As I celebrated my daughter's seven months on this plane of existence, I was also grieving for a life lost too soon. A life lost to violence, to greed, to impatience, to a profound lack of compassion, to a fear of difference. The report of what happened to Robert Ethan Saylor has been released, and it's every bit as horrific as I imagined it would be. Yet it's being spun by the sheriff department as a clear case of TRESPASSING, and for some reason it seems perfectly reasonable for this department to okay a killing over that dubious crime.
Those of you who read my blog know that my political alliances lie to the far left, and I make no apologies for that. I am of the opinion that capitalism has inflicted some of the greatest abuses on our world from the slave trade to the death of factory workers in India. We are under the thumb of money and consumerism at all costs. And I fully believe here that we have a smaller example of this kind of abuse. You see Ethan wanted to see the movie again. That's it. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone (in fact almost the reports from witnesses say that he was swearing but he was not TOUCHING anyone...only one person said he resisted the officers who were touching him and I'm kind of like "Well duh" on that one). He wanted to see a movie. A movie that likely cost what $12? His aid tried to talk to the manager. She tried to talk to the police.She told them all that if they just waited it out Ethan would be okay and leave. But you see no one wanted to do this. No one was willing to pay for that movie ticket. Ethan's mom reports that Ethan's cell phones records show that he was trying to get in touch with her to get money to see the movie again. Sadly no one waited, and instead a young man is now dead because he had the audacity to sit in an empty movie theater. He died over $12.
There are many ways this could have turned out for the better but none of those things happened. Instead, the Frederick's Sheriff Department blamed Down syndrome. Yes, you're reading that right. They said Down syndrome killed Ethan Saylor. Not three OFF DUTY deputies who were clearly impatient and/or on a power trip...nope not them but Down syndrome. It's ridiculous isn't it? But there it is. This isn't about training folks. It's about bias. It's about discrimination. It's about not getting justice because someone thought it was easier to blame Ethan's disability. That my friends is bullshit. And it's time to raise an outcry. A really big one. Because even if you're life has not been touched by someone with Down syndrome, I know my readers value justice and equality. That most of you despise this system as much as I do. It's time to broaden our reach. People with disabilities are a valuable part of world, and it's time we stand up for them too.
There's plenty to be done. Kimchi/Latkes has a great post up with an outline of places to go.
Emma, Ethan's wonderful sister, has a Facebook page you can go like to show support. That's here.
Write to Governor O' Malley in Baltimore asking for a independent investigation.
If you haven't liked Down syndrome Uprising, go ahead and do that as well (and yes I am on the "board"). We are not just fighting for Ethan over there, we're fighting for all people with Down syndrome.