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#Justiceforethan

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justiceforethan

Today I changed my FB profile to this image.  #justiceforethan. 

Why?

Not because it's trendy.

Not because the vast majority of Americans agree with me and want to make a visual statement (though that would be really cool!). 

Not because I know Ethan personally.

I did it because Ethan did not deserve to die.

Ethan was a 26 year old man with Down syndrome. From what I've read about him, he sounds like a pretty typical guy with Down syndrome. He was a little heavy, but he as a nice guy. I don't know if he had a job, but if he's like most adults with Down syndrome, it wasn't a full time job if he did. He left the education system 4 or 5 years ago and the challenge is to keep him engaged, challenged, and enjoying his life. One thing I do know:  he loved movies.

He went to see a movie with his support person. He must have had a good time because he wasn't ready to leave when it was over.

As a result, he died.

You can read the story here.

The medical examimer proclaimed it a homocide.

The Grand Jury felt no criminal charges needed to be filed.

I am certain - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that the off-duty policemen working as security did not plan to harm Ethan, let alone kill him. I am equally sure that they were more concerned about expeditious compliance than listening. Cops can be that way. I'm married to one. I know. 

One of the most difficult things for peace officers to learn is that when dealing with a perosn with an intellectual or developmental disability, demands and pressure only make the person shut down. It isn't noncompliance, it's fear. 

All it takes is to step back, take a breath, wait for his parents or support person to arrive, and give him some time to work out that he can't have his way...this time.

I found my profile image on this blog: "A Little Bit of Moxy. Conversations About Disability, Travel, and Art."  It's a provocative, well written piece. I was already haunted by Ethan's story...which could easily be my son's story. Or the story of many, many people with Down syndrome and related disabilties I am honored to know.  

A more neutral account is here by Meliss Stolz of Garden of My Heart.

There is an online petition to seek further investigation into Ethan's needless death. It's right here. Take the time to add your voice to this injustice.

And if Ethan's story has affected you and you are a FaceBook user, Why not use this as your profile picture too?

Think of what it would mean to Ethan's parents. 

Instructions:

Right click on the image: Select "Save Image As" and save it to your hard drive. Then upload it as your profile picture.

If you tweet, talk about this and use the hastag #justiceforethan.

It's on my list of things to do.

I owe it to Ethan's Mom.  

I owe it to Ethan. 

 

 

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