On Sunday March 1, I attended the Disability Day of Mourning Service which commemorates the disabled people who have been murdered by parents or caregivers. Attending this year has taken on further meaning as the world grapples with the pandemic of the novel corona virus. Much of the world is in turmoil right now and far to often disabled people are bearing the brunt of negative experiences and expectations.
The virus has gotten so bad that the entire country of Italy is in lock down. The number of people experiencing severe symptoms exceeds the Italian healthcare system’s capacity to effectively treat them all. The country has had to start implementing catastrophe triage. Essentially choosing who will have a chance to live and who will almost certainly die.
Those most at risk of death or serious symptoms are unsurprisingly disabled people, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly. We are facing a period of human history where many people may die and that the most like casualties will be marginalized people. Catastrophe triage will not act kindly for us. If it comes to that.
Illness is not however, the only serious risk to disabled people at this time. With the instruction to move indoors and to practice social distancing. Many otherwise healthy and able people are turning to delivery services to obtain essentials, while others are participating in panic buying which limits availability of necessary items.
Disabled people often rely on delivery services and our access to them is being seriously curtailed. I am at risk for serious food insecurity for the first time in my life and it is because predominantly healthy and able people are dominating services that I and other disabled people rely on.
I managed to get a delivery window for this evening. It has already been postponed to even later. I don’t know what portion if any of my order will actually show up at my door.
During a time that is already very tense for disabled people, we have also been informed that the man responsible for the Sagamihara Massacre has been sentenced to death.
I am at a loss about how to feel about this. I oppose the death penalty personally. I am trying to decide if I can be glad that his actions were so severely condemned while being uncomfortable with the actual punishment he received.
I can only be hoped that his victims (most of whom have still not been named publicly) and their families can find some peace.
This month started off with the Disability day of Mourning which was a sharp reminder of the extreme loss we experience in the disabled community at the hands of people who are supposed to comfort and care for us. Each day of remembrance includes the reading of the names of the dead. This is an endeavor that can take nearly an hour or more.
I started this month remembering those that we have lost already only to suddenly find myself in a world where disabled and vulnerable people are out at higher risk and that our overall survival may be based on the harsh realities of catastrophe medicine. Now we are also forced to relive the horror of the 19 murders that took place in the Tsukui Yamayuri En (Tsukui Lily Garden) facility.
This has been a hard month and it isn’t even over yet.
Please if you are able help the most vulnerable in your communities by practicing social distancing responsibly and by not hoarding resources.
I personally am experiencing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19 and would appreciate any assistance you can offer, even if it’s just to share this blog post.
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