Way, way back when my children were very young, there was a spate of carjackings in the uptown area. Not exactly in my neighborhood, which I think of as the Upper Channel, but close enough to make me look around really well before exiting the house or the car. A person is awfully vulnerable with a little girl balanced on her hip and a little boy being held with the free hand. You realize how defenseless you are, in no way capable of fleeing or fighting back. Could anything be worse?
Yes, it turns out, it can be worse. Today I read about a home invasion here in New Orleans. Three young thugs forced their way into a man's house and demanded whatever he had. What he had seemed to be only a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of prescription pills. Fortunately that was enough to satisfy them, and the thieves took it and ran out the door. The robbery victim was left unharmed, sitting in his wheelchair - not able to fight back or flee.
Now, I realize that any victim of a home invasion is probably not going to take a swing at the criminal, or dive out the window like the people on television do. But the whole thing made me aware, again, of the vulnerability of people with physical or developmental disabilities. They're more likely to be targets of bullies, or to be taken advantage of by those who are unscrupulous. We've all seen it happen, or at least heard stories.
But - and I think this is very positive - I really believe things are improving. We're learning that it's important to respect everyone in our community, that we're all living happier lives if everyone is included in the neighborhood and the workplace. More of us are teaching our children to look at others as people first, each one different from the other, and each one bringing something important to the table. The internet has brought ways for us to teach each other why some words are hurtful, and should never be used. And we're becoming a better and more civilized society. And that's a good thing.
So I guess this blog, that began on a negative note, can finish on a positive one. And that's a good thing, too.
Written by Linda Kocher, Board Member