So. Some people are not so nice.

I have just had the pleasure of learning that there are apparently people who scour support groups of disabled kids, download photos posted by proud parents, and re-post the photos to mock the kids. Seriously. There are people who take the time to do this.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me entirely. One of the things that disturbed me when we first go my kid’s diagnosis was a couple of videos on YouTube making fun of people with my kid’s syndrome. Just people staggering around with their mouths hanging open, that sort of thing. It was unexpected, because the syndrome is so rare that most people haven’t heard of it. But the syndrome has a strange name, and if someone had actually heard of it, and was malicious and/or simply immature, it would be, I suppose, an apt target.

I had half a thought of never posting a picture of my kid again and taking down all the pictures I have posted. Because if I ever found someone doing that to my kid, hell would hath no fury like me. I found this guy not entirely unsympathetic.

But then, I had a kind of Churchill-during-the-Blitz moment (ahem, obviously of much less moment) and decided, I will not let the bullies win! I shall post away!

Ain’t he grand?

Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.


  1. My experience has been that about 10% of the population are just asshats. Always have been, always will be; can’t do nothin’ about it.

    Of course now the Internet lets them disseminate their asshattery world-wide. Instantaneously. Anonymously. Yeah for Progress!!

    • And to preserve it for posterity! And to join up with other asshats!

      • best not to let them bother you.
        If you ignore the trolls, you take all their fun away.

    • This is one of my (in)famous aphorisms:

      If, one day, everyone were to be on their best behavior, there would still be no shortage of assholes in this world.

      Maybe not the type of philosophy the author is more accustomed to, but I find it to be valid.

      • a new aphorism from a hanafuda game:
        “Aristotle is the trouble maker.”

  2. Yes. Yes, he is grand. His godfather is incredibly found of him, and would do unspeakable things without a scintilla of remorse to anyone who hurt him.

    And the only reason I sometimes regret shedding my belief in hell is that now I don’t know where to put people who would scour the Internet for pictures of the disabled to mock.

    • In all fairness, 4chan has done far worse than “mock” people who are disabled.
      (In other fairness, some videos posted online that mock kids have been instrumental in getting them help, rather than leaving them with “overly permissive” parents, herein defined as parents who will change their 8yearold’s diaper, when he is perfectly capable of using the toilet. kid had problems — that wasn’t one of them.)

    • This is why you rock, Uncle Russell.

    • If someone were to rewrite Dante’s “Inferno,” they’d surely go in a very low circle. I imagine the poet has not a little amusement putting some people he knew (or knew of) in hell.

  3. The solution to this problem is morally questionable, it does not scale, and cannot be implemented in any reasonably consistent manner.

    Someday human beings will learn how to live in groups bigger than tribes. Maybe a couple hundred thousand more years will do it.

    • You’re probably right about this.
      But in the meantime, I’m thinking, some people still need their ass kicked.

      • I knew a bully who once really got his ass kicked. Hard core. And surprisingly, he learned something from the experience and actually became a better person.

        However, most people grow out of being bullies at some point in mid-to-late adolescence… and the ones who don’t are usually also the ones who got their asses kicked quite often as children… which is how they learned to be those types of bullies in the first place.

        In which case, beating the snot out of them really accomplishes nothing… except assuaging your own ragemonster. I don’t like my ragemonster, I prefer to keep myself in a space where I’m not tempted to feed him.

          • I try to keep mine locked up, Hannibal Lecter-like, in the basement. Nice carpeting, well-lit, games to play, books to read, and a soft bed to sleep in.

            And plexiglass between him and everything else.

          • There was this one time, during a class in high school, where Everybody’s Favorite Teacher was talking about what it was like to really lose your temper – no playing around, really losing your shit, not just “getting mad at somebody” or “throwing an angry fit”, but honest to goodness the governors are off and the lid is off the cesspool part of your brain and the monster comes roaring out. In a moment of honesty that probably wouldn’t be replicated in this day and age he told a story about losing his temper in his younger years.

            The line that is etched in my memory: “And I remember… quite vividly and clearly… not really caring anymore about who was right and who was wrong, or justice, or humanity, or principle, or anything else like that.

            All I wanted was to slam his head against the pavement until the back of it… (long, long pause)… opened up.”

            It was a deeply shocking moment, especially coming from Everybody’s Favorite Teacher.

            I’ve really lost my temper only once since I reached adulthood. It was terrifying. That much adrenaline does something to my brain I deeply dislike.

            If I die before I hit two… I’ll consider that a win.

          • I used to fly off the handle a lot when I was younger.
            Then one day, when I was about 10, I was outside playing and my mom told me to come inside. I wasn’t ready to come inside, and I threw a temper tantrum; tears streaming down my face, and I threw my baseball glove down right in front of the door. My mom was sitting inside, and without even looking up, she said, “Son, are through yet?” It was the calm in her voice that really struck me, and I just looked up, slack-jawed. Then she said, “Pick up your glove and come inside,” and I did. I wasn’t mad any more; just embarrassed. But I’ve been pretty easy-going ever since.

            I have been in a number of fights as an adult; not over the past 7 yrs or so though. Usually, it’s some guy that thinks he can push me around because I’m so easy-going, and it typically comes as a surprise that I have hard limits.
            Every time I fight, I’m scared to death. But it’s a thing of being so afraid where I reach a zone of calm, and there’s total freedom of action in that zone.
            I came to the realization a long time ago that if a fight lasts more than two minutes, my chances of winning are rather slim. I’m a fairly well-built guy, at 180 lbs and 11% body fat; but that’s how I learned to win.
            I learned to not get hit. In the past 7 fights I’ve been in, I got hit 6 times; and one guy hit me twice (an ex-army guy, and military training is typical in someone able to lay a hand on me).
            I learned the value of not getting hit by getting my ass kicked by a cousin that was a few years younger than me. He was in some boxing league in Germany, and I couldn’t hit the guy. The fact that we got into a fight at the park, and I got my ass kicked in front of a lot of people made me remember it.
            I try not to fight. I don’t heal that well these days. But there comes a point when I don’t back down.

  4. Your son is super cute, I think.

    As for the other people… disgusting.

  5. It always seemed to me that answer to that best deterrent to that kind of behavior is to broadcast it. I’d love to see that guy have everyone of his coworkers and clients be sent a link to what he posted.

    • In my experience, everybody knows who these people are already.

      It’s pretty much impossible to be that big of an asshole and not have it spill out all over the place.

      • Fair enough, though I still think there’s an important and useful difference between “Chuck’s kind of an asshole” and “Chuck’s the kind of asshole who would troll the Internet looking for disabled kids to mock.”

        • Don’t get me wrong, Tod’s answer is certainly better than doing nothing, and may work.

    • *snickers* yeah. when you hire people who stab others for no apparent reason, you’re going to care that they’re mocking someone on the internet.

      … no, that’s not MY boss. 😉

    • My assumption is that the vast majority of people who do this sort of thing are only barely adolescent teenagers. The ones who haven’t grown out of such by the time that they’re, oh, 17 or 18 or so are incomprehensible to me.

      Surely they don’t have the social skills to get hired as more than a dishwasher in the real world.

      • I can attest that some work in the industry which centers around the sales and service of automobiles.

  6. The other day I saw a father and Down Syndrome son wearing matching University of Wyoming shirts. My first thought was neat/sweet (I’m a sucker for matching father/son shirts). My second thought was hoping that nobody from Colorado State University happened to get a picture of that kid in that shirt.

    • Yikes. I put my kid in a college tee all the time and never really thought about it (well, it did cross my mind that he wouldn’t be going there).

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