they were killed by police too, only you probably didn't hear about it
|Eric Torell, 20, a young man with Down Syndrome and autism, was shot by police in Stockholm, Sweden on Aug, 2, 2018. He was carrying a toy gun in a park and had the mental capacity of a three-year old. But the officers involved were not charged in his death. One even shot him in the back. There was no public outcry or accountability.
As a mother of an adult son with Autism and Down Syndrome, this type of story especially disturbs me because it makes me feel like it echoes what so many people probably secretly feel: disabled lives don't matter as much. A tragedy, but oh well, he was disabled and he wasn't a "productive" member of society. He was simple and probably liked simple things, and us "normal" people's lives are more important. People will never say that but that is how some of them feel.
Ethan Saylor was a 26 year old man with Down Syndrome. He was at a movie theater in Maryland in 2013 when he wanted to see the movie he had just seen again so he went back to sit in the same theater he was in before. The aide that was with him was in the lobby but the police wouldn't let them back in to coax Ethan out of his seat. He fought with the police and ended with a smashed larynx and died of asphyxiation. Tragically, they wouldn't take any help from his aide who would likely have been able to coax him out of his seat. I feel like the police looked at him as a non-person, a nuisance. And to them, I guess his death did not mean much. There were no rioters, no protesters chanting for justice. His mother, Patti held a candelight vigil for him. The police were not charged. She did receive a settlement for him but that does not replace her son. Ethan Saylor died over a flimsy movie ticket.
Is a life worth a movie ticket, or in George Floyd's case, a pack of cigarettes? Why do some human lives not matter enough? Let George have the dang cigarettes, it is not worth his life. Let Ethan sit through the movie. Would it really have been that awful to do that? The aide could have fronted the money for Ethan's ticket but the cops wouldn't listen.
Ironically under the American Disability Act the aide's ticket should have been free but no one realized that at the time.
Ethan Saylor died for nothing and so did Eric Torell and George Floyd.
And there are countless other similar stories of people of every race and gender who have been needlessly killed by police. We need to do better. Police aren't the only problem, most of them are good people. The problem is we don't value enough the things that are truly important, and that fact is reflected in current society.
We need to put people over petty things. All these events happening in the world now are wake-up calls.
We need to heed them.