I Don’t Matter

Last night on social media, someone posted about how dogs have rights like people and should be allowed to go anyplace people go. In context, this started out as a discussion on small dogs carried in purses. Within 15 minutes, it had blown up into a hate fueled rant against service dogs. In particular, one person stated that their dog’s happiness was more important than a human life.

I’m all about pets. I think they serve a great purpose for anyone who desires companionship. Fish are very relaxing for me to watch. I’m not a fan of cats, but that has a lot to do with violent allergies. Hedgehogs….adorable! Reptiles, well, not so much. You get the idea.

This social media exchange left me feeling dismissed. I rely on a service dog to alert to potentially life threatening events. My dog is trained and has been working about 5 years now. She alerts between 5 and 10 times per day, long before I notice I’m not quite well. She does not have rights any more than another animal. The legality of her being with me in public comes from a federal law that essentially declares her to be medical equipment, no different from a wheelchair. Her “rights” come from my rights as a disabled person.

But, beyond all that I’m left with this feeling. Your dog’s happiness is more important than my life. As we just passed the Global Day of Mourning for people murdered by their carers, it really struck home. No, I don’t know any of the people who attacked on social media last night. However, the sentiment that my life is disposable came through in many comments. I was personally attacked for “claiming” to be disabled. I was told that disability means I’m just to stupid to do anything. Disability means I’m lazy. Disability means I’m “playing a card.” Disability means I don’t matter.

I asked myself if I extrapolated the numbers from the negative comments last night, do that many people share the idea that people with disabilities have no purpose? Following that….with this kind of prevalence, no wonder most people aren’t outraged at the murders of disabled people. We don’t matter.

We don’t matter. Wow. Non-disabled people put their needs, wants and desires ahead of disabled people’s basic rights. There it is in a nutshell. Several of my friends have told me their stories about how the people they identify with don’t matter. I think it has finally sunk in just how horrible not mattering feels.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.~

Martin Niemoller

All Lives Matter

Yep, I’m going there. Yesterday two police officers were murdered. One was Asian, the other Hispanic. The shooter was Black. All the protest over Michael Brown and Eric Garner and not a single peep from those same protesters about this shooting. Then, early this morning, another officer was shot and killed while responding to a suspicious person report. That makes for 113 officer deaths in the line of duty this year. Roughly one every 3 days.

Where are the protesters? Where is the outrage? ONE OFFICER EVERY THREE DAYS! Just as a reference, the website http://www.motherjones.com claims that in August there was one Black man killed by police every week. Statistically, in case the math stumps you, police officers are killed at twice the rate as Black men.

Another man from Tennessee started posting on social media this morning about his plans to murder officers. Right out in the open. Where are YOU as these threats are being made?

Police officers are the people who make it so you can have your protests without being run over by traffic, because you think it’s okay to lay down in a busy intersection. These are the people who ensure your safety every day. These officers also have family, including children.

But I guess since they’re police officers, it’s okay to take pot shots at them.

Forget the race cards people. ALL LIVES MATTER. If you want to declare war on the police, then be prepared to make peace with people who mean you harm.