Imagine getting a letter that tells you everyone would be better off if you'd just euthanize your child and donate his body to science. The family of a teen with autism received a hate letter saying that and more. The letter was sent anonymously (of course, the coward) to the teen's grandmother's house, where he has been staying through the summer. If the letter was meant to hurt the Begleys, it worked.
In the letter, the writer complains about the noise the teen, Max makes (among other things). Max's mother, Karen, says Max needs to play outside, and that his grandmother's back yard is the safest place for him. But really, this letter isn't even about the noise (which the writer claims scares her own children). This letter is about how resentful one person is to find herself in close proximity to a special-needs child. It reveals so much willful ignorance and myopia I can't help wondering if the writer is mentally handicapped herself.
I almost don't even know where to begin pulling quotes here -- the entire thing is so awful. Who does this? Unfortunately I think we all know that being a mother does not turn you into a saint. If anything, the sacrifices and the constant drain on your resources can sometimes bring out the worst in people, as seems to be the case here. I think most of us would agree this letter says a whole lot more about the writer than about whether a boy with autism deserves to live among his fellow human beings.
But if we can get past the cruelty and hatred in this letter for a moment, I want to focus on a question many parents face. What do you say to people who resent the "special treatment" parents of special-needs kids think they're supposedly entitled to -- and I say that last part with a giant eye roll. Parents of special-needs kids don't have a sense of entitlement; They're too weary from waging the daily, draining battle of providing what their children simply NEED.
More from The Stir: 6th Grade Boy's Speech About Having Autism Provides Powerful Insight (VIDEO)
Should special-needs kids get "special treatment"? Yeah, if that's what you call the specific resources they need to maintain a decent quality of life. And usually that's still not going to put a special-needs kid on the same level as an ordinary kid in terms of quality of life. Still, the majority of us have agreed that we are going to accept all kinds of children, and do our best collectively to make sure they live out their full potential. A few selfish individuals may not be on board with that idea, but it looks like most of Max Bagley's neighbors are.
Are you surprised at the hateful tone of this letter?