Last night a former student at WG's school was shot and killed by his mom, who then killed herself. They were found by her husband when he came home from work. This boy, who was 22, had been at the school since he was 6 until late last year (the school can take kids until they're 22). His autism was severe, and he didn't speak. But he liked to walk outside and go to the Disney store.
His dad worked long hours to support them, and his53 year-old mom took care of him all day. She recently told her neighbor she felt overwhelmed.
The school sent out an email today, and many of the parents, while in shock, also say they understand how she felt.
And I do, too.
There are other options, and the head of the school has said they would have done anything to help her. And they would have, because that's how they are.
There was a story about it on the San Francisco "Chronicle" website. Most of the comments were supportive, expressing sadness, but one idiot said "They take care of student until they're 22? Why should taxpayers have to take care of them at all?"
I'm trying REALLY HARD to remind myself that this a**hat is in the minority, but I also there are a lot of people in this country who feel exactly the same way, and THAT is why this woman probably felt she had no choice but to kill her son and herself. That there was no one to help, and as she got older (and her son got stronger), she and her husband wouldn't be able to take care of him.
Let me be clear: I'm not going to kill my kids OR myself. I intend to live forever so that I can take care of them. But I have so much fear.
There's so much hate right now for anyone who depends on public funds for anything. I'm scared my kids will end up tossed out on the street when Hubby & I are gone, because humanity (and I use that term loosely) will decide we don't want to pay for anyone else to be clothed, fed, and housed, even if they cannot do it for themselves. I asked that idiot "What if it were YOUR child? Are you aware that parents pay upwards of $60,000/year for treatment for their autistic children, and that doesn't include basic education, which is not only a right in this country but the law?"
If you ask me, it's not divorce, homosexuality, bad music, etc. that is leading to the downfall of our society: it is the COMPLETE AND UTTER LACK OF COMPASSION for anyone who needs help.
"Why should I pay for your healthcare?" "Why should I pay for your public education?" "Why should I...?"
Because YOU AND I ARE MEMBERS OF THE SAME SOCIETY. WHEN THE TIME COMES I WILL HELP PAY FOR YOUR NEEDS. OR YOUR CHILDREN'S. THAT IS WHAT WE DO IN A FAIR, JUST CULTURE. THAT IS AMERICA."
When we start hoarding what we THINK is ours and ours alone, we begin the process of isolating ourselves. My tax dollars go to churches, but I'm not Christian. But many of these churches do A LOT of good! They feed the hungry, educate kids, reach out to the needy. Why SHOULDN'T my tax dollars go there? Just because I'm Jewish?!?! That seems short-sighted.
As a society we are only as strong as our weakest members. It is in ALL of our best interest to keep us all strong. THAT is what will keep our country great, and keep us the example for others.
So, yes, my heart is broken. But I refuse to give up hope that we will regain our sanity, our empathy, and our compassion.
In the meantime, I'll be holding my kids a little more closely.