Ableism, Mass Murder, and Silence
TW: ableism, mass murder
I’m still getting tweets about “what happened in Japan?” because mass media has decided that the lives of the disabled folks who were murdered and injured merely for being disabled, are not really headline news.
This Tuesday, July 26th 2016, the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which still has progress to make btw), 26 year old Satoshi Uematsu, an ex-employee at a center for people with disabilities, broke into the same center to murder it’s residents.
19 disabled people were murdered and 26 injured in a mass knife attack in their sleep because the attacker thought “it was pointless for people with severe disabilities to keep on living”
Prior to the attack, he wrote a letter where he said:
“I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanized, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities,” that he could “wipe out a total of 470 disabled individuals” by targeting two facilities for disabled people during the night shift, “when staffing is low”.“The act will be carried out speedily, and definitely without harming the staff. After wiping out the 260 people in two facilities, I will turn myself in.”
This was a hate crime, this was ableism to it’s most extreme.
The people of the world often unite to show support to communities after a tragedy, and when a marginalized group is attacked in a hate crime it is not only a time of mourning but a time of self-reflection in what role we play to their oppression, where are the people for the disabled community now?
After the attack at Pulse there was so much support world-wide for the LGBT+ community at the reminder of the hate we face on a daily basis and the lack of safety we might feel, but where are the allies to the disabled community? Where is the support? Where are the calls to say their names?
People are asking me “what happened?” because they are having trouble even finding the story. So here’s some:
PLEASE do not respond to my post by demonizing the murderer as mentally ill, because then you missed the whole point of this post. Hate is not a mental illness, hate is learned. Mental illness does not automatically make one a villain, assuming so, believing so, is ableism in itself and that stigma needs to end.
Please check in with your disabled peeps. The silence on this matter right now is what is most upsetting to me. When it comes to activism and the fight for equality, for a lot of people disability is an afterthought or just not on the radar at all, and this needs to change.