Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Today was one of those rare times.
In American literature, we just finished a "classic" book. Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. For those who haven't had to read it yet (lucky), I'll give you a brief synopsis. The story is about two migrant workers who travel together. One of the workers is intellectually disabled, and has the mental capacity of a child. Long story short, the intellectually disabled worker accidentally kills the farm owner's daughter-in-law. The intellectually disabled worker's best friend, who has traveled with him for years, then shoots and kills him because he thinks it is better for him.
Today in class we were discussing the intellectually disabled worker's death. Was it justified? To my utter and complete shock, much of the class said yes. They said the man was just doing what he thought was better for his friend. That didn't make it right, but it did seem reasonable. They compared it to putting your dog to sleep. You were just putting them out of their misery. Or taking someone off life support.
I was so angry I had trouble not crying. How dare they?! How dare they compare a human being with thoughts and feelings just like any other human being to a dog! Unbelievable! I would kill the entire world before I killed Levi. If anything, it's the world's fault for not understanding, or even trying to understand. And, seriously? Put them out of their misery?! I know intellectually disabled people and they are in no way miserable. In fact, they're some of the happiest, most joyful people I've ever met in my entire life. We call these people ignorant, but we're the ignorant ones! We choose to live our lives in the dark about how much of a blessing people with special needs are! We don't even try!
I just can't believe people would compare a person with intellectual disabilities to a dog! A DOG!
I don't get angry very much, but when I do, I am fully and unreservedly furious. There isn't much that makes me that angry, but belittling people with special needs is one of those things. You make any kind of negative comment about people with intellectual disabilities, and you'd better be ready for the debate of your life. Honestly, people, from your point of view, why didn't God just stop making special needs people? That way they can escape all that misery.
God values the life of someone with special needs just as much as he values the life of you or me. It makes me angry with a righteous anger that our world refuses to see that.