Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Forever changed

I can think of no other time in my life that has touched me and changed me the way the story of Audrey Caroline Smith has. I feel closer to God because of her, somehow...this tiny fragile little person has made me dig deeper and question more. Her mother's words really made me think, and although I have always been a person of great faith, I am even more so now. A friend and Pastor of a church near them made this video to tell their story. I am SO blessed to have seen it, and also to have tickets to see Selah in concert next month. I think I will bring Ciarra with me.

Smith Family Story from Matthew Singleton on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bad Medicine

Source:United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Nazi Medical Experiments." Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_ph.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005168&MediaId=2655(accessed May 17, 2009).

Qui rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.

Who are you to laugh?
Change the name, and the story is told of you.

If you were asked to give a quick review of all you knew about the Holocaust, what would spring to mind? Images of train cars carrying people like cattle? Piles of discarded shoes and clothing? Perhaps gas chambers, starving people pressed against the gates of Auschwitz? You were probably raised having read the same history books I read, and maybe you picked up some story books about the Nazi era. SS soldiers, jackbooted thugs, barking dogs, machine gun fire...all are very real images of the Holocaust. But do you know how it all began?

When I became Ciarra's mom, I also became aware of some terrible realities. The abortion statistics are one of them. Over 90% abort for prenatal diagnosis. Some Doctors, who swear an oath to heal, are giving out false and misleading information, or no information at all. Their complicity in this modern day eugenics nightmare is without question. As I learned about these statistics, about the rush to feed bad information to already scared mothers, I kept hearing words bandied about that seemed overblown and cruel. Nazism, Hitleresque, even "Eugenics" seemed to push buttons and bring about cries of "No Fair!"

Many people say that to draw a parallel between the modern day extermination of babies with Down syndrome and Nazi Germany is ludicrous. Of course, I am passionately on the side of the babies, but I wanted to understand where such thinking comes from. I think I understand now. And yes, the parallels are there.

In the not-so-distant-past, a great injustice was committed against an entire people. And although I by no means intend to exclude their suffering, I am not talking about the Jewish people. I am talking about a time before the Holocaust, a time when Doctors and Nurses-not SS men, learned to kill their most vulnerable patients. It was practice, in a literal sense, for the coming Holocaust. It was not in places with names like Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Birkenau, or Treblinka that the killing began. The Nazi killing machine got its start quietly, in the Pediatric wards and asylums of Germany herself, carried out by the physicians of Germany, who perverted "healing" into killing.

Soon after Hitler took power, the Nazis formulated a policy based on their vision of a biologically "pure" population. Their goal was to create an "Aryan master race." On July 14, 1933 a new law called "Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases," was passed. It forced the sterilization of all persons who with disabilities considered hereditary, such as mental illness (schizophrenia and manic depression), mental retardation ("congenital feeble-mindedness"), physical deformity, epilepsy, blindness, deafness, and severe alcoholism.

Source:United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "Handicapped." Holocaust Encyclopedia. http://www.ushmm.org/education/resource/handic/handicapbklt.pdf(accessed May 17, 2009).

In 1933, Hitler organized a top secret committee called the KdF, Kanzlei des Führer, which means Hitler's Personal Chancellery to head the T4 program. To hide the true intentions of the KdF, they came up with a fictitious name "The Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditarily and Genetically Based Illnesses" known simply as the "Reich Committee."

What the world would come to know in later years as the T4 Program was created by Hitler's Nazis in 1939 to deal with the disabled, mentally ill, and elderly. T4 was named after the physical address of the Berlin administrtive offices of the program, Tiergarten Strafe Number 4, a confiscated Jewish villa. The tinderbox was set, all that was needed was a spark to light the flames of eugenic mass murder. The Nazi hierachy would continue to wrestle with the morality and legality of murdering it's most vulnerable, the people they referred to as "defectives", until early 1938. It was then that fate brought to them the parents of the little boy who would become the first to die by euthanasia. His death fed the desire for the elimination of lebensunwertes Leben ("life unworthy of life"), and catapulted the T4 program into history.

The father of "Baby Knauer," an infant born blind and missing his leg and part of his arm, wrote Hitler requesting permission to have his child "put to sleep." As described by Lifton and other historians, Hitler was quite interested in the case and sent one of his personal physicians, Karl Rudolph Brandt, to investigate. Brandt's instructions from his Führer were to verify the facts of the baby's condition and, if found to be true, to assure the child's doctors and his parents that if he was killed, no one would face punishment. The doctors in the case who met with Brandt agreed that there was "no justification for keeping the child alive." Baby Knauer soon became one of the first victims of the Holocaust.

Hitler later signed a secret decree permitting the euthanasia of disabled infants. Sympathetic physicians and nurses from around the country--many not even Nazi party members--cooperated in the horror that followed. Formal "protective guidelines" were created, including the creation of a panel of "expert referees," which judged which infants were eligible for the program.

Source:Killing Babies, Compassionately
The Netherlands follows in Germany's footsteps.
by Wesley J. Smith
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/003dncoj.asp?pg=2(accessed May 17, 2009).

In October 1939 Adolf Hitler wrote the following memo: "Reich Leader [Philip] Bouhler and Dr. med. [Karl] Brandt are charged with the responsibility of enlarging the authority of certain physicians, designated by name, so that patients who, on the basis of human judgment, are considered incurable, can be granted a mercy death after a discerning diagnosis."

http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/documentary/hadamar/the_occurrence.html(accessed May 17, 2009).

Source: http://www.holocaustchronicle.org/StaticPages/169.html(accessed May 17, 2009).

The wheels were quickly set in motion, elaborate plans laid out fo the "mercy killings" of hundreds of thousands of Germany's most vulnerable. The Third Reich's drive for racial purity left no room for anyone who was "different". Although the go-ahead for the euthanasia program was given in October 1939, the decree legalizing it was backdated to September 1, the beginning of World War II. Hitler knew that his people would find the killings more palatable if they were neccessitated by war. A propaganda campaign against those deemed unworthy was unleashed at the same time.

Doctors and Nurses were ordered to document any deviation from "normal" in babies up to 3 years old, particularly new births. Any baby born with even the mildest birth defect was catalogued and marked for death, including all infants born with specific medical conditions:

Idiotism and Down Syndrome (in particular cases with blindness or deafness);
Microcephaly (abnormally small head);
Severe or Progressive Hydrocephaly;
All deformities, in particular missing limbs, serious head and spinal column defects etc.;
Paralysis, including Little's sickness (Spastic Diplegia). The process for identifying them was mandatory. The families were told that their children were being sent to asylums for therapy, and often never knew the real reasons for the deaths.

The children were sent to various Institutions, where they lingered for just enough time to make it appear they were receiving treatment. Generally within weeks of arrival, they were dispatched with injections of drugs such as Luminal (Phenobarbitol) or simply starved to death. Later, as the Doctors perfected their gruesome work, they turned to gassing ever-growing numbers of their patients with carbon monoxide. Families who did not want their children taken away often faced a beaurocratic nightmare, the children were moved often to disguise the killings as natural, with death certificates to match. There were six euthanasia centers in Germany and Austria: Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Grafeneck, Bernburg, Hadamar, or Brandenburg.

The death notices were form letters:

As you have certainly already been informed your daughter,__________ transferred to our establishment by ministerial order. It is out painful duty to inform you that your daughter died here on __________of influenza, with an abscess on the lung. Unfortunately all efforts made by the medical staff to keep the patient alive proved in vain. We wish to express our sincere condolences at your loss. You will find consolation in the thought that the death of your daughter relieved her from her terrible and incurable suffering.

According to instructions from the police, we were obliged to proceed immediately with the cremation of the body. This measure is intended to protect the country from the spread of infectious diseases, which in time of war pose a considerable danger The regulations must, therefore be strictly adhered to.

Should you wish the urn to be sent to you - at no charge - kindly inform us and send us the written consent of the cemetery authorities. If we do not receive a reply from you within a fortnight, we shall make arrangements for the burial of the urn. Please find enclosed copies of the death certificate to be presented to the authorities. We suggest that you keep them in a safe place.

Heil Hitler (Kogen et al, p. 29)

As well as newborns, the doctors had to declare all children below the age of three who were affected by these conditions. The decree attached a sample declaration form. This form requested the following information, other than the name, age and sex of the child: a detailed description of the sickness; an explanation of how the child is affected by the sickness; details related to the child's hospitalization and the name of that hospital; an estimate of life expectancy and the chances of improvement. The form was only on one side of a page; the space for detailed description was very little. The midwives and doctors had to send their declarations to the local public health offices, who had to verify the information and then send the declaration to the Reich Committee at the 101, Berlin W 9 post office box.

The initial phase of the decree was set up to give the impression that the minister's objective was to realize a scientific survey which was to help children suffering from serious disorders: "The timely registration of suitable cases with deformations and hereditary mental disorders was essential for the clarification of scientific problems". The decree does not state the real reasons behind this compulsory declaration of disabled children.

The experts never checked the children for such deformities, nor did they consult existing medical casuistry. They simply gave a mark alongside the names on a piece of paper headed "Reich Committee", a simple plus (+) indicated inclusion in the program, which meant the killing of the child; a simple minus (-) indicated exclusion, which meant the child lived. If the expert was undecided, he wrote "observation", meaning the decision was deferred.

To kill the children, who, once taken into the operation network, became known as "children of the Reich Committee", the Committee created so-called wards of expert assistance for children in State hospitals and clinics. The first of these wards was quickly established under the direction of Hans Heinze at the Brandenburg-Gorden institute; time was needed to create others because the KdF had to recruit directors for these institutes designed to host wards for euthanasia, and doctors who were willing to do it.

On the 1st of July 1940, the RMdl issued a leaflet which announced the creation (which in reality took place some time previously) of the first pediatric ward of the Reich Committee in Brandenburg-Gorden, near Berlin. This measure, continuing to disguise the real reason for the program, informed health offices that "under expert medical supervision, the pediatric psychiatric ward in Gorden, near Brandenburg on the Haven, would supply all possible therapeutic operations for the children, and was made possible thanks to recent scientific discoveries".

From the beginning, even the doctors compiling the declaration forms did not know the truth. A health official, interested in organising the transfer of some children to the new Gorden institute, complained that the institute did not reply to his questions on costs. The Reich Committee possessed the resources to cover all expenses when there were no alternatives, but they tried, when possible, to persuade parents or support bodies to pay for the secret killings.

Source: Memories-The T4 Project. "Memories." Rai Social Action Department. http://www.segretariatosociale.rai.it/inglese/atelier/altriluoghi/memorie/altriluoghi_T4.html
(accessed May 17, 2009).

NOTE: one of the most comprehensive accounts of the t4 program that I have read

In the end, the Reich Committee established at least 22 child euthanasia wards. Some of these wards provide little information, other than their existence; others were covered up by the public shame following the revelations that emerged during the trials which were held after the war.

The Gorden ward, and its methods introduced by Heinze, made up the model for other pediatric wards; Gorden became the training center for other doctors responsible for the killing of children. Gorden had ample research equipment where Heinze and his interns carried out experiments on children before and after death. Gorden also used the nearby killing center in Brandeburg to guarantee the swift killing of groups of children.

In 1940 at least three other pediatric euthanasia wards were established. One of these was the large Am Steinhof institute in Vienna. In July 1940, the Am Spiegelgrund pedagogic sanitarium for children was inaugurated, with 640 beds in buildings situated within the confines of the Amo Steinhof. its function was a pediatric euthanasia ward for Austria.

In 1940, another pediatric euthanasia ward was established in the Federal State of Bavaria, in the large Eglfing-Haar public institute near Munich. This hospital complex hospitalized both adults and children; the child euthanasia ward was located far from the wards where normal patients were hospitalized.

We have an unusually vivid testimony of Eglfing-Haar before the official commencement of euthanasia practices. Lugwig Lehner, a Bavarian teacher, gave his testimony in 1946 in London, where he was then considered to be a German POW, based on his experience of a visit conducted by Pfannmuller.

having visited some wards, the director who, if I remember correctly was called Pfannmuller, led us to the pediatric ward. There were between 15 and 25 cots with as many children. I remember the frankness and the cynicism of his conversation:" these creatures are only a burden on our national health system. We don't kill them with poison, injections or methods that would allow the foreign press to stage a new smear campaign. Our method is much simpler and natural". I can still see this fat man in front of me who smiled smugly, surrounded by children that were dying of starvation. The assassin further highlighted that the children did not stop eating suddenly, but that their rations were slowly reduced.


The child euthanasia policy was initiated and directed by KdF bureaucrats, but carrying it out was left to the specialists: the doctors in the pediatric wards. The KdF bureaucrats were not worried about the methods of eliminating children; they trusted the expertise of the chosen doctors. The doctors had to find the best methods. Therefore, during a meeting at the KdF offices, the choice of extermination technique was left to the discretion of the doctors in Bayer.

One method of killing was death by starvation. We know for sure that this method was at times applied: when the war came to an end, the rations of food were reduced to a point of going below the basic level of survival and "the death by starvation wards" were found in many institutes. Despite this, death by starvation was not the most used method of child euthanasia.

The preferred method was using drugs. Although the decision on the type of drug used was up to each specialist, the doctors shared information in relation to the drugs, exchanging visits or meeting in Berlin. Pfannmuller, for example, visited Am Steinhof in Vienna and noted that those who practiced euthanasia used Morphine-Scopolamine; however he preferred Luminal (sedative) and Veronal (sleeping pill) barbiturates. In Berlin, Bayer was informed of the effectiveness of Bromide, Morphine, Veronal and Luminal. Among these Luminal became the favoured method by the majority of doctors, with Morphine-Scopolamine a second choice, usually kept for those who resisted Luminal or Veronal.

The doctors could also choose how to administer the drug. Usually lethal drugs were administered in tablet form, other times in liquid form; on rare occasions, when the patient could not or would not swallow, an injection was given. Usually the tablets were dissolved in liquid such as tea so the child would ingest the drug with normal foods.

There is an evident advantage of such a method for a secret extermination operation. These drugs were regularly administered in every health structure; they only became lethal when the dosage was increased. Therefore, the children were not killed due to the ingestion of poisonous substances, but due to an overdose of a common drug. Furthermore, the overdose of barbiturates and analogous drugs did not achieve immediate death; they caused medical complications, in particular pneumonia, which, in the end (usually within two or three days) led to death. At this point, doctors could observe a "natural death". Even Pfannmuller, who after the war rejected all proof of being responsible for his patients' deaths by starvation, confirming this pretence in front of the US military tribunal: " I must underline that we are not dealing with poisoning. The child died due to pulmonary congestion, and not poisoning".

But the people were beginning to notice, and on an increasing scale, objections were being raised. In some cases, the objections were not moral ones, but legal affairs that demanded rules be put in place to cover up the killings by making them matters of law.

Letter from chief of institution for feeble-minded in Stetten to Reich Minister of justice Dr. Frank, September 6, 1940 ( Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. I, p. 854).

Dear Reich Minister,

The measure being taken at present with mental patients of all kinds have caused a complete lack of confidence in justice among large groups of people. Without the consent of relatives and guardians, such patients are being transferred to different institutions. After a short time they are notified that the person concerned has died of some disease...

If the state really wants to carry out the extermination of these or at least of some mental patients, shouldn't a law be promulgated, which can be justified before the people - a law that would give everyone the assurance of careful examination as to whether he is due to die or entitled to live and which would also give the relatives a chance to be heard, in a similar way, as provided by the law for the prevention of Hereditarily affected Progeny?

Letter from Dr. Wurm, of the Wuerttemberg Evangelical Provincial Church, to Reich Minister of interior Dr. Frick, September 5, 1940 ( Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1946, Supp. A, p. 1223).

Dear Reich Minister,

On July 19th I sent you a letter about the systematic extermination of lunatics, feeble-minded and epileptic persons. Since then this practice has reached tremendous proportions: recently the inmates of old-age homes have also been included. The basis for this practice seems to be that in an efficient nation there should be no room for weak and frail people. It is evident from the many reports which we are receiving that the people's feelings are being badly hurt by the measures ordered and that the feeling of legal insecurity is spreading which is regrettable from the point of view of national and state interest

Letter from Dr. Hilfrich, Bishop of Limburg, to the Reich Minister of Justice, August 13, 1941 (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. I, p. 845-846).

Regarding the report submitted on July 16 by the Chairman of the Fulda Bishops' conference, Cardinal Dr. Bertram, I consider it my duty to present the following as a concrete illustration of destruction of so-called "useless life".

About 8 Kilometers from Limburg in the little town of Hadamar, on a hill overlooking the town, there is an institution which had formerly served various purposes and of late had been used as a nursing home. This institution was renovated and furnished as a place in which, by consensus of opinion, the above mentioned Euthanasia has been systematically practiced for months- approximately since February 1941. This fact is, of course, known beyond the administrative district of Wiesbaden...

Several times a week buses arrive in Hadamard with a considerable number of such victims. School children of the vicinity know this vehicle and say "here comes the murder-box again".

After the arrival of the vehicle, the citizens of Hadamar watch the smoke rise out of the chimney...

The effect of the principles at work here that children call each other names and say "you're crazy; you'll be sent to the baking oven in Hadamar"...

All God-fearing man consider this destruction of helpless beings a crass injustice...

Officials of the State Police, it is said, are trying to suppress discussions of the Hadamar occurrences by means of severe threats...

I beg you most humbly, Herr Reich Minister, in the sense of the report of the Episcopate of 16 July of this year, to prevent further transgressions of the Fifth Commandment of God

Letter from Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler to SS-Oberfuehrer Brack, December 19, 1940 (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. I, p. 856).

Dear Brack,

I hear there is great excitement on the Alb because of the Grafeneck Institution.

The population recognizes the gray automobiles of the SS and think they know what is going on at the constantly smoking crematory. What happens there is a secret and yet is no longer one. Thus the worst feeling has arisen there, and in my opinion there remains only one thing, to discontinue the use of the institution in this place and in any event disseminate information in a clever and sensible manner by showing motion pictures on the subject of inherited and mental diseases in just that locality.

May I ask for a report as to how the difficult problem is solved?

Extract from the Diary of General Halder, September-November 1941 (Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals - Washington, U.S Govt. Print. Off., 1949-1953, Vol. X, p. 1195-1196).

26 September 1941:

h. Mental institutions in Army Group North. Russians regard the feebleminded as sacred beings. Killing them is necessary, nontheless.

Hitler apparently gave Brandt a verbal order on or about 24 August 1941 to end or at least `stall' operation T4. But the killing of mental patients did not end: mass murder was just beginning. What was discontinued was only the visible dimension of the project: the large-scale gassing of patients. T4 officially ceased as a program, but that turned out to be still another deception. Widespread killing continued in a second phase, sometimes referred to in Nazi documents as `wild euthanasia' because doctors encouraged, if not directed, by the regime could now act on their own initiative concerning who would live or die.

Extracted from THE NAZI DOCTORS: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide.Lifton, Robert Jay, London: Papermac, 1986 (Reprinted 1990)__pp.95-97w/multiple citings

As we all now know, what happened to the children of Hadamar and the other killing hospitals was not the end. It was the training grounds for the even bigger killing spree to come. It is hard to fathom that the death and destruction of so many innocents could be seen as "the lesser evil" or not even known by the majority of people. It is a shameful history, but it is a necessary history to know. Even Hitler himself knew that without the awareness of the past, the future is doomed,

“"The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes"”

Sadly, we have not learned. The killing has never really stopped. Doctors, who swear an oath to preserve life, are taking it in the most inhumane and cruel ways possible. The ones whose lives are taken, just like in the days leading up to and including the Holocaust, are the ones least able to speak for themselves.

Children. just. like. mine.

In 1982, a Bloomington, Indiana child with Down's Syndrome was born with a connection between his food-pipe and windpipe, a condition know as trachea-esophageal fistula. This prevented the child from being fed since food could not reach the stomach.

A routine operation could have been performed by several surgeons in a 50-mile radius. Because the child had Down's Syndrome, the parents refused to grant permission to operate and had decided to starve the child to death. When word of the situation became public, a dozen families came forward and offered to adopt the baby.

The parents refused. Though it would have cost them no money, time or effort to allow someone else to raise their child, the parents, their doctors and the Supreme Court of Indiana said they had the right to starve the child to death.

The child died seven days after birth, before the U.S. Supreme Court could hear an appeal to the Indiana decision.

In addition to the horrible injustice, another troubling aspect of this case was the the reaction by pediatricians and pediatric surgeons. More than two-thirds stated that they would go along with the parents' wishes to deny life-saving surgery to a child with Down's Syndrome. Almost 75% said that if they had a child with Down's Syndrome, they would let the baby starve to death.

This case, along with that of Baby Jane Doe in New York motivated Congress to pass legislation in 1984 prohibiting the withholding of "medically indicated" treatment from any disabled newborn.

Our society is tumbling quickly down the slippery slope. We shake our heads in sadness and grief for what we believe we know about the Holocaust. We swear that we would never turn our backs in the same way that the German people turned theirs. We are better than that, we have learned from history. And yet, thousands upon thousands of our disabled children are killed in late term abortion every year. Their killing is not an easy one, the methods used to take their lives would make Hitler cringe.

Warning: graphic content

I then try to find a part of the fetus that I can
12 easily grasp, and then I pull on my forceps and pull that part
13 out. Sometimes during that portion of the D&E I am able to
14 pull forward either a foot or a leg or an arm of the fetus. If
15 I pull at that moment forward the leg of the fetus, I try to
16 deliver the fetus intact, because delivering a fetus intact has
17 several advantages over delivering not intact.

As I mentioned before, most of the patients I
12 deliver, I perform a D&E on, do have fetal malformations.
13 Those fetal malformations are usually diagnosed on ultrasound,
14 especially what we call the structural fetal malformation,
15 where something is wrong with the fetal head or the abdomen or
16 the chest. It could be many different things.

UNC Chapel-Hill biology professor Albert Harris argues,

"In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does. The brain is the last organ to become functional."

Handicapped people like Teri Schiavo starved to death by the legal system, and a husband who did not want the burden of her care. Like the Knauer Baby many years before, someone asked that she die, and the Doctors complied.

The zeal for eradicating people classed as sub-humans did not originate in the fevered brow of the madman from Linz. The pseudo-science called "eugenics" by its founder, Englishman Francis Galton, was tied from inception to the theories of Charles Darwin, Galton's cousin. Eugenics was the logical extension of the concepts of "natural selection" and "fitness" propounded in Origin of Species. Eugenics however, was the application of these concepts to human beings. The transmission of these ideas from Darwin's mind to Hitler's smoking chimneys can be easily traced.

Like those who just completed killing Terri, all it took was to put the plan into action and hope there was no resistance by the Christian populace. When the war began in 1939, Hitler ordered his program of mass murder begun. The initial killings were to take place at several sanatoria including Brandenburg, Sonnenstein, Hartheim, and the infamous Hadamar. Hitler himself coined terms and phrases which provides the dialogue for contemporary pro-death advocates such as Michael Schiavo's lawyer George Felos. Two favorites were phrases applied to the mentally disabled — these creatures were "life unworthy of life" and "useless eaters." The government program established to dispatch these "useless eaters" was dubbed Operation T4.

Let's be emphatic about the truth. Terri was murdered; her killing was a crime against humanity just as surely as if she had been a victim of Hitler's extermination sanatoriums. Her body, like those unfortunates, is to be incinerated in a crematory oven.

In America, the New Order is here and there are few people interested in arresting its progress. The laity are too fixated on twanging banjoes and wailing "Kumbaya" to hear the screams, or in Terri's case, the moans of the state's victims. A few good people did speak out this time but there won't be as many next time and the process of eradicating "useless eaters" and "life unworthy of life" will get easier and easier. So you see, the way from Hadamar to Woodlawn hospice, Pinellas Park, Florida is really a very short road indeed.

Although it may be offensive to many to equate the current state of affairs for prenatally diagnosed or born-disabled with what happend under Hitler, it is close enough to raise the questions. Who will stop it? who will lend their voice to protect the most fragile amongst us?

In Kansas, there is a Doctor by the name of George Tiller who performs abortions for fetal defect right up until the date of delivery.

"We have some experience with late terminations... about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years."

From a speech given by George R. Tiller at the National Abortion Federation Annual Meeting on April 2-4, 1995 in New Orleans, LA

"In our organization we have made the decision that in situations of fetal abnormality, the woman is the patient and the fetus is the problem."

From Tiller's 1996 video "Fetal Indications Terminations of Pregnancy". This video is distributed through ob/gyn and genetics counselors to advertise his late-term abortions for babies with defects.

And LeRoy Carhart:

Carhart said at least once a month, an entire fetus is expelled from the mother during a D&E he is performing. The fetuses are alive at the time of delivery," he said. There is a heartbeat "very frequently.

Carhart - one of Tiller's abortionists - admits that babies frequently are born alive during abortions. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 1, 2004, "Doctor: Law Would Outlaw Many Abortions"

From Tiller's website:
At Women's Health Care Services, we specialize in "late" abortion care. We are able to perform elective abortions to the time in the pregnancy when the fetus is viable. Viability is not a set point in time. Viability is determined by the attending physician and is based on sonogram results, physical examination and last menstrual period date (if known).
In order to offer you an appointment, we require that a physician refer you to our center. In addition, we need your genetic counselor or doctor to provide us with gestational and diagnostic information regarding your pregnancy. Over the past twenty-five years, we have had experience with pregnancy terminations in such situations as anencephaly, Trisomy 13, 18, and 21, polycystic kidney disease, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, Potter's syndrome, lethal dwarfism, holoprosencephaly, anterior and posterior encephalocele, non-immune hydrops, and a variety of other very significant abnormalities.

Crematoriums for dead children, killed because of their disability. What did we really learn?

You may read this and think, "not us", this cannot happen here. Think again. It IS happening:

Theodore Roosevelt 26th President of US 1901-1909. One of fourteen Masons who have been US Presidents.
Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.... Any group of farmers who permitted their best stock not to breed, and let all the increase come from the worst stock, would be treated as fit inmates for an asylum.... Some day we will realize that the prime duty, the inescapable duty of the good citizens of the right type is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world; and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type. The great problem of civilization is to secure a relative increase of the valuable as compared with the less valuable or noxious elements in the population... The problem cannot be met unless we give full consideration to the immense influence of heredity...

I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding; and when the evil nature of these people is sufficiently flagrant, this should be done. Criminals should be sterilized and feebleminded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them... The emphasis should be laid on getting desirable people to breed...

First paragraph: Theodore Roosevelt to Charles B. Davenport, January 3, 1913, Charles B. Davenport Papers, Department of Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

Second paragraph: Roosevelt, “Twisted Eugenics,” in The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, op. cit., National Edition, XII, p. 201.

ok, that is kind of old information. How bout this?

A professor of ethics at Princeton University, Peter Singer, advocates the killing of certain newborn infants at the discretion of their parents. The criteria he proposes for deciding which infants may be killed center on a wide range of hereditary physical conditions which Singer considers "disabilities". He has been forthright and consistent in his advocacy of this position for many years. The second sentence of his 1985 book Should the Baby Live? (co-authored with his close colleague Helga Kuhse) reads:

"We think that some infants with severe disabilities should be killed."

His 1994 book Rethinking Life & Death, whose aim is to articulate

"a social ethic where some human lives are valued and others are not"
(p. 112),

recapitulates the arguments in favor of selective infanticide outlined above. There he endorses the view that

"it is ethical that a child suffering from Down's syndrome...should not survive (p. 123) because the quality of life of someone with Down syndrome [is] below the standard at which medical treatment to sustain the life of an infant becomes obligatory
(p. 111;)

In Singer's terms "treatment to sustain life" doesn't refer merely to surgical intervention but to simple feeding as well). This "quality of life" reasoning is sometimes cast in more colorful terms; in Should the Baby Live? Singer quotes, entirely approvingly, the grandmother of a Down syndrome child:

"Had the poor little mongol been allowed to die, as he so easily could, my daughter might have had one or two healthy children in his place" (p. 66). Singer goes on to suggest lethal injection "in the case of a Down syndrome baby with no other defect"
(p. 73).

we have already looked beyond abortion to infanticide. In so doing we will have confirmed the suspicion of supporters of the sanctity of human life that once abortion is accepted, euthanasia lurks around the next comer...the case for killing other human beings, in certain circumstances, is strong.....At present parents can choose to keep or destroy their disabled offspring only if the disability happens to be detected during pregnancy. There is no logical basis for restricting parents' choice to these particular disabilities. If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant's condition than is possible before birth

A Professor of ETHICS. Today. at one of the greates schools in our country.

God help us all.

The Washington Post has a story that discusses the morality of prenatal testing.

A first-trimester screening test can reliably identify fetuses likely to be born with Down syndrome, providing expectant women with that information much earlier in a pregnancy than current testing allows, according to a major study being released today.Screening women before the second trimester allows those who might opt to terminate a pregnancy to make that decision when doctors say an abortion is safer and less traumatic.

But Gene Rudd of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations said he was concerned that women are not always fully advised about the risks of prenatal testing, and that screening could be used to try to eliminate babies with Down syndrome.

"What's the goal here? Is it to rid our society of Down babies? If that is the goal, I really have to question the civility of that," Rudd said. "The overwhelming number of people with Down will tell you their life is good."

Randall K. O'Bannon of the National Right to Life Committee said in an e-mail, "These tests appear to be used only to select babies for abortion, including as many as 5 percent who may not even have Down's Syndrome. . . . Killing a child with Down's Syndrome is not the solution to Down's Syndrome."

In the Netherlands:

Doctors should be allowed to kill patients who are "suffering through living", the Royal Dutch Medical Association has recommended after a three-year inquiry. It could find no good reason to exclude suffering from living" from the list of motives for legal euthanasia. At the moment, doctors must follow a 2002 ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court that only a "classifiable physical or mental condition" constitutes the "hopeless and unbearable suffering" which can justify a case of legal euthanasia.

More information has also emerged in the English-language media about euthanasia for newborns in the Netherlands. Several paediatricians are campaigning there for non-voluntary euthanasia for babies with untreatable congenital diseases and malformations. Dutch legal authorities are studying a protocol which would allow doctors to kill such babies without fear of prosecution if their parents consented. Dr Eduard Verhagen, of Groningen Hospital, estimates that about a dozen children are already being killed by their doctors every year in the Netherlands, even though this is technically illegal.


2 http://www.segretariatosociale.rai.it/inglese/atelier/altriluoghi/memorie/altriluoghi_T4.html


Update on sickies

Ciarra has not had fevers for a few days now. She is eating a bit, drinking a bit, and seems a lot better in general. She is still lethargic and VERY sleepy. She has been going to bed around 8 and not waking up till 1 or so the next day. We are letting her sleep, she seems to really need it. Her throat is clearing, the antibiotic is obviously working wonders. I am hoping and praying this is all thyroid related, and she will be ok, and that we wont have to face the big monster...boy thats scary. It is scary just to THINK it, hats off to the families that have had to deal with it. The thing about Leukemia, it isnt a quick fix. It is a LONG haul, months and months and often years of awfulness. To see these kids live with it, SMILE through it, is humbling. We appreciate the prayers of everyone who has left messages, called, sent emails, etc. Mostly for all the prayers...we hope they are working...and that we wont have to deal with this. Keep em coming, please?

the polygamist children-what to do?

I have been really uneasy about the raid on the polygamist sect in Texas. I 100% understand the whys of going in, and that there are absolutely gross violations of the law going on. BUT...all of the kids? I think it is over-reaching to take every child, they took newborns from nursing mothers, etc. I think that removing an entire community of children JUST because they belong to a community that MAY have broken the law is a very scary step for us as Americans. That that community is faith-based is even scarier.
I believe that something needed to be done to stop the chain of sexual abuse there, without question. What about little boys 12 and under? They have not been involved yet in any sort of sexual activity, presumably? Very young girls? Babies? I think taking the preteen girls, and perhaps even the teen boys was right and necessary, at least long enough to question them. But as I understand it, there was a great deal of turmoil within the sect, and a lot of people did not believe in marrying off little girls. What of them? The kids were all sucked up into this huge vacuum and taken away..an entire COMMUNITY. The legal system may well not get them back to their parents soon, if ever. Are we really prepared to have guilt by association, or even worse, guilt by religious affiliation? That's pretty scary. My resolution? Return the children and the mothers who are willing to learn a new way back to their homes, take the men up on their offer to leave for now, and sort it out without destroying all of these tiny lives. Throwing these kids into foster care, schools, etc is going to destroy every bit of their identity, and that is wrong.
What do you think?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Come Tell Daddy"....

Special Needs Student Beaten Unconscious on Bus/VIDEO

Teen Expelled In Beating Of Special Needs Student
School officials in Beaver County have decided to expel a 17-year-old student for allegedly beating a special needs student unconscious while
other students recorded the attack on their cell phones.

Authorities are also expected to file charges against the teenager.

According to witnesses, the attack happened late last week on a school bus in the parking lot of Western Beaver High School.

The 16-year-old victim suffered a concussion and broken teeth in the attack.

Watch the video, listen to the kid explain that "I had a bad day" and "I needed to take my anger out on someone or something"...and get MAD.

INDUSTRY (KDKA) #8213; "All I remember is getting up and hitting him... but I didn't know I hit him about 14 times. I didn't want to do it. He was getting on my nerves. I was having a bad day. I'm sorry."

If society continues to teach violent offenders that it is OK to beat and injure someone because you are having a bad day, we are in BIG trouble. I gotta hand it to the kid though, he is really in touch with his feelings...blech. THEN listen to his mom say she would have beat the kid up, too. And the dad say he taught his son to fight. Disgusting.

Teen in taped fight expelled

James Bainbridge, 16, left, sits with his father, Bill Bainbridge, in front of his parents' home in Midland. James beat up another student while riding on a Western Beaver High School bus and has since been expelled.

By Larissa Theodore and Bill Vidonic, Times Staff
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:41 PM EDT
Elliot Richard has struggled for years with injuries that he suffered in a horrific 1994 crash that killed his mother and two of his siblings.

Now, Richard, 16, of Ohioville, a special-needs student at Western Beaver School District, is undergoing treatment for injuries he received last week when Industry police said he was beaten into unconsciousness on a school bus.

His grandmother, Alice Richard, said Wednesday that her grandson suffers from headaches and other injuries.

Televised footage of the beating, recorded on a cell phone, showed James Bainbridge, 16, of Midland but who had been living with his grandmother in Industry, also a special-needs student, standing over Richard and wildly punching him in the head and upper body, landing more than a dozen blows. James Bainbridge has been expelled from school, his parents said.

Richard and Bainbridge are Beaver County Area Vocational Technical students and had been returning to Western Beaver’s high school after morning classes on April 17.

Bainbridge told The Times on Wednesday that he was provoked into fighting, after he said Richard picked up a piece of wood and “started talking junk,” threatening to hit his friend with the board as they sat outside the vo-tech school waiting for the bus. When Bainbridge told Richard to stop, Richard verbally abused him, Bainbridge said.

Industry Police Chief Gerold Miller said that Bainbridge told police that the fight started after Richard mouthed off to him.

Bainbridge said Wednesday that the conflict continued after the pair got on the bus. He said Richard normally sat in the front, but this trip, he sat in the back of the bus and switched seats several times until he was sitting a seat away from Bainbridge, and provoked him again.

“He’s rolling up his sleeves, cracking his knuckles,” Bainbridge said.

When the bus arrived at Western Beaver to drop off the kids, Bainbridge said he lost his temper.

“I get up, and all of a sudden, I just start hitting him,” he said.

Bainbridge said he thought he hit Richard once, but he’s been told he hit him 14 times. His brother, John Bainbridge, 19, also was on the bus and said he hit James in the chest to try to make him stop. Other students on the bus stood and watched, according to the Bainbridge brothers. Some recorded the event with their cellular phones.

Cell phone footage doesn’t show anyone stepping in to break up the fight.

The day of the fight, Richard was treated for his injuries at The Medical Center, Beaver, and released, but Miller said Richard would be receiving follow-up medical attention.

Charges hadn’t been filed against Bainbridge as of Wednesday, but Miller had said earlier that Bainbridge would be charged as a juvenile.

Bainbridge’s father, Bill, said he isn’t proud that his son hit Richard so many times, but he thought the events leading to the attack were also unjustifiable.

“He provoked my child into having to take action,” Bainbridge said.

Bainbridge said his son was expelled from school after a meeting Wednesday with school officials. James Bainbridge, whom his parents described as “developmentally slow,” will have to attend an alternative school, he said.

Alice Richard said Wednesday that she’s been instructed by an attorney to not talk about the case, but said, “There’s a lot behind this.”

Richard has been raising her grandson since 1994, after the crash that killed his mother, Ruth E. Green, 28, of Little Beaver Township, Lawrence County, and siblings Sheray L. Cruz, 5, and Cecil Green Jr., 2.

Elliot Richard survived, though with extensive injuries, as did two other sisters.

Marjorie Bainbridge, James’ mother, said she feels bad about what happened to Richard’s family, but said that everyone has dealt with hardship and that it’s no excuse to tease others.

“That doesn’t give you the right to act inappropriately,” Marjorie Bainbridge said.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The "L Word"

When Ciarra was born, I found myself facing a lot of what-ifs. What if she never talks, or gets potty trained? What if she is profoundly mentally retarded? How will I handle this, or that, or the other? What if no one wants to be her friend? What if I am not cut out for this? What if...what if...she gets leukemia? "The L word" as we in the Down syndrome community have euphemistically taken to calling it, is akin to "The R Word", and maybe even dirtier. The R word we can tackle, together, and make a difference. We can brush it off, fight back, DO something. "The L Word" is bigger, scarier, a monster that lies just under our beds, waiting to pounce on and devour our children...the children we have managed to steer through all of the other "what-ifs" with love and gratitude. We think of ourselves as lucky, we dodged a bullet, we ache for those amongst us who do have to live with..."the L Word"....but we don't dare look TOO closely...until we have to.

Now I have to. I am praying, and you better be praying too, or in the inimitable words of my hero Jeff Dunham.."I Keeeelll You!" Right now, we are in that waiting stage, the place where Moms go to worry and clean every square inch of their houses while waiting for word that the most dreaded news ever does not apply to their children...this time. As I go off to my corner to await word that we can test again, I am reminded that we have been here before. But...but...last time there were far less ominous signs, it was just a "lets-rule-that-out" kinda thing. This time is different. My baby girl is lethargic, she hasn't eaten in many days. She pushed the envelope of dehydration right to the limit, so bad that her cute little mouth was so dried out she couldn't pucker up for a kiss. She has been completely limp, exhausted, sleeping her days away, fevers raging from 100-103. She would wake up long enough to snuggle with me and tell me incoherent stories that trailed off into startled sleep and raspy snoring. It was Sunday when she woke up and tried to walk into the kitchen, and I watched in sheer panic as her legs gave out beneath her and she collapsed into a ball of hair and tears, screaming that her feet hurt. Uh oh.

Until just that moment, this was just another throat infection we were treating with antibiotics. It was just another "Hey Doc, it's us, your favorite patients. Need another antibiotic, it's back. and hey, can we get an ENT referral again?" Ciarra has had an ongoing battle with some funky throat thing for 2 years now. Ever since they took out her tonsils, she has come down with some odd infection that coats her throat, mouth, and palate with GUNK. Easily treated with antibiotics. But a real. pain. in. the. ass.

In the time it took for her to fall to the floor, I had visions of the last week come dancing into my mind. The notebook her teacher sent home with a note saying she had slept half the day away on the carpet in her room. (We know she gets really tired when she has this throat thing, we are trying to just let her rest as necessary, but not miss too much school.) The day she stood at the bus stop, and looked up at her big brother and burst out crying, then sat down and said her legs hurt. The nights of fevers that made the Brushfield's Spots in her eyes glow as though back lit by a furnace. The lack of eating, the lack of drinking, the disinterest in the favorite food of all time we tried to entice her with...as her daddy says, "When Ciarra doesn't want ice cream, something is really wrong." Now...the inability to bear weight, the pain in her bones...my mind was racing...remembering...another child, another story, another Mother's anguish as she recounted the night her child walked around the end of their bed, collapsing in pain, unable to bear weight. Like I said..uh oh. (Actually, what I really said was more along the lines of "oh, shit.")

Lucky for me, I have a GREAT Pediatrician. He listens to me, but even more..he HEARS me. He is honest with me, to the point of telling me when I am worrying too much. We have the kind of relationship where we can joke back and forth with one another and still be friends. I can tease him about his I Heart Jesus socks, and he can tell me that he is determined to wear something that proclaims his faith but that is understated enough not to piss off the people of other faiths that come through his door seeking his mercies. He can be blunt when he suggests that perhaps we want to take another look at our eating habits, when the kids start to climb the scales a bit and I worry about them ending up..like me. He is respectful, understanding, and honest to a fault. He often tells me that I am one of the few parents that will "get" this or that thing he tells me, in Doctor speak. He also graciously takes me correcting him at times, like the time when Ciarra was a baby and in the hospital, and he introduced her to a Medical student as "a great case of Brushfield's Spots"....and was immediately told (in front of said student) that no, actually, this was my DAUGHTER, Ciarra, who happened to have a really neat feature of DS that was called Brushfield's Spots. He never made the mistake of seeing her as a case of anything, ever again.

When this man who we trust to guide us through the medical aspects of our children's lives looks worried...I worry. When he consults with the blood disorders doc...I worry. When he looks me in the eye and says "this is concerning"...I thank God for a man who doesn't pat me on the head and send me away. He knows what I can handle, and that I demand the truth. He doesn't couch it. "This might be something bad," he says, but only when Ciarra cannot hear him. He whispers the word "Leukemia" when we discuss it, sheltering her from a word I am pretty sure she doesn't know and pray like crazy she never will. I love him for sparing her, but I love him even more for the fact that he respects her intelligence enough to be cautious and not just blurt things out, just in case. "It might not," he adds. It might just be this awful infection, the antibiotics messing with the numbers, the infection maybe paired with a virus, skewing the results. He sits with his hand to his chin, thinking. I shut up long enough to let him do so. He contemplates whether she should be admitted. I learn new words.."Neutropenic"...it means her neutrophil count is less than 2000. It is 550.

"Neutropenia" is a condition of an abnormally low number of a type of a particular type of white blood cell called a neutrophil. White blood cells (leukocytes) are the cells in the blood that play important roles in the body's immune by fighting off infection. Because white blood cells can be affected by many diseases, doctors will often check the "white blood cell count" in evaluating health conditions. "Neutropenia" is present when the neutophil count is less than 2000.

Later, I learn from a friend that this means she is much more susceptible to catching things right now, and that we should use some caution, but not panic. Lysol wipes, she says, are a good thing. They immediately go on my grocery list. By the way, the friend in question happens to be that mom...the one who has stood there (and stayed standing) when her child was diagnosed with..The L Word. She has managed to stay strong..I wonder how a mother takes hearing those words. HOW do you survive, how do you keep plugging away? I want to protect Ciarra from hurting. More than anything, I don't want her to hurt. I am not sure I have it in me to deal with this, if we have to. Of course, I know I must. But could I face it with courage? I guess I would need to, so Ciarra wouldn't be scared. (But if I get any say in the matter, may I please please just wimp out now, God?)

He debates admitting her, goes off to talk to the blood Doc, comes back in and scratches his chin some more. "If the fevers come back," he says, "bring her in immediately." I agree, of course. Reprieve...I bow down before the people who can juggle a family, jobs, finances, etc and still be in the hospital long term with sick children. (Did I mention the mom above has 4 children, all little, including a baby born while her child with DS/L was in the hospital? Or that her oldest son also happens to have autism? Bow..bow...bow...bow...grovel) He tells me that we will have to ride out this..whatever it is...that the fact that she is eating and drinking a tiny bit is encouraging. maybe it will turn out to be just a virus, topped with a healthy serving of throat infection. Oh, by the way, her TSH was off by a fair bit too. We barely discuss that, although her numbers have soared since last year (was 2.56 now 9.67), but it might explain the lethargy, the extreme exhaustion. I latch onto the TSH/thyroid issue, just one little pill a day..fixable. SO much better of an explanation than Leukemia.

I stand up to walk down the hall. Jim calls, he can't stand the wondering anymore. When Daddy's eyes flash fear, something is wrong. He asks me what I know, and I tell him we have to wait to finish this antibiotic, get her better from this..thing..and then retest. it might be nothing, but it could also be something scary. He sucks in his breath a little, almost imperceptibly, and asks me if I need anything at the store. I tell him we are headed home, and the relief in his voice is palpable.

I walk next this Doctor who has always been my buddy, my pal, and is now officially a Professional Medical Expert whose every word I will hang on for the next few weeks. (Maybe months, or years...God no.) Sometimes our relationship has been about being semi equals. He has told me many times he relies on me for DS specific information. He has always been the Doctor, and I have always known that, but somehow now he feels safe, his 'I heart Jesus' socks are comforting. The drawings on his walls of happy children playing, childish scrawls of "Jesus loves you, Dr. Adams" seem uber-important. Jesus loves him, Jesus loves Ciarra. Jesus won't let this happen to either of them, right? They are a team, I am the cheerleader, and we will not lose this stupid little battle. I realize that what I am fighting most right now is fear. I choke it down, follow him to the Nurses station, promise to stay in touch via email. I watch his eyes as he watches her limp slowly down the ramp by his door. There is a questioning there, maybe a little fear, too. He turns to me and smiles, the fear replaced by concern, he sees me watching him for a sign. I wait to hear the comforting words. "If she ends up admitted, don't worry if I am not there right away. I will make sure they treat her right." That is comforting enough, for today. If we do have to fight this monster, he will fight it with us.

I am reminded of last week, when he sang "You are so beautiful" into his otoscope, to a giggling Ciarra. I told her to tell him not to sing. What I would give to hear it again, light-hearted, happy, worry-free tenderness from the Doctor who has treated her since the day she was born. He will be here, I know he will. With a little luck, and 2 weeks to heal up, and a LOT of prayer...these numbers may revert to normal. and we may just be able to walk away from this experience reminded gently of how lucky we are. I can't allow myself to panic, yet. I can't get all wrapped up in thinking bad thoughts. It is hard not to, though. Please say a little prayer for us, if you would.

The numbers, to anyone wondering, are as follows:
WBC count= 1.9
Platelet count="Decreased" 145 thousand
Mature Neutrophils=29
Reactive Lymphocytes=7
Eosinophils=no number given
Plasma Cell=1
Neutrophils Absolute=.55
Lymphocytes Absolute=1.06
Monocytes Absolute=.25
Basophils Absolute=.02
Red Blood Cell Count=5.13
Mean Corpuscular Volume=88.7
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin=29.6
Mean Corpuscular HGB Concentration=33.4
Red Cell Distribution Width=49.2
Red Cell Disribution Width=15.2
Mean Platelet Volume=9.6
Vacuolated Neutrophils=present

Thursday, April 17, 2008

As I sit here in tears.

God bless America,
land that I love
stand beside her
and guide her
throught the night
with the light from above.

I stand with you, Sir. And I am so sorry to watch your pain as these asshats mock the symbol you fought for, that so many died for. I stand with YOU.

A Maine college student has caused a firestorm after plastering the floor of a campus building with American flags to see if anyone would trample Old Glory.

Susan Crane, a student at the University of Maine, Farmington, placed hundreds of flags on the floor of the school's student center Tuesday for an art class assignment. She set down the flags in a maze-like pattern to document whether students and staff would step on them.

But instead of fostering dialogue, the experiment drew demonstrators, among them Vietnam War veteran Charles Bennett.

"As far as I was concerned, that was desecration of the American flag," Bennett told FOXNews.com. He went down to the student center to protest the display after a friend told him what was going on, he said.

Bennett was among a vocal group that protested the treatment of the Stars and Stripes.

Click here to see video taken during the project.

Crane did not return a request for an interview, but she told the Franklin County Daily Bulldog that she chose to use the flag so passers-by could reflect on their patriotism.

"It sparked conversation and thought about how we feel about our flag, which I think is very important," Crane told the paper. "It was a very hard thing for me to do, to put the flag on the floor."

She said she filmed students from the knees down to see if they would walk on the flags. More than 95 percent did not.

"The strong emotions caught me by surprise. The veterans said, 'A lot of people died for that flag,'" Crane told the paper. "I had a hard time with it. Most others asked, 'What's this about?'"

The university gave Crane permission to arrange the project, which she designed to fulfill a requirement for her class, the Cultural Relationship of Art and the Personal Politic.

Bennett said he was irritated that the school permitted the project at all. He planned a protest for Thursday afternoon.

"It's a patriotic feeling that I have," he said. "That's what I fought for — for our freedoms — so they could do things, but don't do it with the American flag."

The school expected the project would cause a stir.

"Certainly passions are always swirling around the flag," said Celeste Branham, vice president of student and community services at the university. "Particularly in a time when there's a lot of controversy about our involvement in Iraq, we expected that the passions would be heightened, and we were not at all surprised by the reaction."

Branham said it's the role of a university to spark debate as part of the learning process.

The project was supposed to stay up for 24 hours, but the flags were removed 10 hours into the experiment after a fire marshal asked Crane to move them to the side of the hallway, the Daily Bulldog said.

Branham said the school wouldn't hesitate to allow the project to go on again.

"We were supporting and would continue to support any student's First Amendment right to free expression under the law," she said.

Don't run with forks-EVER

ok, I am going to post this with a warning. Dont click the second pic if you are squeamish. It isnt bloody or anything, but it WILL make you gasp and cover your mouth. and you might want to use spoons from now on with your kids, too.

Cute, isnt he? And you would think, wouldnt you, that he just somehow got those fork marks on the top of his nose in some weird way, but no biggie, right? WRONG. (Click here to see where the holes on this cute little face CAME FROM.)

OK, dont say I didnt warn ya.

Gifts II


Gifts won these awards!
2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA): Gold Award
2008 Mom's Choice Awards: Silver Recipient, Special & Exceptional Needs

Gifts II: A contract has been signed with Woodbine, and the book is slated for release in spring 2010. Submission guidelines below. Note: They won't be including any stories in vol. II about children featured in vol. I.

Photo contest: Woodbine is hosting a contest to solicit cover photos for Gifts II--guidelines Below

NDSC Convention: Jennifer Graf Groneberg and the editor of GIFTS Kathryn Soper will be presenting a New Parents' Survival workshop in Boston this summer. Also Woodbine is setting up a Gifts signing; details to come.

The second volume of Gifts will include stories about individuals with Down syndrome written by a wide variety of people, including:

family members (such as parents, siblings, and grandparents)
friends (such as neighbors, babysitters, and other associates)
professionals (such as teachers, doctors and nurses, and therapists)


Because most of the stories in the first volume of Gifts are mothers' accounts of adjusting to their young child's diagnosis, Gifts Volume II will include stories that offer other perspectives and experiences. We are especially interested in stories about school-age children, adolescents, and adults. While mothers' stories in these categories will be considered for inclusion, the collection will emphasize stories written by other family members, friends, and professionals.


Please write about one of the following gifts:

Acceptance - Describe how this individual exemplifies healthy acceptance of self, of others, and of life in general. How has he or she helped you to make peace with the circumstances in your life?

Courage- Describe how this individual has shown courage in the face of difficulty. What has he or she taught you about meeting life's challenges?

Friendship- Describe what this individual has taught you about being a true friend. How does he or she exemplify the values of kindness, cooperation, and/or trust?

Awareness -Describe how this individual has opened your eyes. As a result of your relationship with him or her, what truths do you now understand? What beauties can you now see?

Joy- Describe how this individual brightens your days. How has he or she brought love, laughter, and/or happiness into your life?

Your story should describe how an individual with Down syndrome has enriched your life. Your story must be unpublished, or if it has been published you must own the full rights to the piece.

Your story must contain a clear main idea supported by examples.

Your story should employ creative writing techniques such as the use of descriptive language, symbolism and imagery, and dialogue. Remember the first rule of creative writing: show, don’t tell.

Your submission should have a descriptive title, an engaging beginning, and a concise, memorable ending.

Compose your story in a plain, 12-pt. font using a word processing program. Single-space your text. Leave an empty line between paragraphs; do not indent or use any tabs. No handwritten submissions will be accepted.

Submissions must be between 500 and 2000 words in length (1-4 single-spaced pages).

Include the following information in the upper left corner of the first page of your story: Full name, street address, phone number, email address, story title, topic category, and word count.
Do not send your file as an attachment. Copy your entire file and paste it into the body of an email. Put your last name and the title of your story in the email subject line, like this: mylastname_mystorytitle.
Send the email to gifts.volume.2@gmail.com.
Submission Deadline NOW EXTENDED to September 1, 2008.

You will be notified through email regarding your submission's status by January 1, 2009.

If you have questions, please contact Kathryn Lynard Soper, editor, at kathryn_soper@segullah.org.




Gifts: Volume II is a collection of true stories describing the gifts of acceptance, courage, friendship, and joy that individuals with Down syndrome bring to the world. Written by friends and family members, as well as professionals who provide care and services, these stories inspire us to recognize the similarities, celebrate the differences, and enjoy the gifts sparked by an extra 21st chromosome.

As the editing for Gifts: Volume II gets underway, Woodbine House is already thinking about the cover! To obtain a wide selection of high quality photos of children with Down syndrome for consideration, Woodbine House will hold a cover photo contest, with a prize of $250 awarded to the photographer of the winning photo.


Subject matter:

Color or B & W photos of children with Down syndrome from early childhood through adolescence. No posed, formal portraits. Send candid, close-up photos of a single child, pair of children (at least 1 with Down syndrome), or child & adult. Outdoor photos preferred
Photos should have VERY LITTLE background clutter, such as toys or furniture

Digital photos taken at your camera’s highest resolution—2400 pixels wide; superfine setting
.jpg or .tif file format
Or sharply focused prints – no slides or negatives
Submission of photos:

Email digital photo files as attachments to photocontest@woodbinehouse.com. In the body of the email include name, address, phone, and email address
Or mail digital photo files on CD-ROM or photo prints to: Gifts Photo Contest, Woodbine House, 6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817. Label CD or the back of each photo with contact information, including email address
Name photo files as follows: lastname_firstname/1 (change # if submitting more than 1 photo)
Photo release:

Submit a photo release form (see below) for each identifiable child who appears in the photo(s) you send. If children other than your own appear in the photo, their parents need to fill out a separate form. Adults over 18 shown in photos should also sign release forms. Email or mail to the above address or FAX to 301-897-5838
Contest deadline:

October 15, 2008

Announcement of winner:

January 5, 2009. Winner will be announced on www.woodbinehouse.com and chosen by Woodbine House staff and Gifts II editor, Kathryn Soper
Prize for winner:

Other information:

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About A Boy

I ran into Jesse's teacher at the grocery store the other day. I had missed parent teacher conferences with sick kids, so I asked if he had a minute. He went on to tell me so many awesome things about this son of mine that they had to use a crowbar to get my head through the door on the way out. ;) Hey, when a teacher you really respect, one of the GOOD ONES, uses words like "Brilliant" and "Incredibly bright" about your child, it happens. He couldnt say enough good things about Jesse, his character, his personality, his intelligence, and his heart. He really LIKES him, and he tells me that the teaching team all feel the same way. He even told me that they will be starting a Gifted and Talented program next year, and that that came about, in part, because they wanted to be better able to suit the needs of my son and several of his classmates...one who I am SURE is a genius. This other kid, Adam, is THE kid, smart, gregarious, very cute, athletic...he seems to have it all. Jesse often feels "dumb" around Adam. I think this G&T class will help him realise just HOW bright he is. It is surely an honor to be chosen for it, right? It warms my heart to hear from teachers that my middle child is a GREAT writer, a deep thinker. The boy will show up his momma someday, I have no doubt. People say I am a good writer. Wait till you meet my son. If I can only keep his head on straight through High School (and we have a HORRIBLE HS, it isnt OUR HS it is in the next town and we bus kids in) and keep him believing in himself, just maybe he will go on to do incredible things. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and he worries me, but God I love this boy.


So...what do you think of the new look??!! Shannon, from Gabi's World came to my rescue and made me this gorgeous blog! I LOVE it, it is everything I was hoping for and more. I cant say THANK YOU enough, Shannon. Wooohooo!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pope Benedict XV knows

As a boy of fourteen, Joseph Ratzinger had a cousin who had been born with Down's Syndrome, only a bit younger than himself. In 1941, German state "therapists" came to the boy's house and probably informed the parents of the government regulation that prohibited mentally handicapped children from remaining in their parents' home. In spite of the family's pleas, the representatives of the Nazi state took the child away. The Ratzinger family never saw him again. Later the family learned that he had "died," most likely murdered, for being merely "undesirable," a blemish in the race, and a drain on the productivity of the nation. This was Joseph Ratzinger's first experience of a murderous philosophy that asserts that some people are disposable.

Many people are expecting Pope Benedict XVI to speak out in defense of human life and against abortion during his visit to the United States next week. What few people realize, however, is that the pope knows first hand what happens when a society refuses to defend the most defenseless of its citizens.

Pope Benedict XV=Joseph Ratzinger, the cousin of a child with Down syndrome who was killed by the Nazi's simply for being born "different".

In the next few weeks, I intend to write about Hademar, the institution where children with disabilities were sent by the Nazis. I told a story about Hademar at a Teacher's conference once, and there wasnt a dry eye in the house. The story is sobering, painful, and real. It is comforting, in a way, to know that even the Pope knows just HOW real eugenics is.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Ciarra, with love

I wish the world could see you as I see you
Wish they knew the joys you've brought to me
So many people quick to judge us
and see you as someone who shouldnt be

They tell me that your life is not worth living
if they were I, they would have never let you live
They cannot know the thing it is that we know
They will never know how much you have to give

They talk a lot of sacrifice and burden
They imagine that your being is our loss
How can they know you saved me when you found

when I never even knew that I was lost.

True enough, my world has changed forever
nothing in it is as it was so long ago
Your entry in our world has changed so many things
but none so much as they have changed my soul.

Why do we live our lives at all then
if there is some race that we must finish first
Why do we deny ourselves it all then
we drown so that we may quench our thirst

You taught me to stop and smell the tulips
they are different than the roses, this is true
their scent is in my every pore now
I never would have known them without you

To all the many people who would not choose you
who think your life is somehow tragedy
I say you have outlived them and outloved them
I am grateful God chose you just for me

You love your life and everyone thats in it
you shine your light without knowing that you do
Illuminate the darkness with your sparkle
my child, my love, my life, thank God for you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

bus stop days

my middle child is a son, 12 years old and almost as tall as me. He is sometimes gruff and he is always of few words. Honor roll, brilliant mind, he gathers his words and only doles them out when necessary. He is a lot like his father, quiet and mercurial. But he is a lot like me, too. He has a tender heart and is easily hurt. He just doesnt show it much. But this boy loves SO fully. He is a favorite with little kids, he has been "MY Jesse" to many a toddler. He loves new babies, and will sit and stroke their faces and hands for as long as their mothers will let him hold them. He is very tender-hearted and has one of the gentlest spirits I have ever known in a tough guy. He is the kid that used to climb in the crib with his baby sister if she cried, carry her everywhere, and dote on her as though she was the best thing in the entire world.
As they have grown a little, their bond has been tested a bit. Like all siblings, they fight sometimes. She can be spoiled, so can he. They both want the tv when they want it, and he really really dislikes her best friend (Who is not very nice to him at all) The last year or so their bond has been stretched, they are both growing up, both past the huggy stage really. Maybe it isnt COOL to be cuddly anymore?
I was perched in my window today, watching them wait for the bus. Usually they will shoot a few hoops or climb snowbanks or throw rocks across the street. Lately, they have sort of tried to find their respective SPOT with one another, they seem to have a mutual respect for being "big". Ciarra is in a wonderful mood today, and has been quite cheerful lately in general. I can usually not hear them when they wait for the bus, it is a fair ways to the busstop. Jesse came ambling down the driveway, she was already there. He put down his laptop and backpack and walked towards her. Sometimes they will spar a little in the morning, grumbling and bossy, and one will complain about the other DOING something or another. It is never more than a sort of playacting, though, like they are SUPPOSED to get on each others nerves. I saw him walk towards her, stand beside her, then reach out an arm and lay it across her shoulders. Then crouch down, lean in, and kiss her cheek. I dont have a clue what precipitated this gesture, but it was sweet to watch. many times, Ciarra will resent him trying to cuddle with her, she is BIG and she isnt a baby. I wasnt sure what was going on, if maybe she was sad and he was comforting her. She leaned back, looked up at him, then threw both arms around his waist and hugged him, hard. They stood looking at each other for a second, and then almost seemed to realize they were being LOVEY, and, well, the bus WAS coming. They stepped back, adjusted their backpacks, and the moment was gone. But I saw it, I recorded it in my mommy file, and I treasured it.

As they grow up, the moments in which they can just LOVE without worrying what the world thinks will be fewer and farther between. He may not climb into bed with her much these days, but if she is sick or sad, I can count on him being there for her. Their bond is so natural, and yet it isnt sticky sweet, he doesnt feel any sense of "burden" towards her, shes just his pesky little sister and only sometimes still CUTE. Generally, she is bossy, opinionated, and too independant to stand still for his hugs. I am happy to see he still gives them, and that she still accepts them, sometimes.

The bus came down over the hill, and I saw them turn. He lets her get on first and I remember the days he had to boost her up the stairs. She is tall, strong, and confidant now, and the big brother role is changing. But the love is still there, and growing every day.


I sometimes watch her as though I am a stranger, and try to view her world as SHE views it. When the bus arrived today, she looked up into the window, saw her best friend, and squealed out loud, waving and running to the bus. I heard the bus driver say "Good morning, sunshine!" and I smiled to myself. We should ALL be greeted this way every day, dont you think? Ciarra's life is joyful. I could ask for NOTHING more.