so let’s just combine the two and call it a mothzilla. Or was it a grizzard?

I haven’t had any personal conversations with God lately, nor am I in any specially ordained position in a church, temple, or bakery (sorry, that’s Jesus, chip off the old block?) or, apparently, congressional candidates to receive the word of God. Normally when people hear the voice of God, he tells them to go out and build a big boat and collect things (like Pokemon), take their child to the top of a tall hill and kill them, or turns people to pillars of salt. Now, I take that one personally, as someone with a chronic kidney condition. That’s just not funny. (snerk) But I’m still not going to blame God personally for the fact I do. I just do. It’s not progressive. Hopefully. And that’s it.

God also isn’t responsible for my having severe depression, a generalized anxiety disorder, a slight cognitive disorder (fish oil helps a lot for that, but it was Jesus with the loaves and the fishes–see, something helpful?), or mild ADD. Nope. I was just born that way. God didn’t decide to make people who are gay the instruments of all demonic evil and destruction. People who are gay were born that way too. People with autism were born that way. Ask an adult with autism if they would change the way they are. It’s not easy. It’s not easy for anyone who is different. But ask them if they would completely change who they are.

And hear this, Susanne Atanus, if you are saying that there is something intrinsically wrong with people with disabilities, will you please explain to them what that is? Because some of the best, most honest, most loving, and most caring people I have ever met in my 45 years on this planet have had disabilities, from mild to severe, and if you tell me any of these people have a problem I would really like to hear what you have to say. Officially I have mental disabilities, and I will tell you without a shred of doubt in my mind I certainly didn’t get this way because of the existence of gay people in the world. Oh, I’d like to hear what you have to say to the parents of these people with disabilities as well. And the young woman I worked with in a Life Skills Special Education Classroom in high school, now in her early twenties, who is now living on her own and doing a kick-ass job of it (you go, girl!). Is God angry about that too? I don’t think so. I am incredibly proud of her, and so is everyone I know who ever worked with her. I feel honored to have worked with her for a year, to have been a little part of her life.

The weather is messed up because careless human beings have screwed it up. That’s not something you want to own up to, is it? It’s easier to blame it on God. I don’t think he’s sitting around melting the ice caps. I’ll tell you who’s super angry. Penguins. Polar Bears. Seals. They’re pissed. We’re destroying their home. And I tell you, when these Penguins decide to do recon, it’s not going to be the happy little “Smile and wave” Penguins from “Madagascar.” Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve been fouling up the air with coal smoke. Nasty stuff. If you don’t believe me, look at the reconstruction they’re having to do in high coal-use cities in Europe and even older cities here, the ones where statues and buildings are coated with it and black. That wasn’t God. Unless God told us where the coal was because he was already angry at all of us, and since the boat didn’t work the first time, he decided to get the ball rolling on a nice big weather disaster again. The Titanic didn’t work either.

There is no reasoning with you because everything you say is a circular cycle of blame leading back to “God is angry.” That isn’t an argument. That’s your personal belief. Which you are clearly entitled to have. It is not however, a political platform. I think we had this conversation. Church, state, two different things.

At this point, I would like to relate what I mean by trying to have a reasonable conversation. This is an email conversation with Susanne Atunus at the time she was a declared candidate for office, and I emailed her at that address, asking her questions about her position which anyone could have asked her. I do not see an problem posting them here, as I have not altered a word either of us wrote. I did not actually think she would continue a conversation with me, so I was surprised she continued it as long as she did. She thinks it’s okay for our security that the NSA monitor email. I think it’s okay for our security that everyone have access to this email. At that point, I also had no idea she would actually win the candidacy. I thought people might be more reasonable. This is not a libelous statement, as the words she wrote are her own. My words are my own. I have removed email addresses. Anyone wishing to contact Ms. Atanus can look up the candidates for the 9th Congressional District of Illinois.
———————————————————————————————-
Wendy Clements

Jan 26
Dear Ms. Atanus,

I believe that when our forefather created this country, they had several things in mind. One of the primary and most critical was the separation of church and state. This means, that as a representative of the 9th District, you do not represent God, you represent your constituents and keep your personal views regarding religion to yourself.

You have to make a decision which is most important, religion or politics, because they are supposed to remain separate matters entirely, one never entering the floor of Congress whatsoever. If that is an impossibility, then I would trust where your true passions lie and serve either church or state, but not both, as that is not only violates the constitution, but treads on morally and ethically shaky ground.

I do believe in global warming, and that it is caused by all humans, not just a select few chosen as targets. Zealots do not belong in congress, but there is a home for them in the church. Love thy neighbor, and practice Christianity as it was meant to be practiced. I haven’t seen any bolts of lightening striking anyone down, so I don’t think God has any issues.

There is a revolution in the Ukraine. There is a crisis in Syria. There are crises in the education and economic systems of our own country. Congress needs to pay attention to these matters and stop playing a shell game of distraction.

Thank you for your attention,
Wendy Clements

 

[From Susanne Atanus]

Jan 27

to me

Freedom of speech. We have exteeemeeely cold weather today. God is angry and I cannot look the other way. How can you?

 

From: Wendy Clements
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 1:37 AM
Subject: Congressional 9th District Seat

Jan 27

to Susanne
Which God? In war, how is God always on both sides, both sides believing with equal fervor that God supports their cause. God has better things to do than care about whether two men or two women marry, or love each other. Love thy neighbor, be unto others as you would unto yourself, the golden rule, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. That one isn’t in the bible–that one is let the one without sin throw the first stone. What is religion without self-examination? Self-righteousness, bitter hatred, claiming to speak in God’s name, setting yourself on a pedestal above all others, those are things God wouldn’t approve of. There is no place in a secular position for a person who acts in the name of God–freedom of speech does not mean church and state should mix.

I would concern myself about whether or not the constituents are angry, about the economy, with the employment rates, and the unemployment rates. With the dismal conditions our schools are in, and lack of funding to both education and social services, to programs that serve Veterans who have fought for this country, in the name of God, and are now homeless and having their benefits cut. Stop using trivial matters such as same sex marriage to try to divert people from the true, serious issues at hand that impact everyone in a very real, very tangible way.

Sincerely,
W. Clements

 

Susanne Atanus
Jan 27

to me
I am running for daily positive returns on stocks; with more income and gov’t. revenue we will purchase more goods and services, and this will create more jobs; all this without raising taxes! I did not use the word punishment I cannot ignore we have extreemeely cold days and 24 tornadoes in 2 hours that hit 3 counties in IL on a Sunday afternoon around noon that was catastrophic, horrible with lots of damage.

God is angry and provoked with sin including gay and abortions. Please pray for cures for newer diseases, too. Please pray that God will heal our land.

 

From: Wendy Clements
To: Susanne Atanus
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: Congressional 9th District Seat

Jan 28

to Susanne
Where does the money for these stocks come from, and how can you guarantee a daily positive return? The budget is being cut, not increased, how can you count on more government revenue? I assume the more income is from the stocks? I don’t see how more goods and services will be purchased from that, thereby creating more jobs, with no other source of income other than daily returns from stocks (which would have to be high risk stocks to give you daily returns). The foundations for the fiscal support system for your whole district would be based solely on income from stocks? I don’t know if a financial adviser would recommend that for one persona, unless they had money invested elsewhere, but for an entire congressional district? Good luck.

It is extremely cold because not only are we experiencing global warming, weather tends to occur in patterns. Around here we hear a lot of older people saying it hasn’t been this cold since 1972. That sounds about right. Every 30-40 years the weather pattern changes. If you look Illinois up in Wikipedia, it has had the most weather extremes of any state in the nation, due not to God but because of its “length and mid-continental placement.” Also, according to the same source, the deadliest tornado on record in the United States was mostly in Illinois (in the tri-state area) and killed, Wiki reports, 613 people. That was in 1925. Nature is nature, and prone to do unexpected things.

Nothing to do with God. All normally occurring things. Which newer diseases are you referring to? The ones that people have been refusing to get their children vaccinated against? Those are the old diseases making a comeback and causing small epidemics. That’s human ignorance. Our land has been destroyed by us. We have strip mined it, logged it, polluted and poisoned it with toxic pollutants from corporations being dumped into the water, and biohazardous waste being dumped where it shouldn’t be. There are all things humans have done to the earth. Why should some greater entity be expected to come in and fix the mistakes we continue to make? Look at the sides of our roads–littered with garbage from fast foot restaurants, food that is making the people of our nation overweight and susceptible to heart disease and chronic kidney disease. Did God come up with those recipes? No. Humans did, from companies with CEOs who are billionaires while their workers struggle to get by on a day to day basis.

Will those daily positives returns on stocks help those people? The ones who have to work double shifts and still don’t make enough money to support their families? They’re not being lazy by any means. Give them the dignity they deserve by paying them what they deserve.

We need to heal our own land, instead of waiting for God to fix everything for us, because it isn’t going to happen.

Do you personally know anyone who is gay? Have a friend who is? Because you know what, they are just like everyone else. Do you know about Alan Turing, whom Queen Elizabeth just gave a Royal Pardon to years too late, far after his death? He was imprisoned for being homosexual. He was also a brilliant man who more than likely saved the Allies during World War II. He was a mathematician and code breaker, and managed to break the Nazi’s code. He is also one of the fathers of modern computing.

When you don’t know people, out of ignorance or fear, how can you, personally, make any judgment on them. We have brains because we’re supposed to use them. Do we really want to act like little Hitlers in the United States, persecuting people simply because of their orientation, which, truthfully, is none of our business anyway?

This is what bothers me the most, is when people simply say, God says to do this, God says to do that, Jesus said I can discriminate–wait just a minute. That’s just simply not the sort of thing Jesus would either condone or do. He preached love and acceptance. When people follow religion to the point they are blinded by reality and the ability to think for themselves. I think if God were to be angry, it would be at how unevenly wealth is distributed in this country, how greedy the rich are while so many people live at the poverty level while resources to help them are cut. After all, the way you can really tell the nature of a country is in how it treats its poor, its disabled, its elderly, the ill, and its animals. There is a complete lack of communication between many of the millionaire congress and it’s constituents. These are the things people are concerned with. Will they get enough time on the dialysis machine when they go in? Why do the rich kids get away with driving onto the sidewalk drunk whereas if it were a poor kid they’d be going to jail. The gap is growing, and so is the disconnect.

I’d be more worried about the people being angry. The ones who can’t afford to buy enough food or pay their heating bills. The ones with disabilities who are having trouble paying doctors bills. God is not angry and causing more children to be born with disabilities, for any reason other than we’ve poisoned our environment and pregnant women don’t get the neonatal care they need. Enough of that rhetoric. Life happens.

Building a future on stocks is a risky proposition at best. I think it might be good to have a couple of back up plans.

 

Susanne Atanus

Jan 28

to me
Publicly traded corporations and large banks have billions and Chase Bank has five trillion in assets, and does not have a “down” day. I am running to fix the economy with daily positive returns on stocks so the l% will not get richer and richer. With more income, we will purchase more goods and services and this will create more jobs-the Greatest Economic Stimulus! It will also generate more gov’t. revenue so we don’t see higher taxes-a very important agenda.

I never used the word punishment. We need to pray for diseases, and newer diseases. Sin angers God including abortions and gay. I am concerned with newer and more diseases, aren’t you? If we pray and humble ourselves, God will heal our land.

I cannot ignore our severe winter. God is angry at many people. I never said diseases were punishment. But, God controls health and the weather. Don’t take it personally. It needs to be discussed in the public. Sickness is in every family.

 

From: Wendy Clements
To: Susanne Atanus
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 9:59 AM

Jan 28

to Susanne
I never used the word punishment in either of the cases where it sounds like you’re correcting me. You came up with that yourself. So, you must be thinking of punishment, as this is the first time I’ve said it. You’re even twisting what I say to your own benefit. I don’t see why God has to be so angry and malevolent. That’s your interpretation of the bible. Just like you somehow managed to get punishment out of my email.

Don’t you think that if it were that easy to fix the economy, someone would have done it already?

I’m more concerned with current belief systems that people follow blindly and preach hatred toward our fellow humans. There is no reasoning with someone who has a message in their brain on a loop: “God is angry, God is angry.” I’m sorry you have to live that way. I take nothing you say personally, because I do not prescribe to your beliefs. I believe in love. I believe there is nothing wrong with loving someone of the same sex. Love is love. I believe in a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. I am not concerned with newer and more diseases, I am concerned with people who think we can pollute the planet and God will make it all better. Sickness is where you find it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people who are gay. Some of them are the best people I have ever known are gay or lesbian or trans*. Frankly, you’re completely ignorant of your subject, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. God is about compassion and forgiveness. Who are you to say “God is angry at many people?” Personal telegram?

You never said diseases were a punishment, but Got controls health? It sure sounds like you think they are, as well as the weather. It’s pointless to try to reason or use logic with people like you, because you don’t listen.

How do you know God isn’t telling you the exact opposite of what you’re doing? Turn the other cheek. What harm is anyone doing you? Psychologists would say you create your own issues, such as believing that God is angry.

When people first came over to the Americas in the 1600s from England, it was to escape people like you. I’m thinking we may have been better off if we’d just stayed under the Monarchy in the first place and had a more dignified Parliament.

 

Susanne Atanus

Jan 28

to me
Pray and repent.
—————————————————————————————————————-

So there we have it. Pray and repent. I’ve not really taken that too seriously. Also, by no means did I mean the matter of gay marriage is trivial in and of itself, I simply feel that it is such a no-brainer of a decision that lawmakers should have made it legal years ago and all of this now is ridiculous. It isn’t anyone else’s business and there really are serious things going on around the world–congress should be discussing Putin and just make gay marriage legal in the whole US and tell everyone to stop fussing about it. What do they want more, to fight same sex marriage or possibly have a Third World War? I mention Hitler in one of my communications with Ms. Atanus, ironic since I also mentioned the similarity of what Putin is doing, even more so now than back when I wrote the posts, to what Hitler did before the beginning of WWII. By distracting people with the issue of same sex marriage, which is right here in the US and thus more noticeable, politicians keep attention away from Europe (I don’t watch TV, so I have to confess I don’t know how the news is covering it). But this isn’t about Putin.

Or maybe in a way it is. It’s about keeping people like Ms. Atanus out of office, the ones who want to drag the country backward. That’s what has happened in Russia. Putin still thinks it’s the USSR and the Cold War is still in full play. He’s also very good at circular arguments and deflecting blame elsewhere.

I wasn’t planning on writing a post tonight. I just saw the headline that Ms. Atanus had won the candidacy and was a little in shock. But we do have our answers to the worlds’ problems: ‘pray and repent.” Catchy, but you can’t really dance to it.

Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27th, 2014

Holccaust-Memorial-Day-2-e1390649645752

lgf.org.uk

lgf.org.uk

holcaust Memorial Day

Holocaust-Memorial-Day-007

holocaust1ap_2121807i

holocaust_6838362923cf60A group of children in striped concentration camp uniforms behind barbed wire fencing at Auschwitz

Survivor Stella Knobel's Teddy Bear www.foxnews.com

Survivor Stella Knobel’s Teddy Bear
http://www.foxnews.com

neveragain

martins_holocaust_rememberance_rotator

Speak up

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Montage

Moldava Holocaust Remembrance www.washingtonpost.com

Moldava Holocaust Remembrance
http://www.washingtonpost.com

Holocaust Memorial craftchaos.blogspot.com

Holocaust Memorial
craftchaos.blogspot.com

Burning candle

I would like to add that blaming all the people of Germany for this atrocity is wrong. Some people might have known, some people probably did, some people didn’t. Not all of those people hated Jews, or people who were gay, or people who had disabilities; but they did know what happened to the people who spoke out against the Nazi regime. They disappeared. And it probably wasn’t too difficult to guess where. It is an easy judgement to make from the safety of distance. I have seen the pictures of townspeople the allied troops forced to tour the camps that were so close to them. It is a herculean question, how could people let it happen? People have spent decades trying to figure that out. Read my previous post, and the article that was on page 10 in The New York Times. We, in the United Stated, let it happen too. Only we didn’t have to worry about disappearing if we spoke out, what would happen to our families. I wasn’t going to say anything, actually, in this post. I’m not sure how many people even actually blame the German people any more.

The reason I bring this up is because of the topic of the last post. It is not the fault of the general majority, I hope, that what is happening in Russia is happening. When Russia was still the USSR, no laws resembling these anti-homosexual laws were in effect. It is the people who are in charge and street thugs, along with the Southern Orthodox Church, who are controlling what is happening. Again, I had no idea the church was so active–since it wasn’t under the rulers during the Cold War (I thought) I didn’t think it was now. I was very wrong. In some ways it’s not unlike what is happening in the United States, only much, much harsher and, under Putin, it is hard to tell what direction events will take.  He has already insulted athletes and visitors who are gay or lesbian, equating them with pedophiles. Now he wants to “clean the country of homosexuals.” When will this occur? During the Olympics? After? Safety is definitely an issue. I’m not entirely sure for whom. I still feel very, very strongly that even holding the Olympics this year is a terrible idea. That we are supporting a man fully capable of bringing about another genocide. Just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean one is necessarily wrong.

Remembrance Day lynndove.com

Remembrance Day
lynndove.com

(My apologies to Lynn Dove–Remembrance day was started in Europe for those who had died in WWI, and the poppy was the flower used; some people call it “Poppy Day.” Now it’s used to honor all who have died in wars, veterans. It was in with the pictures for the Holocaust when I did a search and I thought it spoke to the other side of what happens–not only are innocent lives lost in genocide, but those of soldiers who fight to rescue them).

Image

The Emmy Photo

Winning Emmy

From Laughing at My Nightmare

Reblogging this from http://laughingatmynightmare.1000notes.com/

Shane Burcaw’s Blog, relating stories about his life with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. He is a talented writer and incredibly funny.

He just won an Emmy for his short film Happiness is Always an Option–which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his loving family–they are all pretty amazing too.

Happiness is Always an Option

Good Things

I was thinking that I normally just have posts about negative references to individuals with disabilities, and I was reading a book (mock me if you will, you know you want to read it, even if you won’t admit it, because they’re fun!) by Tessa Dare and I realized I don’t do the opposite. Probably because I don’t come across them as often. I’ll put the book info at the bottom since I have this ongoing thing with inserting pictures into my posts where the text doesn’t cooperate with the picture, but I copied the message I sent to Ms. Dare:

Dear Ms. Dare,

I just finished reading “Any Duchess Will Do,” which I happened to like quite a lot (especially the peculiar knitted things).

I should back up just a little, though. I worked with individuals with disabilities for eleven years, and when I’m reading a book, if I come across any words that are considered derogatory toward those individuals, I will usually stop reading it, write the author, write a review, post it on my blog, and sometimes even write the publisher. This seems to be happening more often, unfortunately, especially in young adult books.

I realized that I’ve been concentrating on the negative half, and not the positive side, which deserves just as much recognition. I thought your portrayal of Daniela was particularly well done and very accurate. I’ve worked with people similar to her, and I could relate to her as an individual in your book, not just some person stuck in for the sake of the story. I also liked her relationship with Pauline, because I’ve seen brothers and sisters become extremely protective of their siblings with disabilities. Thank you for making Daniela a real character.

I know I’ve read other books by you, but this one is particularly fun, and definitely the first I’ve read where the strong and handsome duke has been kidnapped by his mother. I will definitely be recommending your books to others I know who like to read romance.

Very sincerely,
Wendy Clements

I do mean all of this–I enjoyed reading this book. The heroine, Pauline, is strong and funny, the Duke extremely confused and angsty, and I don’t think I’ve liked a character’s mother more. I highly recommend Any Duchess Will Do. There were many parts that made me laugh out loud.

Speaking of laughing out loud, I also just finished another two books, these in the M/M Romance category, that I read on my kindle but, when I have the money, I am going to buy in paperback simply because I liked them that much. They are extremely well written, the characters are extremely engaging, and the setting is historical–an off-kilter Victorian with a Lovecraftian background (one of the main characters, Whybourne, attended Miskatonic University, and there is a town of Arkham, although it hasn’t entered into the story). It’s just there enough to justify the oddness of what happens and make it creepily real. Oh. The books? The first is Widdershins, and the second is Threshold. The series is Whybourne and Griffin, the two main characters, although one of Whybourne’s wonderfully interesting colleagues is also involved much of the time. The really good news is that the third in the series is coming out December 3rd, 2013. Just to give a brief layout, Whybourne is a shy, retiring man, who has repressed his urges and attraction toward men all of his life. He attended Miskatonic to study Philology (linguistics, in the sense of historical languages, in his case, as well as some modern, and how they relate culturally–he also breaks ciphers). He speaks thirteen languages, but reads more (that’s important). A murder case comes up involving the museum he works at, and an ex-Pinkerton turned detective, Griffin, turns up to ask Whybourne some questions. They are instantly attracted to one another, and it’s fun and interesting to see Whybourne come out of his shell. His friend, Christine, his only real friend, also works at the museum as an archeologist who has just made an extremely important discovery in Egypt of a tomb which has been moved to the museum. If I’ve made it sound boring, it’s not. Really. I’ve added the series to my favorites on Goodreads, and Jordan L. Hawk has become one of my favorite authors. These books really stand out among many of the other M/M Romances, especially if you like the paranormal. And, oddly, it was partially the covers that drew me to them. They are elegant in their simplicity, and–gasp!–there are no half naked men. What can I say, I find Victorian suits a turn-on. One thing I think many cover designers have forgotten is sometimes half the fun is taking things off. It was just a very refreshing change. Not that I mind seeing half-naked men, but say you worked in a chocolate shop and could eat all the chocolate you wanted. Eventually, believe it or not, you would get sick of it. You might want some toffee or a lemon bar. Or cheescake, and that is not meant in any other way. Sometimes cheesecake is just cheesecake.

On that note, I think I’ll just put the covers up here, hopefully with the cover artist’s blessing, since I’ve done it before, and it is more exposure for them (I don’t mean the way in the above paragraph, either). Good grief.

Any Duchess Will Do

Kindle: $4.74

Paperback: $5.39

·  Series: Spindle Cove (#4)

·  Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages

·  Publisher: Avon (May 28, 2013)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 0062240129

·  ISBN-13: 978-0062240125

Widdershins

Kindle: $4.99

Paperback: $10.09

Audiobook: $17.95

(Prices from Amazon)

·  Series: Whyborne & Griffin (Volume 1)

·  Paperback: 226 pages

·  Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 15, 2013)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 1482528150

·  ISBN-13: 978-1482528152

Threshold

Kindle: $4.99

Paperback: $10.70

(both prices from Amazon)

·  Series: Whyborne & Griffin (Volume 2)

·  Paperback: 170 pages

·  Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 20, 2013)

·  Language: English

·  ISBN-10: 1490964630

·  ISBN-13: 978-1490964638

 

Chat

LIEF GOT A NEW HEART!!!!!!!!!

https://www.facebook.com/LifeForLief?fref=ts

 

Thank you so much to his donor family, who in their time of grief and loss, gave life to a sweet, remarkable young man.

You have done a beautiful thing. Blessings to you, your family, and your friends.

Chat

Review: Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Bear, Otter, and the Kid, eBook   by TJ Klune
Dreamspinner Press    Release Date: August 12, 2011

I have to admit that I’m torn about this book. I did something with it that I normally don’t ever do. Usually, as soon as a derogatory term against the disabled community appears in a book I stop reading it, mark where I am, what the term was, and write up a quick note on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog about it. The worse offenders are YA novels, which is really disturbing. The term in this case was “retarded,” one that seems to be on the upswing these days, sadly, as it had been slowing down for a while. The fact that it’s appearing in so many YA novels is really disturbing, I think, because it’s showing a whole new generation it’s ok to say those things. It’s being incorporated into their culture.

It’s something I think editors need to be aware of, possibly more important than a misplaced comma or a maligned semicolon.

It shocked me to see it in a m/m romance book, though. I hadn’t seen anything of that nature, that I remember, out of everything I’ve read so far. I contacted Mr. Klune, but haven’t heard back from him. What I think is truly ironic, however, it that it’s someone from one marginalized group demeaning another group that’s marginalized.

Just to take a quick side-step here, and forgive me, because my memory’s not always that great and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken these classes. Brown vs Board of Education was a groundbreaking case for more than just, at least in the eyes of the law, the judgment that separate educational facilities were NOT equal, starting the beginning of desegregation. This is important because it had a ripple effect, it was the beginning of civil rights movements for many groups, including gay rights and rights for people with disabilities, among many others. Both groups had to fight, and both groups still face countless challenges. Politicians and religious groups turn sexual orientation into something they have no business in, people with autism are refused heart transplants because the doctors don’t know how they will react in a hospital. Illegal restraints are used on children with disabilities who are nonverbal, and they can’t tell anyone because they don’t have a communication system and people who know are either too afraid to speak up or punished if they do. Gay men are attacked simply because they’re gay. WTF? I meant to keep this more positive, but I feel this deeply, because I’ve advocated for people with disabilities who can’t speak, who people don’t listen to if they can speak, and who people treat as “retarded” just because they’re nonverbal. Just because they’re nonverbal doesn’t mean they don’t understand exactly what you’re saying. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he can’t love just as deeply or truly as any other human being. Feel passion any less.

So what do I do? I finished the book–I liked it, other than the fact that “retarded” was used three more times. So now I feel conflicted and upset, the more I think about it.

I advocate for the right to love and marry whoever you want to, to have or adopt children if you want to, and I advocate for people with disabilities to have their rights respected. What do you do when two things you feel so passionately about conflict?

To everyone else this may seem like no big deal. It’s just a word. There are no such things as “just words.” Words influence, they hurt, and they bully, because there are people behind those words who are capable of inflicting pain, whether it’s physical, or mental or both.

This isn’t intended as an attack on Mr. Klune, and I’m sorry if it’s taken or seen that way. It’s more built up frustration. For anyone who writes and uses terms that are derogatory. The fact that I feel like people snicker at me–“oh, it’s that crazy lady who gets all worked up about people with disabilities.” I have a lot of reasons to get worked up, I won’t go into them here.

I just wish I could have read the book and enjoyed it without knowing those words were there, because they really ticked me off. And I really would have liked it so much more if they hadn’t been.

Optimized-homophobia_only_oneattitudeslittle girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have no Fear

Keep calm we're all mad I found this in an image search, and I believe it came from a very clever person on tumblr. I have a similar thing as a signature for my email, only it says “Keep Calm and Release the Kraken.” There was a nifty little site that you could make anything up and put your own saying in.

I realized I should really try to put up at least one post a week. Truly, I’m being downright neglectful. And when I came here this evening, I realized I’d never logged out from the last time I was here.

I have been busy writing a short story for the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. It’s roughly 12,800 words, so I did manage to keep it manageable. I’ve finished it, and I should really be editing it right now. I printed out a copy because I was going to be out and about and was going to work on it some then, and this made me think about the difference between editing solely on the computer, which is what I usually do, and actually having a hard copy in front of you. One reason I stopped printing out hard copies was that the manuscripts were so long, sometimes up to 800 pages. That’s a ream and a half of paper and a lot of toner (although my printer is lying to me right now–it keeps saying the toner is low and I just put it in. I’m going to have to take the cartridge out and shake it around some more). I used to buy paper by the case, and having the laser printer does make things faster. It does make me nervous, having lived in two houses built in the 50’s or earlier, where the wiring is a little squiggly, when I turn the printer on and the lights in the house dim for a few seconds. It also sounds like a Cesna getting ready for takeoff, and the clunks it makes are worrisome. I think the third cylinder might be misfiring. Oh, wait. That’s my car. The check engine light came on and sits there and stares at me, demanding to be taken to the garage to be read by the little computerized gizmo. Last time it was the 3rd cylinder misfiring. I don’t know how I remembered that when I can’t remember where I put important paperwork.

But back to the topic of editing. I thought I was doing a good job editing online, and I still think I do, but I think I see things better when they’re printed out, and this is even after reading on my Kindle for months. I’ve transferred the document to my Kindle, actually, and done some editing there through Dropbox. It’s possible when you turn the Kindle on its side so the keys are a little bigger. I’ve written reviews on it before. The story is only 37 pages, so I didn’t feel too badly about printing it out. Possibly the equivalent of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree we had one year. Seriously. We had a road kill tree when I was a teenager one year. It was sort of like a flattish, medium sized frond. My family always did such strange things we were just sort of “OK, this is the tree.” Possibly because when we lived in Costa Rica, there were no evergreens, and my dad built a Christmas tree, sort of fit slot A into slot B, and painted it green. In the shape of Christmas trees you color when you’re in elementary school (see, I didn’t precisely know this, since I was home schooled until 6th grade). Now it all seems very matter of fact that the little swoopy shape of Christmas trees is how they’re supposed to look, but I’ve worked in elementary schools now and seen the pictures on the wall.

Backing away from the subject of trees–actually, one more tree thing. In my last classroom, there was a little first grader who would head immediately into this huge fir that was easily 12′ around. The first time, I started to follow him, then realized that was ridiculous. He is much smaller than me and could just weave around those branches like a squirrel. I’ve had to develop a mom voice over the years, which was hard for me. It worked with varying degrees of success. I said, “[student’s name], you get out of that tree right now!” and he shot out like he’d been catapulted. I was amazed. He always came out when I asked him to. I think he remembered that I’d worked with him for a little while the year before when he was in Kindergarten and he was like a little piece of never ending popcorn–up and down in his seat, literally climbing shelves to get to toys he wanted, at recess throwing himself off the tallest playground toys he could find… He scared me to death (not literally, obviously) as a Kinder, but he was so much better in 1st grade, and all the playground equipment was so much shorter, I just let him drop off of anything but the tallest bars. He would listen when I asked him to be careful. I loved working with him even though he could be so frustrating. We’d be sitting at our desk working and he’d suddenly say, “I just can’t take this anymore!” One day I told him I couldn’t really, either, but we still needed to do the work.

This is a little rambling. I am in a transitioning space. I quit my job because my mental health (hence the above image) was suffering, All this time, while working with individuals with disabilities, moderate to severe, I hadn’t really considered the fact that I do have mental illness and it is considered a disability. That is still sort of sinking in. At work they were treating my symptoms as something they could treat with a “plan of assistance,” which wasn’t possible unless they intended to procure a new brain somewhere, and with my luck, they’d get Abby Normal’s. I was given an unfavorable observation report and the list of the teacher’s complaints, all having to do with my mental conditions, and I just kept thinking, “This is it, I quit.” And I did. That was a Thursday. That night a wrote a very fluffy letter of resignation attempting not to burn any bridges (although truthfully the place I worked for already has steady streams of smoke rising on its own), emailed it to everyone it concerned, and took a hard copy to my supervisor the next day (after my teacher let me leave early–she was surprised I had come in at all. ??). So I’m in the process of going through Vocational Rehabilitation, trying to find and/or get the skills to get a job that is more suited to me, more accommodating to my needs. I still want to work, I just legitimately need something where I’m not around a lot of people and stress, because that’s when the problem starts. I had no problem with the kids, I miss them so much. It was my co-workers, the teacher, and everyone else. They don’t know how to deal with mental illness. They can’t see it, touch it, so for all they know I’m just making it up. It’s a little funny that I was in a job working with students with disabilities, and then I ended up being discriminated against because of my own disability. I’m not going to whine about it. It just makes things different. I’ve been dealing with parts of this for nearly thirty years, it’s just gotten worse as I’ve gotten older (and I thought acting immature would keep it under control). <g> Knowing that I’m eligible for special services (most likely) because of it. It just feels weird. I had a meeting with the Voc Rehab counselor, and some jobs we identified that I could train for were as a proofreader, possibly a low on the rung editor, medical transcription (depending on my typing speed–left hand still a little wonky from elbow injury and those two fingers not working so well–still don’t use pinky to type, but I’ve sort of made up for it–I think I can use it for shift and a. I looked. I can) given that I need to take medical terminology again, or medical billing, and I’ll keep looking to see if I can find more real things, not the “I’ve made $10,000 in a week” sort of stuff. <g>

Anyway, hard copy vs. on a computer. I don’t like entering changes from a paper copy into the computer, which is another reason I like doing the editing directly on the computer. I don’t do the tracking stuff, I just save the previous edit and number the next one sequentially so I have a copy of what it was before the next changes are made. I need to learn the tracking, for Word and Scrivener.

I haven’t written a short story in a while, and I’m pretty happy with this one. I didn’t think I was capable of writing a short story. Frank reminded me that I am supposed to be editing now, not additing. So far all I’ve done is taken things out. That’s good. I hope. Except there are three snakes in it and it sort of wants me want to get a snake. I have issues with the feeding, which will probably be what keeps from from doing it. The species I chose to use was Boa constrictor imperator, and they’re beautiful. Supposed to be pretty friendly if they get the handling they need, which is why they’re popular, and stay fairly small, rarely over 4′ long and about 13 lbs. There’s a part of me that’s always wanted a snake, it was always the feeding thing that got in the way. I had to feed a friend’s snake when he died, while trying to find a new home for him, and that was traumatic on all counts.

Well, gee. I meant to talk more about editing. I did get a copy of The Copyeditor’s Handbook. My dictionary is telling me that Copyeditor’s is spelled wrong. I find that a little funny. The book’s right here. I checked, because I thought that would look really stupid if I made a mistake on the title. Tribbles. The dictionary doesn’t know that one either. Platypus. Ok, it knows platypus, so the world is safe. Of the three, which is the most (or is it more? I’m questioning myself on everything now) important: copyeditors, tribbles, or platypi. Is that the plural? It doesn’t like that. So you can only have one platypus. Some days that’s just the way it goes.

Demotivational Posters

Demotivational Posters

Trouble With Tribbles - Star Trek

An Author’s Responsibility

I posted this review at Goodreads and Amazon after starting and getting about 140 pages into Forbidden, by Syrie James and Ryan M. James:

I didn’t actually finish this, I only reached page 137. It is your average paranormal high school angel romance, enough that I would have finished reading it, most likely, and probably given it a decent rating. So why did I stop?

I have noticed an increasing trend in young adult books using derogatory terms in reference to individuals with developmental disabilities, in this case, on page 137, “Holy crap,” Erica said. “We’ve been so short-bus about this.”

Teenagers probably think this is funny and just read it, laugh or not, and go on. As someone who writes and also works with children with disabilities in an elementary school, where we are trying to stamp out bullying and engender understanding, it truly dismays me when I see this happen in books that have recently been published. The children I work with are kind and loving, they are just different. They have autism or cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, in some cases other syndromes. There are some wonderful students at our school who come and volunteer as peer buddies to students in our class, and become their friends and understand their differences better.

Yes, sometimes people with disabilities act differently in public, make strange noises, or do strange things. They are honest, they don’t hide who they are. Just because some of them can’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t have things to say, they just need people willing to take the time to listen.

Authors have a responsibility, to an extent. If we put something in a book or story that’s derogatory, there needs to be a good reason for it, not simply put it there to make fun of people at their expense. There’s nothing wrong with people who are gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, transgender, bi-racial, a difference race than our own, etc. etc., and if comments were made about anything like that, there would possibly be a stir about it, but often if it’s making fun of disabilities, it doesn’t get mentioned.

It is not open season on people with disabilities. Authors need to remember this, think about their audience, and remember that what they write sinks in. It encourages further devaluation of a population that doesn’t deserve it, and includes some of the best people I’ve known.

It’s truly a shame, because I think this book has promise. I just think that authors, editors, and publishers such as HarperTeen should think about these things a little more closely. Just because someone with a severe disability might not be reading your books, someone who loves someone who is might be.