As I was spreading the news about my interview the other day, someone I respect very much totally knocked me for a loop.
They said "Are you still on that? Hasn't it been like, two months?"
Wow! I was speechless. The more I thought about it, the more it hit me. That's what "they" want.
Then the floodgates opened. Who exactly are the combatants in this "us" vs. "them" scenario? Do they really expect us to get tired of talking about it? Are they hoping people will get tired of listening to us and we'll give up and go away?
As far as who the combatants are, it's become painfully clear that the only real "us" in this battle are the parents, siblings, and other family members of someone who has Ds. We don't have the attention and support of those who claim to 'advocate' for us. At least not fully, and not yet. Even in this club, there seems to be a small minority who realize that this is a human rights issue, not fixable by more or better training.
As far as I can tell, the guidelines were in place. Police are trained not to put anyone face down and obstruct their breathing. But in this case, Ethan didn't qualify as 'anyone.' He was 'other.'
Unfortunately it seems that even our closest allies are starting to get tired of hearing us 'rant' about injustice and fear, and civil rights.
So who are "they" ?
They aren't the casual observers who don't see how this affects them. That's not who we're 'fighting.' We are busy trying to get more people aware and angry, and to see that this does affect them. We're trying to show that this affects everyone.
Are they the actual officers who were there that night? Yes, and no. Those three, and anyone who helped them cover up their actions obviously need to be held accountable. But it's so much bigger than that.
For me, it's simple.
I knew Ethan. I know his family. It IS personal. I know it could have easily been MY son in that theater. I CAN NOT get over the idea that he went to the movies and didn't come home.
I keep remembering how I let Josh go to an Alice Cooper concert a few years back. He had been participating in a university course and went to the concert with another student (they were all 'typical'). He absolutely loved it! He talks about it to this day. I thought it was a great opportunity for inclusion and a personal 'win.' But anything could have happened. Security guards are all over places like that.
That fear - about the things Josh has done in the past that could have gone wrong - is the problem. The fear of how to handle situations that come up in the future and how that will limit his opportunities - that is the problem. That constant, nagging, paralyzing fear and the overwhelming sadness when I think about Ethan and his family, those things will NEVER go away. Not in a matter of months, or years. Not ever.
So to all those who may be getting weary of my talking, posting, blogging, etc... I'm sorry, but this will not end. I will not go away. I will continue to voice my fears, my anger, and my sadness. Hopefully, as others join us, "we" will get louder. Hopefully so many of us will be talking and marching, and demanding justice that "they" will not be able to ignore us anymore.