Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Experience and Knowledge

There are times when I believe I've seen entirely too much of the evil and suffering in the world. Over the course of my life, I've seen children abused by their parents (sometimes in truly horrific manners), I've seen casual stupidity on levels that truly boggle the mind, and I've seen people totally undeserving of what happened to them suffer in spectacularly god-awful ways.

Of course, my instinctive reaction to this sort of thing is to try to understand it, so that may help account for the amount of horrible stuff I've seen. I'm not quite sure how -- it's not like I spent my childhood hanging around hospital burn wards (althout I am quite acquainted with what you see in them, thank you very much) -- but this reaction has certainly been influential in the course my life has taken.

I hate to see evil at work. Human stupidity frustrates the heck out of me. Seeing good people suffer is something that I never enjoy (and something that makes me want to help out in any way I can).

Despite this, however, I can't help but feel that I'm becoming a bit jaded at times. Hell, I barely even reacted when I first saw a certain work of a hate group that I won't dignify by mentioning by name here.

My reaction to a recent news story about the murder of an autistic child was a perfect case in point. When I read it, I found myself shocked.

No, it wasn't at the crime itself. Frankly, it takes more than finding out that some woman (appears to have -- I haven't evaluated the evidence in this case myself) burned her autistic child to death for financial gain to shock me. There have been cases where mothers did the same thing to their neurotypical children for lesser reason (and no, this is not intended as a statement that neurotypical children are "worth more" -- it's intended as a depressingly realistic acknowledgement that many people, including mothers of autistic children, percieve things that way).

It was the punishment meted out -- which is very much out of line with the usual pattern in these cases -- which did it. Perhaps attitudes are changing... or perhaps I'm just being overly optimistic. I hope it's the former.

And yes, I condemn this mother's actions in the strongest terms possible. There is no excuse whatsoever for the premeditated murder of a child.

I just wish it happened less often.

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