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Raising Special Needs Kids Raising Special Needs Kids

Letter Telling Family to Euthanize Autistic Child Ruled Out as a Hate Crime

Letter Telling Family to Euthanize Autistic Child Ruled Out as a Hate Crime

by Jeanne Sager

policeIn a letter that proves that there is pink paper in the depths of hell, a family of a teenager with autism was recently told to euthanize the 13-year-old or move out of their neighborhood. The typed letter that came from an anonymous neighbor of Maxwell Begley's family has gone viral, angering just about anyone who reads it. That includes the cops, who are trying to figure out what to do about the "pissed off mother" who sent the note.

For starters, if and when they find her, they won't be charging her with a hate crime.

It's too bad.

The letter is certainly full of hateful comments about the 13-year-old, from urging the Begleys to donate whatever “non-retarded body parts he possesses" to science to referring to noises the child makes when outside as "noise polluting whaling (sic)." But Durham Regional Police in the Begleys' hometown of Newcastle, Ontario, have reviewed the letter and determined the language doesn't qualify as a hate crime under Canadian statutes.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the cops have taken the letter in as evidence, and they are trying to do something about it.

Criminal charges could come of this. Thank goodness.

Because a letter like that can't just make us mad. While that's all well and good in terms of increasing awareness of the discrimination and cruelty kids on the autism spectrum (and their families) encounter, Internet outrage isn't worth a whole lot. Throw in $1.50 and you might get a decent cup of coffee.

A letter like this crosses so many lines that it has to get the writer in real trouble, right? Otherwise, what's to keep them from doing it again?

Criminalizing behavior like this is the only sure way to prevent it from being repeated.

Frankly, it's hard to figure out the exact line between freedom of speech and harassing speech, and I'll admit I'm no expert on Canadian laws.

It's OK to hate on your neighbors from the privacy of your own home -- according to one survey, as many as 60 percent of people have admitted they don't get along with the folks next door. But you certainly don't take it beyond personal griping, and especially not in the form of a hate-filled screed about an innocent child.

It would seem to be criminal to have actually sent this letter to the family. This wasn't a letter someone wrote on their own computer, printed, then balled up and threw away. It wasn't even a rather inappropriate blog post.

This was a letter specifically sent to the Begley family. It was meant to hit them at home, on their own turf, where they should be able to feel safe, where Maxwell should be able to feel loved.

At the very least, the letter writer should be forced to do a little community service ... perhaps at a place that serves kids with special needs?

Check out the letter -- do you think criminal charges should be filed?

Would you consider this a hate crime?

Letter to family of autistic child


by on Aug. 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Replies (11-20):
momtimesx4
by Member on Aug. 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM
1 mom liked this

Well, even though the matter is in Canada, if it was in the US exactly how would it be a hate crime? 

mandee1503
by Amanda on Aug. 22, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Of course Canada's laws differ from ours, but if I received this letter I would be going door to door with my child demanding the women fess up. I hope when they find her she is charged with something.
momtimesx4
by Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:11 AM



Quoting mandee1503:

Of course Canada's laws differ from ours, but if I received this letter I would be going door to door with my child demanding the women fess up. I hope when they find her she is charged with something.

Like what?


Linagma03
by Gold Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:28 AM

She should face some kind of charges. I was sad to find out that this letter didn't rate the criteria of a hate crime. It will be nice to find out who this hateful woman is and let her have some of the same humiliation she has dealt this family. 

mandee1503
by Amanda on Aug. 22, 2013 at 6:25 AM
Criminal charges, harassment or something.

Quoting momtimesx4:




Quoting mandee1503:

Of course Canada's laws differ from ours, but if I received this letter I would be going door to door with my child demanding the women fess up. I hope when they find her she is charged with something.

Like what?



jeng1980
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 6:32 AM

So sad.  Yes def a hate crime.  It really attacks the family as a whole and then their precious son. I could not imagine what they are feeling at this point.  I hope they find the person.  And I agree with the reply that said they should put her in a facility to serve children with special needs for community service.  Maybe she was having a bad day but goodness this is soemthing that this family is going to always remember.  I feel so bad for them. :(

lonelymommyof2
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM

OMG that is aweful!!! I would have went door to door looking for the woman and tore her a new one! 

jjamom
by Michele on Aug. 22, 2013 at 8:52 AM
Harassment, maybe. Not to mention that I would be getting a restraining order against this woman to insure she doesn't hurt my child! She sounds incredibly angry and by suggesting they euthanize this child, calling him an animal, I would not put it past someone like that to do dire harm to him. I would think that letter would be reason enough for a judge to grant a restraining order.


Quoting momtimesx4:
Quoting mandee1503:Of course Canada's laws differ from ours, but if I received this letter I would be going door to door with my child demanding the women fess up. I hope when they find her she is charged with something. Like what?
aakeiser
by Bronze Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM
1 mom liked this
I feel there should be charges. If a person is able to take their hate to this level what will stop her from taking action towards the family or the boy. In this day and age one can't be too careful. I just watch on tv a Hannha and her story. This was a long term family friend, and she had bad vibes towards him and didn't express her feeling to her family. I don't know what he did to her to make her feel that way but he took it to next level. He killed her mom and brother. I am glad the police are trying to find out who sent it. I would say its hate crime or some one that could be dangerous.
gamermom81
by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Its a shame because this /is/ a hate crime

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