Bonnie Liltz will be released from an Illinois prison despite being sentenced to four years after murdering her disabled daughter Courtney Liltz. Her justification was that her daughter had severe cerebral palsy and because her cancer was returning, she had to kill her. The courts and the media gave her mercy that they'd never give to a killer of an able-bodied person.
Bonnie Liltz is not the first
Let's not beat around the bush. Bonnie Liltz murdered her daughter, end of discussion. However, she was given a lot of mercy in our so-called liberal media. They portrayed her as an innocent waif who was merely overwhelmed. They barely mentioned Courtney Liltz or told us anything about her. To be fair, that's better than what disabled victims usually get in these cases. Typically, especially in the case of autism, they're treated like rabid animals who deserved to die.
According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Not Dead Yet this is common. First, a person murders a disabled person. Then the media gives them sympathy, often ignoring if not outright smearing the victim. The killer tells a sob story. The prosecutor is sympathetic to the point that the defense attorney really doesn't need to show up at all. And, assuming there's a trial, the jury is so tainted by stories about how hard they had it, and how terrible the disabled person was, that people like Bonnie Liltz get mercy that a killer of an able-bodied person would never get. This is the kind of thing that leads to massacres in nursing homes.
Imagine if Bonnie Liltz were a rapist
Now just imagine if Bonnie Liltz raped someone and tried to pass off this victim blaming nonsense in court the way she, and others like her, try to pass off the "oh I was so overwhelmed" nonsense. It wouldn't fly because we have things called rape shield laws. They ban defense attorneys from tainting the jury by blaming the victim.
That's exactly what the "overwhelmed guardian defense" does. It diminishes and often smears the victim the way questions like "what was she wearing?" do to rape victims. Every time an attorney or media outlet repeats the "overwhelmed guardian defense" they do to disabled murder victims like Courtney Liltz, the same thing attorneys did to rape victims before we had rape shield laws.
In the analysis of rape shield laws, lies the answer in what to do to protect people like Courtney Liltz and make sure their murderers are brought to justice. We need #Disability shield laws. We need laws that ban people from trying to play the "overwhelmed" card the way we banned "look what she's wearing" or other forms of reputation evidence that are currently being used to smear disabled murder victims like Courtney Liltz.
I'm not unsympathetic to caregivers
I know that everyone will shout that we should put ourselves in the caregiver's shoes but nobody seems to want to put themselves in the shoes of the defenseless victim who was murdered by the person they counted on. Courtney Liltz probably knew that her mother was about to poison her to death but could do nothing at all to stop it. Nobody wants to go in her shoes.
I get that people like Bonnie Liltz often lack things they need. Although it is worth noting that in many cases, the killers are upper-crust people who aren't lacking for resources. Either way, it is not an excuse for murder. Disabled people are not hostages in a negotiation.
It's time to protect the disabled and fulfill the promise of equal protection. It's time for a disability shield law. #News