Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lie Latimer Lie

(This post is dedicated to Pat, a Chewing the Fat reader with multiple disabilities, a reader that fears that an existance lived on 'disabled death row'. I hear you Pat ... and this one's for you.)

So are they lazy?

Just incompetent?

Or do they like the idea of dead disabled kids?

You gotta ask yourself what's up with the media and it's love affair with Robert Latimer. Ever since the child murderer got a parole the news has been full of inaccurate and misleading reports about Bob's case. Let's take a couple of examples:

Radio Commenter: Robert Latimer, who has always maintained that he is not guilty of murder, that he was distressed about the pain his significantly disabled daughter experienced ...

Television Reporter: Robert Latimer, who has steadfastly maintained that he ...

Good God, does anyone do any research? Does anyone ask a question or two about the facts of the case? Has Robert managed to snow everyone? In the movies reporters are always about the 'facts of the case' about 'exposing injustice' ... well I guess that's just Hollywood cause it sure ain't the Canadian media. The main fact (for any reporters reading, a 'fact' is a 'truth' an 'actuality' ... um let's put it simpler ... a 'fact' is what's 'real' not simply what you've been told ... um ...you see ... people sometimes lie.) the main fact is ...

He lies.

That's right.



On the day of her murder, Robert told his wife, Laura, that Tracy had died in her bed. That same day he called the police to report that his little girl had passed away in her sleep. OK, if you are counting that's two lies right there. Then after the initial call to the police they called him back and again he told them that Tracy has died while asleep in her bed. That's three.

The police arrive and our Bob is having a smoke on the porch while the rest of the family is grieving in Tracy's room. He tells the police officer, again (forgive me I know this is repetative), that Tracy died in her sleep while under his care. (four) A very bright police officer noticed that something was wrong with the story because it was obvious, when he looked at Tracy, that she had died earlier than Bobby was claiming.

Now he tells another lie (five) that he put her to bed and she was feeling a little bit of discomfort at that time. (Where is the outrageous, unmanageable, life of pain that she was supposed to be experiencing?) Well she couldn't have been experiencing discomfort because he had murdered her by this time.

Then Bob, Bobby, the Bobster, insists on a cremation, a request that startles his wife. But the police tell him that there has to be an autopsy. Days and days later after the evidence had mounted up against him a cop asks him if he killed her to put her out of her misery, he changes his story and says that it was 'compassion' that led him to kill his daughter. Oh my, I've lost count.

So not only did Robert Latimer not maintain from the get go that he was ending Tracy's misery, he lied, and lied, and lied again. The story changed when he had no where else to go, after a toxicology report, after a search warrent and an ensuing search of the farm, then suddenly, poof, a murderous father becomes a compassionate daddy. Three days, that's three days, after the toxicology report was conclusive that Tracy had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Three (3) (III) days after the report and a full ten (10) (X) days after her death.

And the media buys it.

Without question.

Well, we the disabled do not. We know the lie. We live in disabled bodies and we know the lie. We hear the sentiment, "I'd rather be dead than be disabled ..." We know what it means. We know prejudice. We know discrimination. And we sure as hell know murder.

Robert Latimer was convicted of murder.

He tried fibbing to the police and they didn't buy it.

He tried confusing the court and they didn't buy it.

So he aimed at the Canadian public, played to their prejudice and got a willing audience.

So here we are, facing a Latimer that wants to campaign for the right to murder the disabled. Well, we know that he lies and we have the truth.

We can't rely on the media to do it. So we'll have to do it ourselves. Call him what he is.

Latimer ... you are nothing but a liar.

A murderous liar.

And we the disabled and our supporters, will call you on it each and every time you speak. That, little Bobby, is a promise.

A fact.


Anonymous said...

Another inspired piece of writing Dave.The way in which it is written,the subject matter covered, acknowledgments that reinforce decency and lift up others,and therefore the very spirit in which it is written speaks to me that honesty and being forthright can not only hurt but heal. I am pleased that words that tumble and tangle and tie up emotions for all of us, can be rearranged to diffuse,educate, and be regrouped as a call to better understanding and necessary action.Bravo Dave.From p.t.

Anonymous said...

you managed to say what all of us are thinking Dave. Very well written.

lijhe said...

The fact that he lied about the way she died is not damning in itself -- he would have had reason to lie about it even if he did kill her because her suffering was extreme and unending. It seems to me, then, that any judgment of him has to hinge on whether she was actually suffering to a great degree, and whether that was his actual motivation in killing her.

I don't know enough to make a judgment so I won't comment on that. But what's been interesting and surprising to me in reading about this case was learning that for some people it's actually irrelevant. This from another site: "We cannot condone parents murdering their children because they think their lives are too terrible. If we do, who decides what is too terrible and what is not?"

Before having children and witnessing extreme pain, I think I probably would have agreed. Now I would say that there is a line that when it's crossed you know it. I've been in excruciating pain, so I know what it is, and I have witnessed my child in excruciating pain. It was crazy-making, a horror. If it was unending -- no. I wouldn't allow it. I couldn't and retain my sanity or sense of myself as a moral human being.

Unknown said...

Hello Dave

We met in England at the Paradigm conference. My daughter Kylie co-chaired the second morning and gave a presentation in the afternoon.

There are a lot of layers to this kind of thing.

Our story:
When she was born she had a duodenal atresia. Without surgery she would die - slowly - of starvation. The surgeon came to see me after I had signed the consent forms for the operation and said,
"Are you sure you want me to operate? You do know she has Down's Syndrome and will live if I do?"

I was somewhat startled by this (understatement) - and without thinking said "Are you suggesting we kill her then?"

"No" he said, "We will 'let her die'"

So it appears I could have 'killed' my daughter at birth by withholding consent to a life saving operation - perfectly legally it seems.

Now she was 2 days old. I had had very little sleep for 4 days. She was born on the Friday morning and the problems hit me one after the other - then this blockage was discovered. I had just fallen asleep late on the Saturday night when they woke me for some blood to do cross matching for the operation. I saw the surgeon on the Sunday afternoon - at another hospital because the first didn't have paediatric facilities. So we had had a drive across town in snow with her in an incubator. I was alone, there was no support whatsoever. this whole scene is burned into my memory and I doubt will ever leave me.

This was not that long after the Dr Arthur had assisted a baby with Down's Syndrome who had similar issues to die. I was harrassed by the Health Visitor for months - on the grounds that small babies could 'go off' so quickly.

So having chosen life for my daughter they then suspected me of harbouring a desire to get rid of her.

Having said that - her life has not been easy - she had had 10 operations by the age of 9 - with more to come. Each one took it's toll on me and I am sure that my own disability stemmed from the stresses her problems (well actually less HER problems than other people's problems with her) caused me.

Your blog is interesting - as someone who had to use an electric wheelchair for over 20 years I can relate to much of your comments



Unknown said...

I must say I could never decide to waht extent this father must be found guilty. Was there some quality of "mercy killing" in what he has done, or not? Who can look into the depth of a person's soul?
The Russian author Dostojevki tried and succeeded, I would think, but this was fiction..

Anonymous said...

My son and Tracy had much in common. Andrew endured more than 10surgeries in less than 6 years. Shunts, g-tubes, hernias,cranial fusion, tracheatomy and bronco probings to name a few. He also shared Tracy's sense of spirit, awareness, laughter. I know when he died many thought oh thank god he is out of pain, they did not see the joy of his life. I still miss his laughter and would give anything to have it back as would his twin brother. Shame on the media and RL for not recognizing how precious all life is. Both are liars. MDN

Anonymous said...

The press can be dreadful at times! It's appalling that murder can be glossed over as "mercy".

Just as bad as perpetuating outright lies is when information is grossly distorted by suppressed evidence, which allows people to easily develop hasty conclusions. It’s not enough to merely print random facts and to quote people. Knowing what to include, what not to include, and understanding the context is important.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave.
I hope one day the world will see what a liar he is but for now I will be happy with the world of Chewing the fat readers (of which there are many I am sure) knowing.
I hope we can stand up to him and knock him down. (figuratively not actually! I don't condone violence of any kind!)
I could run him over with my chair :)
Thanks again!

Belinda said...

My husband is suffering chronic pain at the moment with rheumatoid arthritis and it is painful to watch the agony he goes through to walk. I've imagined how ludicrous it would be to "put him out of his misery" even out of mercy.

Why is it different when the person cannot speak for themselves? Of course it is a very dangerous difference, which is precisely why we cannot afford the Robert Latimers of the world to play on the emotions of people who naively fail to follow his argument to its logical conclusion.

lina said...

you do not walk alone. I am horrified that anyone who could kill any person, let alone a child could be granted any understanding.
It is frightening to me....and even without knowing about the lying I was already appalled!

Anonymous said...

I am touched by the comments of a few contributors who know what it is to have disabled children and value them for who they are.

To murder a child - any child is against the law. To premeditatedly take your child and leave her alone in a car to die of carbon monoxide poisoning is monstrous not mercy.

Shame on you Latimer who had a duty of care for your child for exulting in your shameful act.


Heike Fabig said...

Dave, it's like your friend's advice - switch minorities. Ask those who are in favor of "mercy killings" to consider if it's ok to kill someone who is, let's say, gay, a diabetic, a tobacco addict, short-sighted, poor, old, or whatever. Who decides when murder becomes mercy killing? Who decides when life becomes unbearable? Some lunatics think life is not worth living if you have a different religion, a long nose, or can't affort to buy trendy clothes. Where would that line lie - and what if the powers that be decide that suddenly that person's life is deemed in that category?

Having said that, as a mother of two disabled children, i can't help but feel for parents who kill their kids.

Despite the fact that these parents comitted a despicable deed, i feel great sadness. Surely there is or was love for their kids - so how did things go so horribly wrong that parents saw their child's death as the only way out?

Surely, as a society, we have a duty to provide adequate therapy, serives, equipment and care - and a viable, independent future - for the children. Equally, we need sufficient practical, financial and emotional support and regualr and reliable respite for the parents.

Being in Australia, i don't know the details of this particular case. But we have had our own sad stories here. They all involved parents at the end of their tether, unable to cope with the emotional, finacial and practical stain of a severely disabled child in an individualistic society that no longer provides adequate services and support.

My heart breaks for those children, but equally for those parents.

stevethehydra said...

Latimer is the absolute worst kind of murderer as far as i'm concerned. If anyone deserves the death penalty, it's him - if i was in the US, i think i'd be printing up "Fry Latimer" t-shirts right now.

I hope one day he runs into a crip with a shotgun and nothing to lose.

gracie1956 said...

When my daughter was 6 months old I was told, "if you keep her she will break your heart...she will never walk, talk, or have normal thoughts...put her in an institution and have another baby." I told that doctor to go to hell...I told my husband to go to hell because he wanted me to do as the doctor recommended...and I kept her by myself and she grew, and grew and she learned to talk and walk and to have a beautiful mind full of thoughts! Today she isn't what the world calls normal (thank God), but she is so exceptional is so very many ways. She has taught me everything I know of love. How can any person kill their own child? And HOW IN THE HELL can anyone think that might be OK? Mercy killing? WHAT THE HELL??!!

Ettina said...

If Tracy was in excruciating pain, that doesn't mean she wanted to die. Amanda Baggs, at ballastexistenz.autistics.org, has described several different forms of chronic pain she has, including *non-stop* migraines for months/years and a nerve disorder causing agonizing facial pain, and she certainly doesn't want to die.

Anonymous said...

I have a chronic pain condition, does that mean I should die too?
Another inspired writing Dave well done! I went into some of the pro-bobbylatimer sites and what I have read is just sickening!
I went to the sites because I want to find out where he is speaking so I can go cause a ruckus...which I am very good at!