Autistic Boy’s Family Receives Letter to “Move or Euthanize” Him

Yesterday the grandmother of 13-year-old Max in Newcastle, Ont. received an anonymous letter urging her to either move him into another neighbourhood or put him down like a diseased animal.

The letter in question. Source: CBC


The most irritating thing about this is that Max doesn’t even live in the neighbourhood; he lives with his parents in another city and only comes up to visit his grandmother, though judging by the letter “[y]ou selfishly put your kid out everyday” (which seems like an exaggeration from someone in hysteria), this seems to be a very common occurrence. I’m almost ashamed that this was written by a Canadian. We are (or should be) an inclusive society (like the States) that welcomes all creeds of people.

This letter has been analysed and has been found to “[fall] below the threshold for a hate crime,” though it is still being considered as to if it violates other sections of the Criminal Code. It could be construed as harassment or a death threat, though the euthanasia quip seems to have been added in as an angry outburst instead of as an actual intended remark.

There is already support rallying around Max and condemnation against the writer of this letter.

Categories: News | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Autistic Boy’s Family Receives Letter to “Move or Euthanize” Him

  1. It may fall below the threshold of a hate crime but it definitely qualifies as a crime against not being scum.

    My heart goes out to her, but sadly location doesn’t play a much of a part in this. As long as acts like that aren’t taken seriously they will continue as they have little repercussion, kind of an extension of trolling. (That’s not to say for a second that I know how to fix this; a society that places value and respect on compassion would seem to be a much better solution.)

    • チョコボくん

      I agree with you. Location doesn’t have a thing to do with this (seeing as this kind of thinking is ubiquitous). However, I wouldn’t associate this entirely with trolling. I feel that there’s a fine line between trolling and harassment.

      As for a society that places value and respect on compassion, I would like to think we for the most part do that. It’s much harder to reciprocate altruism, though, in a world where animals capitalise off the weaknesses of others (and yes, that extends to us humans as well).

      • Sorry, I agree trolling and harassment are separate things, I should have made myself clearer but I was in a rage about the letter! I was thinking more about the psychology in reference to the Milgram experiments of the 60s, where physical distance from the person you are causing pain to increases the likelihood and intensity of that pain. In that respect I link it to trolling because in writing that letter the person had both a physical and temporal distance from the recipient, similar to the anonymity and relative safety of trolls. I hope it didn’t sound like I was diminishing the culpability of the letter writer since that wasn’t my intention.

        Interesting point about altruism; when I think about compassion in this context I was thinking about how the expression of these traits are often seen as feminine. This article is a really interesting read about how caring is treated as women’s work, because it is a natural expression of female traits and thus not really work, and it suffers from lower pay. To me that indicates that while traits such as respect and compassion may be valued in a society, in practice they are often devalued by that same society.

        (Obviously this depends on individual societies, for instance I’m saying this from a UK perspective, but I imagine that any patriarchal society would suffer from similar disparities.)

        Hope that all makes sense!

      • チョコボくん

        The only Milgram experiment I’m really savvy with is the electric shock/obedience study. :/

        The main point of trolling is that you’re doing it for the lulz.

        It’s always the age-old perception that caring is a weakness is a weakness in men. Not “manly” enough.

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