I wrote about Liltz here at Bad Cripple. Link: http://badcripple.blogspot.com/2016/05/too-much-sympathy-bonnie-liltz.html In 2015 and 2016 I stated murder is murder. There is no question Liltz murdered her daughter. Liltz attorney, Thomas Glasgow, has made a very public effort to portray Liltz in as favorable a light as humanly possible. This is his job. I don't like it nor do I care for the way he is trying to spin the case when stating "We're not asking for a pardon. We're not asking for her to be excused or forgiven for her crime. We're asking that she be released to receive medical treatment". This is grossly misleading when put in the larger social context. The context here is parents murdering their disabled children. Ableism can be deadly. We as a society have utterly failed to support parents who care for children with a disability. We have driven people like Liltz and others to murder their own children. Liltz is far from alone. Many parents murder their disabled children. What makes these cases heart breaking are the circumstances. Institutional care for children and adults with profound and severe disabilities is in far too many cases is abysmal. Grim reading within disability studies abounds that emphatically details our respective social failure to care for the most vulnerable among us. The historic opus, Acts of Mercy by Steven J. Taylor details the conditions of mental institutions and for religious objectors during World War II. Read Allison C. Carey On the Margins of Citizenship about intellectual disability and civil rights. Better yet, check out ASAN website and the day of remembrance for all those children and adults killed by they parents. Link: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2016/01/2016-day-of-mourning-vigils/ In the last five years ASAN reports that one hundred and eighty people with a disability have been murdered by their parents.
We see the same pattern repeating over and over again. A parent kills their disabled child. The media portrays these murders as justifiable and inevitable due to the "burden" of having a disabled person in the family. If a parent stands trial, they are given sympathy and comparatively lighter sentences, if they are sentenced at all. The victims are disregarded, blamed for their own murder at the hands of the person they should have been able to trust the most, and ultimately forgotten. And then the cycle repeats.
Murder is of course the most extreme response to disability. As such, murderers such as Liltz appeal to the very worst of human kindness. Liltz wants sympathy--and she has and will continue to get plenty of it. The assumption here is that her daughter Courtney was a burden to care for. Liltz, I read again and again, was a kind and loving mother for decades. Sorry but I have no sympathy for parents who murder their children. In stating this I become the bad guy. I am the hard ass that is unforgiving. I am heartless. Just as I reject a shred of sympathy for Liltz, I assert that all life has value. Courtney had the right to live. All people with a disability have the right to live. This should be a given but is not. Ableism abounds. Ableism takes many forms from flat out open hostility to subtle and insidious forms of prejudice.
I know of only one way to undermine ableism, murderers such as Liltz, and a court system that values some lives more than others. Fight back. Assert one's civil rights. Make others, typical others, feel uncomfortable. As I have been writing I am reminded of a powerful post at Crutches and Spice entitled "Its Time for Disabled People to be Unapologetically Selfish and Intolerant" I read a few months ago. Link: https://crutchesandspice.com/2017/06/06/its-time-for-disabled-people-to-be-unapologetically-selfish-and-intolerant/amp/