Friday, September 6, 2013

Murder is a Selfish Act

It is one thing to drown in your pain.

It is quite another to drown someone else in that pain.

I wish I didn't have to write this.  I wish this didn't keep happening.  But it does.

On September 3rd, Kelli Stapleton locked herself and her 14 year old autistic daughter, Issy, in their van, lit two charcoal grills, and waited to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Police discovered them both unconscious.  Issy is still unconscious in intensive care.  Kelli is facing possible murder charges, and rightly so.

The usual nonsense is being thrown about.  "The system broke and then it broke Kelli", "I feel bad for the father, his daughter is in intensive care and now his wife is facing possible murder charges", "We must have compassion for this mother, raising our kids can be extraordinarily difficult", "All she wanted to do was to put both of them out of their misery."

You know who I feel bad for?  Issy.  Because her own mother tried to MURDER her.

Yes, the system needs to be fixed.  It is not kind to autistic children or disabled children of any kind.  But I cannot sympathize with someone who thought the best option for her daughter would be death.

Kelli Stapleton made a selfish decision when she put Issy in that car.  She attempted to cut short someone else's life based on her own misery. That was not her choice to make.  But many are calling this an act of love, because she refused to leave Issy behind.

But Issy had a life, independent of her mother, as all children do, independent of their parents.  You can see her life, splashed across the pages of the blog her mother wrote.  She had friends.  She had a cat that she loved.  She had her own thoughts, feelings, and desires.  From the day we are born, we are no longer entirely a part of our mothers - we are out in the world, with our own individual identities, for better or worse.  Our parents must let us go, on many occasions in our lives, with the trust that they have provided us with enough to succeed in life - whatever the definition of success may be.  Kelli Stapleton could not cut that cord - and that's a problem.  If you cannot trust your child to have a quality life without you, you have failed as a parent - because part of being a parent is knowing that you have to let go. It's nowhere near easy, but it is necessary.  Kelli Stapleton didn't think about Issy's own life - she only saw her own struggles.  Seeing another's life only through the lens of your own is the epitome of selfishness.

People say that we should not judge until we know the facts.  But a mother tried to kill her daughter.  What else do we need to know?

Until and unless there is justice for the Issy Stapletons of our world, for the Alex Spourdalakis', for the George Hodgins' and the Tracy Lattimers, these tragedies will keep happening.  Because you can't get away with murder - unless your kid is disabled.

7 comments :

Joeymom said...

Where the system is broken is that there was and remains inadequate support for Issy. There was no where for her to go, and school personnel can all too often block the roads to independence and education to meet their own petty wants. If we turn a blind eye to the issues Issy faces in trying to get the services and supports she has a RIGHT to receive, both legally and morally, from our society, we leave a desperately important gap in our attempt to make this STOP.

Issy is a HUMAN BEING with a RIGHT TO LIVE. No one should be allowed to strip her of that basic human right, at any level. That includes her school district. Her teacher. Her state.

And that most definitely includes her mother.

No one has the right to strip another of their life.

stillfinditsohard said...

It is more than just selfish. It is a hateful act that, consciously or not, is designed to deprive others of things. Issi Stapleton, assuming she lives, might have grown up to be the person who finally gets the curebies to knock it off and apologise to all of us. That might still be the case, although given the extent of the injury Issi has suffered, it is unlikely. It is an act of hate and, given its hateful consequences to an entire group, needs to be prosecuted as such.

stillfinditsohard said...

It is more than just selfish. It is a hateful act that, consciously or not, is designed to deprive others of things. Issi Stapleton, assuming she lives, might have grown up to be the person who finally gets the curebies to knock it off and apologise to all of us. That might still be the case, although given the extent of the injury Issi has suffered, it is unlikely. It is an act of hate and, given its hateful consequences to an entire group, needs to be prosecuted as such.

suburp said...

Nothing to say. There are no excuses for what happened, yet there are 'explanations' and declaration of sympathy all over the internet. I do not want to be part of an "autism community" that does not see that this woman has done something completely despicable, and the only explanation can be her own mental state (that, as her blog suggests, was highly unstable). I don't live in the US but NO "system" will drive you to murder.

BiolArtist said...

I haven't read the mother's blog (don't think I can stomach it) but if she was dropping hints or at least demonstrating her own level of desperation, why didn't anyone intervene?

What is wrong with the extended families that nobody ever steps in on behalf of the autistic child? Is it just that nobody wants to believe their relative could be so close to killing their child? Or is it that the family agrees with the parent that an autistic child isn't really human?

Margot said...

I totally agree with you Cara. This is just unacceptable. Murder is very selfish. If the mother wanted to kill herself she should do that without trying to kill her daughter. At least Issy might survive.

Tricia said...

"Murder is a Selfish Act" is well written and I am grateful to the author for putting the truth out there. I belong to a child advocacy group and am deeply disturbed to continually read posts where members feel compassion for the mother and all that she must have been going through; all the abuse and violence; how overwhelmed she must have felt, etc. As they write this they do not seem to comprehend that by their actions they could be encouraging or condoning more violence against people with disabilities. Tonight my heart is heavy because many in the advocacy community fails to understand the issue and Issy is given so little attention. This article has bolster my soul. Thank you.