Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a Slam Dunk ...

During the second break in the lecture day, Duncan came over and began chatting with me. He is a big man with a soft voice. At first we just chatted about some of the things he's been up to, but I had a feeling that he was there to tell me something, tell me more. So we kept chatting. Then he said, 'You know how you talked about saying no and keeping safe?'

I said that being safe was important.

He nodded, knowing.

Then, quietly, he told me the story of a walk home to his parents place. He spoke to me as if I was a local and knew the reference points for his walk. 'Up by Queen Street there ...' he'd say. My stomach was churning. These story never end well, they always involve pain. Before knowing what happened I looked at Duncan. A big man, a gentle demeanour, a ready smile, a friendly persona ... an easy guy. Don't tell me that someone hurt him too, don't tell me that in th minds of others his disability erased all that's good in him. Don't tell me, Duncan.

But he did tell me. Never losing pace. There were a group of kids, they took him on, one with a baseball bat. They terrorized him. That's the word he used, 'terrorized'. He understood that he was being attacked because of his disability. He understood that what was happening was wrong. More than that he knew that his treatment was criminal.

So. He sought justice. He put together a little team of support, his parents, a family friend, a key worker. And he told his story to the police. It was wrong. It needed to stop. Other people with disabilities needed to be protected.

Then he stopped. The story over.

I looked at him, he was calm. I was hanging over a cliff.

'What happened?'

'They are still in jail,' he said. His smile wasn't one of revenge, it was a smile of a man who had a job to do and did it.

I asked him if I could tell his story to the audience, write it for you ... he said that I could. The audience, on hearing his story burst into applause for him. He grinned. Knowing he had the heart of a hero, I grinned back at him. And now you, whereever you are, tip a pint, raise a glass, or punch the sky ... for the big man in Helensburgh

Duncan. You are the man!

Inch by inch the community is reclaimed by people with disabilities. Duncan, he expected something from the heart of the community - justice. And by God. He got it.

12 comments:

OhWheely . . said...

Go Duncan!!

Thank you for that fabulous start to my day.

:-)

Gün Osborn said...

Duncan you are a hero! I look up to you and pray that my children will be as brave and confident as you when they grow up. A big applause from my hearth.

wendy said...

I raise my mug of tea to Duncan! How wonderful that he knew about saying no and staying safe so that he knew what he needed to do.

miss kitten said...

i would add to wendy's comment not only that he knew what to do, but that he had caring compassionate people who taught him that it was ok to stand up for himself...

and that he was LISTENED to when he did. huzzah for ALL of them, who understood that disability doesnt mean its ok to make them feel bad.

Belinda said...

Wow! I applaud Duncan, his family and friends, the community, the police and the justice system. I only shudder to think of what he suffered in order to get this kind of rightful justice. I'm so glad that he can still smile and that his story is there to help turn the tide of silent victimization.

This story made my day.

Kristin said...

Way to go Duncan and way to go Dave for spreading his story far and wide.

BTW, I have a post going up on my blog later today (around noon EST) that mentions you. It's an odd post but I think you'll get a laugh.

liz said...

Yay Duncan!!!

theknapper said...

thank god that he truly got justice.....so often justice is what Joni Mitchell sings, Just Ice.......We all need to hear these stories.....I raise my coffee cup up to Duncan!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Today is a day for noting change. Duncan knew how to solve his problem. and did. Today I am noticing that people with disabilities are valued citizens, and valued members of their families. Today is a good day!

Colleen said...

A burst of applause for Duncan from this corner of Canada!

joan said...

We've always known and loved Duncan for the kind, smiling and gentle guy Dave described so well. What he didn't tell you Dave is that he regularly helps me and other advocate/facilitators out by showing people with disabilities how important it is to 'walk tall' 'use the light' 'and claim your own space'.............yep he's some guy and a fab role model (for us all!!!)Joan :)

sachin said...

Very Interesting. Hats off to Duncan and also to the Canadian police. o everyone who got involved and helped. Children who stammer, also suffer a lot of mocking. They are often told to "take it with good grace"!
sachin from The Indian Stammering Association (stammer.in)