A common sense approach to idiocy



August 23, 2013

This is a sad story sad story of a despicable and cowardly person who anonymously wrote a hateful letter to her neighbour. In it, she ranted about the neighbour’s autistic grandson, telling her that the boy, a “wild animal”, ought to be euthanized.

As Liberal Senator Jim Munson, an autism advocate, said, “crime of ignorance and a crime of stupidity, and I think it’s an exception rather than the rule.”

It is good and right to respond with outrage in this case. And it is good to see that the “community has united” over this, lending support to the family of the autistic boy.

But should a human rights complaint be filed and the person who wrote this stupid, ignorant and offensive letter be fined for saying something so cruel, as some people will inevitably suggest needs to happen? Or, since this happened in Ontario, which does not have a hate speech provision in its Human Rights Code, should the Ontario Code be amended? Absolutely not. Should the community ostracize the writer? Absolutely. She should feel absolutely ashamed for what was written.

And when the community bands together, the appropriate punishments and lessons happen. As Laurie Mawlam, executive director of Autism Canada, said, “I think the person who wrote the letter has their own issues. Personally, I think they’ve gotten their punishment.”

The question always is, what is the proper role for the State to play, and what is the role of individuals, of families and of communities? In this , the family and the community stepped up and fulfilled their role. Good on them. Hopefully the State remembers that its role is not punisher of mean and offensive opinions, even ones we find really, really awful.

Freedom of Speech, Human Rights Commission Email Us 

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