This is one of those stories that is so awful as to be unbelievable. The full story is at Greg Simard pleads guilty to attempted murder. An autistic boy was in a residential placement. On one of his last days before going back to his family full time, a worker in the placement took the autistic boy out into the woods and beat him and left him to die. There are also questions of sexual abuse. The assailant’s explanation:
“He’s a drain on society. His life is meaningless. It’s no big deal,” Greg Simard, 24, told police. “I did it for my country. . . . Um, maybe someone should come and shake my hand. . . a few pats on the back. . .”
Simard discussed the event itself:
“I just grabbed him by the hand and said come for a walk. . . . I hope he’s dead. He’s a drain on society,” Simard told Det. Amanda Pfeffer.
Questioned about the boy’s underwear being torn off, Simard said, “I didn’t sexually assault a retarded kid. That’s disgusting.”
I can’t express enough the sorrow that I feel for the child and his family. And I offer them my apologies as I make this point:
This is one big reason why people fight to destigmatize disability. The biggest reason is because it is just the right thing to do. But when the message is put out in public, over and over, about the disabled as burdens on society and somehow worth less than non-disabled citizens, people like Greg Simard are listening. And there are many more who won’t go to such an extreme, but still will accept and act on dehumanizing rhetoric.
By Matt Carey