I have no words to begin this post. And so I begin by admitting that I have no words. This article is what prompted me to write this post:
I had read about the murder of innocent 28-year old Courtney by her adoptive mother a couple of days before but had not followed up. Because these cases sadden me too much and because they always spark a firework of sympathy. For the murderer.
The same thing happened with this case. People started talking about how they could emphasize with the murderer. How they could understand why she did it. And now there was the very real possibility of a murderer getting away with parole for killing an innocent person. It would not be the first time either.
This woman poured a fatal dose of medication into her adoptive daughters feeding tube. She planned this. It was premeditated and she executed it exactly as she had planned. These are the facts.
It was murder. And even more so it was premeditated. This was not a tragic accident. And it most certainly was not involuntary manslaughter as the murderer has pleaded guilty to.
Liltz tried to commit suicide after killing her adoptive daughter – yet she survived.
She is critically ill with cancer and believed she would die soon – yet she still lives.
Courtney does not. Courtney is dead. Courtney was murdered. Yet I read over and over again how people feel sorry for the mother. Over and over the mother’s struggle is highlighted.
Does Bonnie Liltz deserve sympathy? Yes she does.
She deserves sympathy for suffering from cancer. She deserves sympathy for struggling with the fear and desperation that came with not knowing what would happen to Courtney if she as her caretaker passed away. She deserves sympathy for caring for her disabled adoptive child while being so very sick herself. She deserves sympathy for struggling with a lack of services, help, and ability to access both.
She does not deserve any sympathy whatsoever for murdering Courtney.
I am going to repeat this as I know from everything I have read, that many people disagree with me.
Bonnie Liltz does not deserve any sympathy whatsoever for murdering Courtney.
Courtney was alive. She was known to be happy. She deserved to live. She had no choice in this matter. And the person who made the choice for her had no right to that choice.
Bonnie Liltz decided to become a murderer. She used her full mental capacity to decide to kill. I am sickened by that to the very core of my soul. And I am sickened by every single person sympathizing with this murder specifically and with any other murder like this one.
It saddens me to say that Courtney was not the first disabled person to be killed by a family member and it saddens me even more to say that she will not be the last.
I have debated whether or not to link to some of the horrible cases in this post and have finally decided to do so. These innocent human beings deserve for their names and stories to be known. They deserve for their murderers to be publically named.
All of the following are children who had their lives cut short before they even turned 18 years old. I have tried my best to find photographs of the children but could not find one for all of them. Please let me know if you can find any. These children should not be invisible.
This is by no means a complete list. There are more. There will be more. But let this list be a reminder that disabled people are killed by those they depend on and who are supposed to care for and protect them.
Disabled lives are not worth any more or less than non-disabled. Every innocent life is worth the same. Disability is not an excuse for murder.
Yes, caring for a disabled person, child or adult, can be difficult. I am not invalidating the strain this can have on people. I am also not invalidating the fact that access to services is highly dependent on where you happen to live and that often there are not enough services. But just as often services have been offered and declined or services have been offered and were waiting on consent to start helping.
I am not invalidating that a family member may break down and not be able to take it anymore. But there is always another way. One that does not involve murdering an innocent person.
For every murder of an innocent disabled person you comment on with “I can understand.” there will be at least one family member of another disabled person reading and thinking “Maybe it really would be the best thing to do.”
You don’t need to be a parent or caregiver of a disabled child to know murdering children is wrong.
Your humanity tells you that. It also tells you that someone who believes there can be a legitimate reason to murder an innocent child has a very sick mind.
First of all we as a society need to make it very clear that murdering disabled people is never okay. There can be no more sympathy for murder. There can, however, be sympathy for people’s struggles. Those are and always should be two different things.
Secondly we as a society need to destigmatize disability as well as the need for help. People need to understand that disabled people’s lives deserve the same protection as non-disabled people’s lives. And at the same time people need to feel safe to open up about their struggles and seek help.
And finally we as a society need to make sure help is available.
If you have a disabled person in your family I strongly believe the best course of action is to take action before it is needed. Research services and help available and come up with a plan before you need it.
The most vulnerable need and deserve the most protection. And validating the murder of disabled people is the opposite of protecting them.