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Response to the Terrorist Attack in San Bernardino, California

  • Published: 2015-12-06 : Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: People with disabilities are already the highest risk group for personal violence and abuse.

Quote: "Clearly, mainstream media sources do not have enough reporters to keep a light on the danger to people with disabilities in America."

Main Document

The attack on the center for people with disabilities in San Bernardino, California recently found me stunned nearly to silence. The attack was a horrifying demonstration of violence against people with disabilities and demonstrated just how nasty some people are in the world today. It has taken me, as a person with disabilities, several days to find a reaction within myself.

The mainstream media went from first including the fact that it was a major center for people with disabilities that was attacked to turning the entire situation into a gun, military and political issue. Somehow, the 30,000 plus people with disabilities and their caretakers affected by this mass shooting were passed up in favor of the gun issue in America, terrorism, political goals by candidates running for office, as well as continued involvement in areas of the world that violent extremists wish to claim as their own. Clearly, mainstream media sources do not have enough reporters to keep a light on the danger to people with disabilities in America.

Violence and People with Disabilities

People with disabilities are already the highest risk group for personal violence and abuse. Research shows that people with disabilities are at least one-and-a-half times more likely to be the victim of assault or abuse than non-disabled people of the same age and gender, as well as five times more likely to experience severe abuse and multiple victimizations. People with intellectual disabilities are at even greater risk and are estimated at being ten times more likely to experience abuse than non-disabled people.

In today's world, the personal safety of people with disabilities now involves dealing with terrorism. While inclusion in society is a vital issue for us, dealing with terrorists; despite religion or political affiliation, is not the kind of inclusion we desire. When the rest of American society chooses to support examination of the motives of terrorists, gun issues, political issues and so forth, yet denies the presentation of 30,000+ people with disabilities and caretakers, it tells everyone in America and the world that America, its media sources, politicians and so forth have turned their collective backs on America's largest minority population.

Even though a number of social, cultural, economic, physical and psychological factors contribute to the vulnerability of people with disabilities, a number of factors may also assist in reducing the likelihood of victimization. The factors include the provision of practical preventative strategies to maximize safety together with effective strategies to respond to the threat of violence or abuse. Disability organizations have presented information to help people with disabilities to remain safe in a society without terrorism - they are not prepared to teach us how to remain as safe as possible in the face of terroristic threats. Various disability organizations teach safety by:

The approach of disability organizations to abuse and violence in an American society devoid of terrorism is highly worthwhile and needs to continue. The need to develop safety information for people with disabilities in relation to acts of terrorism has now become a, 'must.' We need to know how to remain safe, if possible, from terrorists who are treated by mainstream media sources as some kind of evil celebrities.

We need to know which politicians running for office are prepared to help the population of people with disabilities in America through real, usable information. As people who experience forms of disabilities, we simply cannot continue to accept mainstream media as being worthwhile as those same sources ignore us. The attack in California teaches us that there are people here, in America, who will not hesitate to shoot, bomb, or using other weapons - kill people who often times have no means of fighting back.

Is there such a political leader in America? One that can actually help to keep people with disabilities safer in this nation? The only candidate I find any hope in is Bernie Sanders, personally. While the violent terrorists continue to yank America's string, we as people with disabilities are being caught in the crossfire. While mainstream media sources continue to ignore people with disabilities, my interest in those sources has dropped - dramatically. While the U.S. government continues to talk about everyone but us, I continue to find my interest in politicians decreasing by the moment.

America is seeming more and more like a, 'no-man's land,' for people with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) remains un-ratified by America. Political candidates continue to deny what a massive issue the safety of people with disabilities truly is; in fact - Donald Trump actually belittled a reporter with a form of disability recently. People with disabilities remain aware of your surroundings; your elected representatives, the military, police departments - it appears that none of them can keep you safe from a terrorist.

Disability & Violence


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