So on the same day that it was announced that hate crimes against disabled people has risen from 40 in 2005 to 130 this year, Sir Terry Pratchett fronts his program “Choosing to Die”. Now I think you all know what I think about the assisted suicide debate, but I do wonder why Sir Terry is so obsessed with promoting his belief on the subject. Surely this whole problem is easily solved? Just before he gets to a point where his standard of life is less than he would wish it to be, he could just kill himself? Isn’t that the answer to everyone in this situation? If you let yourself live just a little too long, and you can no longer take your own life… then tough.
You see whether you like it or not, promoting this death as a solution to illness and disability at a time when the government is painting all disabled people as scrounging drains on our ailing economy causes the attitudes that has led to this increase in disabled people facing hate crimes. I know how awful it is when you find yourself being targeted because you are disabled. Back in the early 2000’s I lived in Shepherds Bush, just a stones thrown from the BBC. A group of “Youths” stated using the car park of the block of flats I lived in as a place to hang out. Gradually they began abusing my wife and I but when we stood up to them the whole situation escalated. It started with a physical attack on my wife, and when I came to her aid I was also beaten to the ground. The police didn’t even bother to come. Then we were threatened with a knife, and my wife fended them off with a broom stick. The police arrived but we told that we would be arrested as the broom is an offensive weapon… the knife had disappeared magically. Finally a gang of three of the youths attacked my wife and beat her very badly. They turned up wearing masks and it was obviously a planned attack. We could not describe them to the police, so they could not help us. In the end we had to move, as after this we were told that we were “dead” and that we would wake up one night with petrol being poured through our front door. Nice.
Now this was before the hype around benefit cheating incapacity claimants and death before disability. I know from my day to day life that people’s attitudes have changed for the worse. I mean how many of you have had your blue badge stolen? I’ve had three nicked so far. There is even a website to tell people how to get hold of a dodgy blue badge. Why? Because people no longer see things like incapacity benefit and the blue badge as something that is awarded to people who need and deserve them, and that allocation is fair a just. Now most of the public see awards like these as unfair. Why should these cripples get something I don’t?
So what is the answer? I have no idea. I didn’t vote for this bunch of idiots, and I never will. I also never under estimate the general public, so if they are told to believe something I know they will. Maybe the answer is to strick back and for some hate crime carried out by cripples. Could the answer be for a gang of wheelchair users to go out and beat up some ramblers, or a gang of deafies go postal on an orchestra, or a crack squad of visually impaired hooligans could jump some photographers? Hell’s Cripples… or even disabled terrorist? Disabled Liberation Army anyone? (Get it… DLA… God I’m so witty)
Comedy aside, maybe the answer is for us disabled people to be more proactive. The one thing that makes the fact that my wife and I had our lives ruined by hate crime was how badly I beat up one of the little shits. OK, it didn’t solve anything and meant they only ever harassed us in large groups but the memory of the little git’s face coming apart as I rammed it into a brick wall still makes me smile. One thing for sure, he never tried his luck again. So let’s all take martial arts lessons and next time we find ourselves being targeted by these kind of scum, we kick their bigoted arses and we kick them hard.
OK, this is a serious problem, and my flippant blog doesn’t really help but you either laugh or you cry. If we let them see weakness this kind of bully we always feel the need to pick on us. So come on cripples haters, you just try picking on me, and you’ll find yourself joining us pretty damn quickly!!!
Thankfully I’ve never been targeted in this way.
But Mik…. ‘So what is the answer? I have no idea. I didn’t vote for this bunch of idiots, and I never will’ …. um this problem still existed under Labour didn’t it? And the ‘disabled being scroungers’ attitude was going on when they were in Government too.
I do agree though that any benefits we get which are supposed to pay for the extra costs of being disabled are seen as some kind of ‘perk’ by some able bodied people and this drives me crazy. But just blaming the Government is too simple, it’s far more complicated than that, unfortunately. And I wish I knew the answer to that,but I don’t either.
Mik Scarlet says
Arh, Liz… I’ve missed you.
Now I know we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I agree that we started down this road while under the grip of the New Labour experiment. I was never a fan of that either if I’m truthful.
I don’t try to come up with a solution, other than we disabled need to stick together and fight the bigotry. I know I was being flippant when suggesting we actually fight back, but I know from my own experience of bullying at school when you stop being seen as an easy target the bullies soon go elsewhere.
Whatever our politics, you must agree that the move to make the public see disabled people as a drain on our society rather than a part of it is at the root of this massive increase in hate crime. I just feel it is sad that this government has taken what Tony and his goons started and run with it. Not exactly the big society.
I just wanted to express my experience of hate crime and how little help we received. Not a positive blog, but from the heart. It was one of the worst times in my life, and is still effecting the way I feel about things nearly 10 years later.