People who write anonymous letters have less guts than an intestinal parasite.
I’ve received some hostile letters. But most of my critics have the courage to sign their names. I have nothing but scorn for those who write but then hide behind anonymity.
Particularly for the person who described herself as “One pissed-off mother” in a letter to Brenda Millson, grandmother of a 13-year-old autistic boy named Max.
“You selfishly put your kid outside every day and let him be nothing but a nuisance and a problem to everyone else,” the woman wrote. “When you feel your idiot kid needs fresh air, take him to our park, you dope! Crying babies, music, and even barking dogs are normal in a residential neighbourhood. He is NOT!”
(As a compulsive editor, I’ve deleted most of the 118 exclamation points the writer stuffed into 26 sentences.)
The writer continued: “Take whatever body parts are non-retarded and donate them to science…. Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!”
The anonymous writer writes Max off: “No employer is going to hire him, no normal girl is going to marry/love him….What good is he to anyone!”
To say that I’m offended by such a letter is an understatement.
I believe that if you won’t put your name to it, you shouldn’t say it.
The Crown attorney’s office in Ontario says that the letter “falls below the threshold for a hate crime,” according to a CBC report.
The Crown attorney is wrong. The writer herself states, “I HATE people like you, who believe just because you have a special needs kid, you are entitled to special treatment!”
I take that attack personally. My wife and I had a special needs child; he died of an incurable genetic illness. Our adopted grandson’s emotional disorder also qualifies him as special needs. Advocating euthanasia for any human who doesn’t fit “normal” strikes me as criminal incitement.
Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer served 10 years in jail for doing exactly what the letter writer recommended. He asphyxiated his daughter Tracy, who had spent all of her 13 years in constant pain. She couldn’t walk or talk, had recurring seizures, repeated operations.
She was far worse off, by any measure, than Max.
Would the writer be willing to serve Latimer’s sentence for him, for following her instructions?
I wonder how the Ontario Crown attorney would respond if the views expressed in her letter had been directed against blacks, Jews, gays, or women?
Try reworking a few sentences:
• “Your ‘black’ kid scares the hell out of my normal children.”
• “A ‘woman’ is a hindrance to everyone and will always be…”
• “No employer is ever going to hire a ‘gay’ person.”
• “MOVE! Go live in a trailer in the woods with your ‘Jew’ kid!”
The Criminal Code specifies “wilful promotion of hatred towards an identifiable group, or…public incitement of hatred that could conceivably lead to a breach of the peace.”
According to University of Alberta law professor Steven Penney, “identifiable groups” are limited to “colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Apparently mentally handicapped young people don’t deserve the law’s protection.
The anonymous writer concluded: “Nobody wants you living here and they don’t have the guts to tell you!”
Look in your mirror, lady.
Jim Taylor is an
author who lives in