If they had called him a "retart," that really would have been offensive

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Be thankful you don't live in Nephi, UT, where there's no thin blue line standing between you and the walking mentally challenged. A local family gets a top-story TV news beatdown for posting a sign reading "Caution Retard's in area" in their yard:

The sign is directed at a 13-year-old mentally challenged neighbor, whom the signmaking family charges assaulted their daughter with a rock. It's pretty stupid to assume the sign is going to do anything about it (although the wife in the video clip claims it's already working as effectively as the Bear Patrol). But what's interesting is that no local authorities, including that ultimate local authority, KSL News, has bothered to investigate the assault charge, while the stupid sign has the county's district attorney "researching" his legal options…

Neighbor: "The young boy, we got pictures and everything and they would not press charges because he is handicapped."

The neighbor claims Colton threw a rock at his young daughter. Other neighbors told us they have frequently found Colton wandering onto their property.

Still, the Disability Law Center says using offensive words is the wrong way to handle a difficult situation.

Fraser Nelson, Executive Director, Disability Law Center: "People with disabilities are probably the last group for whom we continue to use language that is hurtful and offensive. Instead of being someone who is mentally retarded, you are a person with a developmental disability and that means really what we are valuing is the person."

What can I say? I'm not without sympathy for the ignoramuses who put up the sign. Not for putting up the sign, but for feeling menaced by this child. (Presuming that the charge about the rock is true.) Every small kid knows there's nothing scarier than a big retard—that's one of the reasons the mentally challenged get so much abuse from other kids. The abuse is not right, nor is the sign, but the solution in this case was for the family of the 13-year-old to have kept him under control in the first place (a slam-dunk conclusion given that his mother says he's got the mental faculties of a three-year-old). This isn't a matter of the essential rights of the handicapped, but of respecting the rights of your neighbors.

NEXT: Attn, DC Reasonoids: Happy Hour, Thurs, 7/27

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  1. Given the frequency of occurrence, I can only assume that English teachers are now instructing students to form the plural of most common words with an apostrophe-s.

  2. Saw that, and you’ve just about nailed it (because your take is the same as mine)

  3. What is the point of the “‘s” after “retard”? It is presumably not a misspelling of the plural form, since there is apparently only one. Equally, it doesn’t make much sense as a contraction of “retard is,” since: “Retard in area” conveys the same message as “Retard is in area”.

  4. Ok, so the kid is mentally challenged.

    But the signmaker abuses the apostrophe like a pack of Cub Scouts at a Never Never Land sleepover.

    What’s his excuse?

  5. Interesting how the language of insult evolves. Didn’t the developmentally disabled used to be called idiots? Then idiot became shorthand for any jagoff with less than admirable intelligence. Then they became mentally retarded. This seemed good because playground bullies probably couldn’t pronounce it, but they caught on, and now “retard” or even “tard” is a demeaning insult. How long will “developmentally disabled” have a shelf life? Thanks Reason for going beyond the anachronistic yard sign and seeing the real story. I grew up with a [insert pretty euphemism here] man living across the street. He only stabbed his sisters, so at least he kept it in the family.

  6. Perhaps it was a contraction for “retard is in area,” which would be grammatically correct.

  7. Every small kid knows there’s nothing scarier than a big retard?that’s one of the reasons the mentally challenged get so much abuse from other kids.

    Tim wins Best Sentence of the Day.

    The people who wrote the sign are also clearly retarded since they can’t form a simple plural word.

  8. I wonder who will sue who first?

    “My lawyer can beat up your lawyer.”

  9. “Caution: Retard’s in Area”

    Yup.

    Let’s all put our heads together and see if we can come up with a reason, other than a conspiracy of political correctness run amok in the Nephi, Utah sherrif’s office, that could explain why a police department wouldn’t choose to investigate a charge of a child throwing a rock at another child.

    Hmmmmmmmm…

  10. We’re all on the short bus to hell…

    And how can they tell when a Utah resident is retarded?

  11. Lamar,

    Just as oppressed groups can colonize an insulting word, adopt it, and strip it of its degrading meaning (like “queer” and, some would say, “n****r”), so can the opposite happen.

    An oppressive majority can take a value-neutral or even positive word for a minority group, and through insulting usage, change its meaning into a slur. Think of “philistine” or “gay” as a schoolyard taunt.

  12. Let’s all put our heads together and see if we can come up with a reason, other than a conspiracy of political correctness run amok in the Nephi, Utah sherrif’s office, that could explain why a police department wouldn’t choose to investigate a charge of a child throwing a rock at another child.

    I wonder why the sheriff’s office hasn’t bothered to investigate parents irresponsible enough to let the equivalent of a three-year-old run around town without supervision.

    Why won’t Utahns think of the children?

    Remember: sticks and stones may break your bones, but only when wielded by someone with an IQ of at least 100.

  13. “And how can they tell when a Utah resident is retarded?”

    Hey, that’s unkind. There are many famous Utahan intellectuals and scientists! Like, uh… Hmm, can anyone help me out here?

  14. Uh, joe, what is your explanation? I could see your point if that’s all that was occuring, but the PC-obsessiveness enters when a county prosecutor is “studying his options” against people exercising their First-Amendment rights, because we may offend the parents of the oh-so-special “developmentally handicapped”

    You’re a sad excuse for a liberal.

    To add to this, when “developmentally handicapped” came into vogue, the kids at my school quickly formed the insult “DH”, as in “You’re acting like the DH-ers (or a DH)”.

  15. I was going to sic the signage, but I figured it might be a contraction for: “Retard is in area.”

  16. “[insert pretty euphemism here]”

    How ’bout ‘window lickers’?

  17. I was going to sic the signage, but I figured it might be a contraction for: “Retard is in area.”

    Reading this statement gives me the strangest feeling of deja vu . . . .

  18. SR,

    Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of the cathode-ray tube and, therefore, television was from Utah. He has the best statue in the Capitol buliding for his efforts.

    Randian,

    My explanation seems to have been woven into the nest of the server squirrels.

    A kid.

    Threw.

    A rock.

    That’s not generally sufficient to motivate Officer Delbert to abandon his speed trap, regardless of jurisdiction.

  19. It gives me an even stronger feeling of deja vu.

  20. I can play the simpleton game too:

    A prosecutor.

    Considers.

    Prosecuting Free Speech.

    Instead of assault.

    And you make excuses for it. You bite the big one, joe.

  21. Seriously, what can a prosecutor do to a retarded child, legaly? No jury will ever convict the kid, and it will make the prosecutor look bad in the eyes of the public for “picking on retards”.

    On the other hand, there is a long and established tradition of convicting people for saying something that others might find slightly offensive. And censorship almost always has popular support. Going after the people with the sign is a safe bet.

  22. It’s wrong to call the poor kid a “retard.” They should take down the sign and replace it with, “CAUTION: Rock-throwing punk, uncontrolled by parents, in area.”

    No need for irrelevant insult’s.

  23. We do not care for the word “retard.”
    We prefer “twice as dumb as shit” or “idjit”

    Thank you.

  24. “Remember: sticks and stones may break your bones, but only when wielded by someone with an IQ of at least 100.”

    Jennifer, aren’t you always going on about how modern parents, and the modern nanny-state they’re allied with, makes a habit of over-reacting to what used to be considered common childhood bumps and bruises?

    A kid.

    Threw.

    A rock.

    Perhaps a Department of Rock Throwing is in order. Of course, they’ll need a budget for the kickoff party.

    Also, I like how “Other neighbors told us they have frequently found Colton wandering onto their property.” becomes, in your post, “roam around town.”

    Exactly how many agencies do you think should be consulted on “Operation You Kids Get Off My Lawn,” in your opinion?

  25. Randian,

    Would you mind quoting back to the part where I supported, or commented in any way on, the prosecution of the people with the yard sign?

    Thanks.

    You’ve got.

    Liberal.

    In Your Head.

    Disease.

  26. I can play the simpleton game too:

    A prosecutor.

    Considers.

    Prosecuting Free Speech.

    Instead of assault.

    And you make excuses for it. You bite the big one, joe.

    Obviously, the prosecutor is “considering” whether or not the sign is protected free speech, as opposed to harassment.

    You may disagree with the conclusion he reaches, but I don’t see how you can blame the prosecutor for at least looking into it.

  27. Joe,

    Shouldn’t that be “q***r?”

  28. “How long will “developmentally disabled” have a shelf life?”

    The expiration date has passed. I’ve already heard teens call each other “Dee-Dee”. As in “Quit being such a D.D.”

    My sister once said in reply to an insult, “Before I could be retarded, I’d have to be tarded, then untarded to become retarded.”

  29. “I can play the simpleton game too”

    Yes, far better than me, apparently.

    I can’t seem to get over my habit of refuting points that have actually been made.

  30. NoStar: You forgot “Pre-tarded,” which is the legal state of not yet being tarded.

  31. Joe, me citing the prosecutor’s zeal for going after free speech in the name of that non-crime “offense” in lieu of prosecuting an actual crime (you know, a real live assault) was a refutation of your argument that this is not “PC Gone Wild”…I note you still haven’t addressed this.

  32. The only conclusion I draw from this tale is sincere gratitude that I don’t live in Nephi, UT.

  33. They should be penalized for making such a half-assed sign. I mean, red and green spraypaint on cardboard? Who can see that? They should have used black on yellow with a helmeted, rock-throwing stick figure if they really wanted to send a message.

  34. I remember when all the lads in the schoolyard would call me a philistine. The pain is still with me to this day.

  35. “Every small kid knows there’s nothing scarier than a big retard?that’s one of the reasons the mentally challenged get so much abuse from other kids. The abuse is not right, nor is the sign, but the solution in this case was for the family of the 13-year-old to have kept him under control in the first place.”

    My sister is mentally disabled and every ignoramus on this thread, with the exception of Joe who seems to be a voice of reason, can go fuck themselves with a log. This kid maybe be a threat to others, but it is not because of his IQ. Mentally disabled people are not any more or less prone to violence than any other group and being mentally disabled does not make someone violent. You people talk as if anyone with a mental disability is some kind of wild animal who needs to be controlled. That is just bullshit. If this kid is violent, then something needs to be done, but that would be just as true regardless of his IQ.

    Tim,

    No local authority has investigated. That may be true, but that doesn’t give you the right to automatically assume that the kid is guilty and the idiots with the sign or somehow aggrieved. Maybe he did it, maybe he did not. Further, if he is the equivalent of some kind of animal roaming the earth as you describe him, how is it that no one other than the sign wielding people seem to have a problem? If he is that bad and needs to be controlled I would think there would be more than one rock throwing incident in 13 years.

  36. Q: What’s better than winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics?

    A: Not being retarded.

  37. Damned server ate my post.

    I vote for changing the term to “Mentally Bushed” based on watching W. at the G8.

    As for the post and the issue. Give me a fucking break Jennifer et. al– no one would prosecute a 13 year old with an IQ of 160 for throwing the rock.

    If you think the parents of the mentally bushed child are the problem here, you have a seriously warped view of reality.

  38. I’ve got a 3-year-old son and I can tell you, it would be pretty scary if he had the strength and size of a 13-year-old. Something tells me that the sign-posting parents were fed up and the rock throwing was the last straw.

    Although, I would have worded the sign a little differently, I side with the sign makers on this one. Something like, “Beware of large, violent kid in area” would have gotten the point across.
    Better advice would be to simply move away. I wouldn’t want to put my daughter at constant risk like that.

    I feel for the parents of the mentally retarded kid as well. Taking care of kids is the most difficult, frustrating job I’ve ever done (and I’ve done some doozies). I can’t imagine the never ending burden of taking care of someone who is mentally retarded.

  39. joe:

    You make it to be a simple rock-throwing.

    But that rock-throwing can easily lead to puppy-crushing and the breaking of bimbos’ necks because they got “purdy hair”.

    Remember… the only problem with little tards is that they grow up to be BIG tards.

  40. “Something tells me that the sign-posting parents were fed up and the rock throwing was the last straw.”

    Maybe so. Or maybe they are just assholes. My question is, if the kid is that bad, why isn’t the whole neighborhood up in arms? I would like the hear the whole story.

  41. I hate PC as much as the next guy, but could we maybe find another word other than “retard” or its variants?

  42. Obviously, the solution is to teach the girl to throw rocks back at the retard. Then even Joe can be happy.

  43. As for the post and the issue. Give me a fucking break Jennifer et. al– no one would prosecute a 13 year old with an IQ of 160 for throwing the rock.

    Are you kidding me? kid hits girl in head with rock and you think that goes away? Maybe 30 years ago, but not now.

    As for the kid, I don’t know if he’s guilty or the neighbors are out to get him, but if he’s roaming onto other people’s property and he’s hitting kids in the head with rocks, I don’t think it’s the child that deserves punishment, he’s got the abilities of a three-year old so it will do no good. The parents, on the other hand, deserve something severe for not tending to him. If he does have the mental faculties of a three year old, why is he allowed to roam around the neighborhood?

  44. Nice Guy has purdy hair…

    Can we get this kid in the Special Olympic shot put competition?

  45. Randian,

    “prosecutor’s zeal for going after free speech” You mean, when he uttered the cop-speak phrase for “I’m not going to do shit,” ie, “considering our options?”

    “I note you still haven’t addressed this.” No, I haven’t. Which makes it rather odd that you would accuse me of “mak(ing) excuses for it.”

    “But that rock-throwing can easily lead to puppy-crushing and the breaking of bimbos’ necks because they got “purdy hair”.”

    LOL, Mistah Niceguy!

  46. It’s the official policy of Ohio to similarly mock the handicapped.

    Sign in Central Ohio http://home.att.net/~rhhardin5/deaf.jpg

  47. You mean, as opposed to being chained in the cellar?

  48. “Think of “philistine” or “gay” as a schoolyard taunt.”

    Yes, nothing was quite so hurtful as being called a philistine by the schoolyard bully.

  49. Um… hate to rain on the parade here, but why are we all assuming that the rock-throwing incident happened? No one corroborates this guy’s story in the cited article — not his neighbors, not his family, not the police. Tim writes that “local authorities” haven’t bothered to investigate the charge, but how on earth do we know that? (Just because the local TV station didn’t mention an investigation doesn’t mean it didn’t happen — it just means the news team is lazy). Maybe the neighbor saw the kid on his property, put up the sign, and later exaggerated his case to try and justify himself when a mic was shoved in his face. Maybe he heard about the incident from his daughter, who made it up herself. Maybe he just doesn’t like mentally challenged kids. Who knows? I’m not saying he’s lying, just that we have zero evidence either way (and that includes the “photographs” the guy has, which are never shown to the camera crew).

  50. When John is singing joe’s praises, I know I have to be right about this. It’s akin to being opposed to anything “bi-partisan”.

  51. When John is singing joe’s praises, I know I have to be right about this. It’s akin to being opposed to anything “bi-partisan”.

  52. “The parents, on the other hand, deserve something severe for not tending to him. If he does have the mental faculties of a three year old, why is he allowed to roam around the neighborhood?”

    If he has the abilities of a three year old, he needs 24/7 care, which is virtually impossible to find and pay for. The parents are probably in a serious bind in that regard.

  53. joe, did you really call someone a ‘philistine’ on the playground?

    That’s soooo gay!

  54. “Are you kidding me? kid hits girl in head with rock and you think that goes away? Maybe 30 years ago, but not now.”

    A quick google of the topic gives me only a story of a girl who had her case thrown out by the judge. Not exactly an epidemic of rock throwing jail time going on in the country. Gimme a break.

    John, you and Joe win the rational posts awards. This is a story about the adults not the kids.

  55. I’m with joe. If police *had* followed up with prosecution, we’d be reading about this over in Daily Brickbat instead.

    Screw both families for getting to the point where anyone outside their block would care.

  56. Another article stated that the 13 year old had been entering & rummaging through neighbor’s houses. I think the rock throwing incident was probably the last straw for this particular neighbor.

    Back in the late 70’s the term we used was “sped”, short for Special Education. If you attended class in the Sp.Ed building then you were a sped.

  57. Although in an intuitive sense physical assault of another person is worthy of much more legal “interest” than someone putting a sign up somewhere, it’s really a question of frequency. A kid throws a rock at a kid somewhere every day; it’s not every day that a family puts up such an offensive sign on their property. Kids will be kids is common sense, but when things get high-profile, they become politics. IMHO, something as little as the DA’s office saying they’ll research their options should be seen as normal posturing and shouldn’t get anyone upset, that is, unless and until they actually start going after this family’s freedom of retarded expression.

  58. How about a sign “SLOW CHILDREN AHEAD”? Oh, wait…

  59. If the prosecutor decides to go after these people (I hope he doesn’t), I hope I see a huge amount of “mea culpas” on here…not that I am going to hold my breath.

    Fact is, threat of government action in the name of “blustering” or “politics” or “posturing” is enough to chill speech, and you guys are idjits if you think that the next time someone wants to express themselves they won’t re-consider because of someone’s supposedly harmless “posturing”.

  60. If the prosecutor decides to go after these people (I hope he doesn’t), I hope I see a huge amount of “mea culpas” on here…not that I am going to hold my breath.

    Fact is, threat of government action in the name of “blustering” or “politics” or “posturing” is enough to chill speech, and you guys are idjits if you think that the next time someone wants to express themselves they won’t re-consider because of someone’s supposedly harmless “posturing”.

  61. Was there a similar sign in Union Square on Saturday?

  62. I was never called a philistine at school, but ’twas many a time a band of roguish ruffians at recess wouldst call me a “frothy unchin-snouted jackanapes”! Zounds, how like a serpent’s tooth did their slander sting! I was undone. My schooling at Rennaissance Junior High was verily like unto a boiling in the pits of Hell!

    PS: You know, one kid tossing a rock at another isn’t exactly harmless. As an energetic young lad, my cousin Chris threw a rock at his brother Greg, which resulted Greg being taken to the hospital to get some stitches put in his bloody scalp. Nothing in the article said the girl actually got hit, but still. It’s not so far from tossing a Jart at her, or shooting at her with a BB gun. The kid’s parent should possibly have received a warning to control their child, and I suspect the girl’s parents are just pissed off that such didn’t happen.

    (BTW, if the kid wanders around unwatched, is he in danger? Can someone mentally equivalent to a three-year-old be trusted to walk around unmonitored outside and not walk into traffic?)

  63. I agree with the basic point that physical assault, if it happened, should certainly be a more worthy concern of the authorities than busting people for bigoted speech. But shit, the tone of this post, much worse yet, the tone and piling on of some of the commentators make me feel embarrassed to call myself a libertarian. Simply because the authorities might have gotten their priorities screwed up doesn’t somehow make it all seem like a cool thing to pile on and make fun of the retarded and assume all sorts of ignorant things. Go buy yourselves some tin hearts, you jackasses. And/or find a way to do some volunteer work with this community to see for yourselves they are not the scary monsters you assume. Get out of your computer cubicles and actually reach out to people a little different from you.

    Suppose the family next door were black and it was their 13 year old son who threw the rock. So, the neighbors put a sign up that said, “Caution, niggers in the area.” Would it suddenly be thought of as “oh, it’s just so p.c. to call them anything else. You see, those liberal pansies are at it again.” And then you would go on to make watermelon jokes and jokes about how they smell different and oh, how scaarrrryyyy they all are.

    Just FYI, developmentally disabled teenagers commit far fewer crimes than normal teenagers.

  64. If he has the abilities of a three year old, he needs 24/7 care, which is virtually impossible to find and pay for. The parents are probably in a serious bind in that regard.

    So then a three year old is allowed to roam around the neighborhood? Yeah, I think not. Punish the parents.

  65. Back in the late 70’s the term we used was “sped”, short for Special Education.

    I used that term too, but never realized the etymology. Thanks.

  66. This kid maybe be a threat to others, but it is not because of his IQ. Mentally disabled people are not any more or less prone to violence than any other group and being mentally disabled does not make someone violent. You people talk as if anyone with a mental disability is some kind of wild animal who needs to be controlled.

    John,

    I don’t think anyone is equating violence with mental disability. But as MNG subtly suggests, it’s not that mentally challenged people are more violent, it’s just that if they do lash out, they are much less likely to realize their own strength and force. In other words, they would be more dangerous in that they may use what average people might consider “excessive force” unwittingly. I’m not really taking sides in this particular news item, personally. I don’t know the whole story.

  67. “I wonder why the sheriff’s office hasn’t bothered to investigate parents irresponsible enough to let the equivalent of a three-year-old run around town without supervision.”

    I think the reason the sheriff’s office isn’t investigating is because the kid is always smoking and if a person is outside smoking, there’s not a damn thing anyone can or should do about it. Besides, if the kid is throwing rocks, IT’S THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LITTLE GIRL’S PARENTS to make certain she doesn’t go outside and get hit with rocks, because other people throw rocks and the little girl is just going to have to accommodate that fact.

  68. http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_4085460

    “A Nephi family that alleges their neighbor’s autistic teenage son wanders the streets and rifles through nearby homes has taken down a sign in their front yard that said “Caution Retard’s [sic] in Area.”
    Kallie and Darren Galbraith did not return calls seeking comment about their sign or why they took it down. But Nephi Police Chief Chad Bowles said they took it down after he visited their home Friday evening.
    “We talked to them. I think they understood by using that type of wording they made a mistake,” he said. “It’s so degrading and it ridicules the [boy’s] family.”
    But Bowles said he understands the Galbraiths’ frustration.
    He said neighbors have complained for some time about the 13-year-old, whose mother, Carrie Heaton, said has been diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities and functions at a 4- to 5-year-old level.
    “Mostly, they complain that he goes into their homes, rifles through their things and eats their food,” Bowles said. “There are a lot of people in the area who are frustrated with this boy.”
    But Bowles said the Police Department has mulled over charges of criminal mischief and even aggravated assault. The Galbraiths alleged in November that the youngster threw rocks and hit their 10-year-old daughter in the knee and elbow.
    “But how can you prosecute someone like that?” the chief asked. “He can’t understand what he’s doing. He’s not capable of going into juvenile court.” “

  69. ” In other words, they would be more dangerous in that they may use what average people might consider “excessive force” unwittingly.”

    Huey’s goin’ fishin’! Huey’s goin’ fishin!

  70. David,

    The bar considered it, but realized we were missing a few key posters to qualify us for that distinction.

  71. You know, they’ll kill you for cake and have the strength of ten men.-Onyx Blackman.

  72. Fact is, threat of government action in the name of “blustering” or “politics” or “posturing” is enough to chill speech, and you guys are idjits if you think that the next time someone wants to express themselves they won’t re-consider because of someone’s supposedly harmless “posturing”.

    OK. The idea of someone thinking twice about putting up a “Caution Retard’s in Area” sign is not exatly bone-chilling to me. Actual government intervention is the problem and it happens in real life all the time. Let’s keep our collective eye on the ball.

  73. I grew up with a retard for a brother. I know, PC would be to say handicapped, only he wasn’t handicapped. There was no workplace accommodation that would make him an equal. Like this kid, my brother is simply a mental defective.

    Yet no one has gone to the issue of retard strength, and having one for a brother, I will venture in. Three adults had trouble holding this kid down when he was 13 and angry, and who knew why he was angry? Once it was when the TV show Bowling for Dollars was cancelled. He didn’t feel pain like the rest of us, and I suspect that resulted in his strength when he felt compelled to use it. Being a retard, he had his own reasons or lack thereof for choosing when to use it, but he certainly was more than dangerous when angry.

  74. developmentally disabled teenagers commit far fewer crimes than normal teenagers.

    WIth the information TPG provided, perhaps we’d like to revise that thinking, perhaps? It’s clear that at least some prosecutors don’t even bother with DH-ers because of their mental state.

    Mark — I hope you were being very, very sarcastic. If you were, brilliant.

    Usoe- thank you for your honesty.

  75. developmentally disabled teenagers commit far fewer crimes than normal teenagers.

    WIth the information TPG provided, perhaps we’d like to revise that thinking, perhaps? It’s clear that at least some prosecutors don’t even bother with DH-ers because of their mental state.

    Mark — I hope you were being very, very sarcastic. If you were, brilliant.

    Usoe- thank you for your honesty.

  76. (BTW, if the kid wanders around unwatched, is he in danger? Can someone mentally equivalent to a three-year-old be trusted to walk around unmonitored outside and not walk into traffic?)

    My point exactly.

  77. A quick google of the topic gives me only a story of a girl who had her case thrown out by the judge. Not exactly an epidemic of rock throwing jail time going on in the country. Gimme a break.

    Riiiiiiight, because all child on child assault cases make some page listed as THREW ROCK AT KID’S HEAD.

    And excuse my language, but do you fucking think I was ONLY talking about rock throwing cases of assault and no other assault? How about googling child assault, K? Thanks.

  78. The kid wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. He just wanted to stroke the pretty lady’s pretty hair. Somebody tell him about the goddamned rabbits, already.

  79. Joe and John have a point. Handling a grown retarded kid is no picnic, and it is pretty clear that the DA isn’t going to do much about this. Moreover, the people who put up the sign are assholes. Still, there’s something weird in the priorities, particularly in the priorities of TV news, that they give such an emotion-laden, information-poor reaction to the sign but don’t question a mother who lets what she herself describes as an adult-sized toddler wander around her neighbors’ property.

    So there’s fault on both sides, and this has been my Cathy Young moment.

  80. Seriously, what troubled me the most about this story is the crappy sign. Spray paint on cardboard? Please. If you?re not going to do it correctly, why bother?

    I?m sure their local WalMart has an art supply section. All they need do is pick up a couple sheets of hard-stock construction paper, some glue, and maybe some lovely glitter.

    As far as color scheme, it?s important to have DARK lettering on LIGHT background. So I suggest a pretty shade of light yellow with dark green lettering, in observance of the season. Also, hand-scrawled lettering is tacky, especially by those who have difficulty writing. So, proportional letters cut out of paper and carefully mounted would do the trick. Add some glitter (REMEMBER ? LESS IS MORE), and viola! The whole effort would take less than a half-hour (and think how much fun it would be to have the kids help!), and you end up with a much more presentable sign.

    If this issue is still cooking five months from now, they can opt to line the display with tasteful Christmas lights. Again, the key is to make the sign seasonally relevant.

  81. In all seriousness, someone with the mind of a three-year-old certainly cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions, but at the same time he can’t be allowed to go around town unsupervised, especially if he’s throwing rocks, going into people’s homes and taking their things. His parents need to be held responsible for what their child does, and if they can’t keep him from trespassing or hurting others maybe they should just admit they’re not up to the challenge and put him in an institution.

    I wonder what happens in a couple of years when he gets the strength of a full-fledged adult, but still has the mind of a three-year-old who thinks throwing rocks at people is lots and lots of fun.

  82. ” ‘ developmentally disabled teenagers commit far fewer crimes than normal teenagers.’

    WIth the information TPG provided, perhaps we’d like to revise that thinking, perhaps? It’s clear that at least some prosecutors don’t even bother with DH-ers because of their mental state.”

    He provided more information about that case not on statistics of mentally challenged kids committing assault as compared to your average teenager. I worked and volunteered a number of years ago for various services that work with this community. Sure, I saw some people get angry – but usually, with the cases I saw of anger, violence was self-directed, it it happened. I worked for a number of years with this community in homes and apartments providing basic living skills and let me tell you incidents of assault on other people outside the community was approaching zero percent. I’m not saying it didn’t happen but I didn’t hear about it. There was a couple of cases of minor assaults on staff but that was pretty rare as well. I believe those with violent tendencies were for the most part left in the big state institutions – which in turn help to stimulate more of that violence. And in those big state institutions they didn’t have much chance to get off the grounds.

  83. In all seriousness, someone with the mind of a three-year-old certainly cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions, but at the same time he can’t be allowed to go around town unsupervised, especially if he’s throwing rocks, going into people’s homes and taking their things. His parents need to be held responsible for what their child does, and if they can’t keep him from trespassing or hurting others maybe they should just admit they’re not up to the challenge and put him in an institution.

    I wonder what happens in a couple of years when he gets the strength of a full-fledged adult, but still has the mind of a three-year-old who thinks throwing rocks at people is lots and lots of fun.

  84. I was just getting in touch with my inner Jennifer.

  85. Did I ever tell you about the summer job I once had driving retard’s to the zoo? Man, that was a mess. Almost as bad as when this big lizard escaped in my back yard.

  86. I wonder what happens in a couple of years when he gets the strength of a full-fledged adult, but still has the mind of a three-year-old who thinks throwing rocks at people is lots and lots of fun.

    ::insert O’Reilly Factor joke here::

  87. I was just getting in touch with my inner Jennifer.

    Damn right, Mark; I’ve always said there’s no difference whatsoever between a cloud of cigarette smoke and a bunch of sharp rocks flying through the air, and if you oppose the latter you must oppose the former as well.

  88. Sometimes,

    my wedding tackle,

    gets,

    a wee bit,

    itchy.

  89. When I was a kid a friend of mine had a much older brother (he was in his 20s, we were pre-double digits) who was not only enormous, but was pretty badly retarded. From time to time he would throw some pretty frightening tantrums, throw things, and one time he charged into my friends room where we were playing and started assaulting us with a pair of Barbies wielded like nunchucks. (yes the visual is funny, but the event was very scary).

    The bottom line: eventually they had to put him in an institution bcse his outbursts kept getting worse.

    The worst part: his voice was so similar in pitch to Mike Tyson that it’s sooooo freaky.

  90. Dave,
    Run the big lizard over with a bitchin’ Camaro. Or, just don’t feed him anymore.

  91. You know, they’ll kill you for cake and have the strength of ten men.-Onyx Blackman.

  92. Still, there’s something weird in the priorities, particularly in the priorities of TV news, that they give such an emotion-laden, information-poor reaction to the sign but don’t question a mother who lets what she herself describes as an adult-sized toddler wander around her neighbors’ property.

    And rifle through their belongings and eat their food.

  93. If you decide to keep feeding that big lizard in your backyard, I recommend filet of sole, or if you are more forward thinking, he could eat your paisley.

  94. The bar considered it, but realized we were missing a few key posters to qualify us for that distinction.

    If I’d gotten there, we might have.

    I don’t think it matters whether or not the kid threw a rock. The issue for us is whether someone should be prosecuted for putting up a sign, no matter how heinous the message?

  95. The issue for us is whether someone should be prosecuted for putting up a sign, no matter how heinous the message?

    No. If you’re offended by your neighbor’s sign, either ignore it or put up a sign of your own.

  96. “Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of the cathode-ray tube and, therefore, television was from Utah.”

    Thanks, joe!

  97. I’m sure that many or most developmentally challenged teenagers are fine, warm, loving and lovable people. I am also inclined to accept that mentally challenged teens statistically commit fewer crimes than other teens on average. (Assuming it is not the case, as was hinted by someone above, that the cops have a tendency to ignore crimes committed by developmentally handicapped teens because they are committed by developmentally handicapped teens. In which case, we have an under-reporting problem and the statistics might be skewed.)

    I have already indicated my opinion of the illiterate sign at July 24, 2006 12:21 PM.

    However, the kid in question is not a statistical average, he is a specific individual person, and I am even more alarmed about him — and for him — after reading the additional info provided by Tom Paine’s Goiter. The kid goes into into people’s houses and goes through their stuff?

    What happens when the kid stumbles across somebody’s chainsaw and decides to play with it? Or matches? Or gun?

    What are the odds that if they kid finds something dangerous in another person’s house, and hurts himself or someone else, that the burgled homeowner will end up being sued? In the case of a gun, I’d bet it’s a foregone conclusion.

    I feel sorry for the kid, but I’m getting angry at his parents. How hard are they working to make sure their child doesn’t leave their property unattended? I’m no developmental pyschologist, so I help someone educates me — is it possible for a child at the stage of a 3- or 4- or 5-year-old to be taught not to leave the yard? Can such a child be depended upon not to do so?

    PS: It occurred to me that the neighbors could lock their places up at all times, but for families with young kids of their own, who might be in and out of doors all the time in the summer, that’s not practical. Nor should it be required. Assuming that boundaries are clear, the burden of preventing trespass is not upon the property owner.

  98. This kid maybe be a threat to others, but it is not because of his IQ. Mentally disabled people are not any more or less prone to violence than any other group and being mentally disabled does not make someone violent. You people talk as if anyone with a mental disability is some kind of wild animal who needs to be controlled.

    I have worked for many years with retarded individuals in an “intermediate care facility”. Most of our residents are verbal, and have levels of cognitive ability relatively close to the normal range. Now, this is the only facility I have worked at, so I dont know if this is atypical, but I can tell you that the level of physical aggression among the individuals we serve far, far exceeds what you would find in the community at large. The bulk or our residents do not have any serious behavior problems, but a good 5-10% of them have serious behavior problems involving aggression against peers or staff, several of them have inflicted serious injury (i.e. requiring medical attention beyond first aid) on other residents and staff. For instance, one of our younger and stronger residents has a bad habit of forcefully shoving smaller and older residents to the ground, on one occasion resulting in a broken hip, and a broken eye socket on another occasion. Another resident bites residents who are being too loud, on one occasion biting off a good portion of someone’s lower lip. And for every incident resulting in injury, there are 99 attempts to harm others in which staff intervene before the injury can occur. I offer this merely as an anecdote.

  99. if a kid throws a rock at a tank in some places, they get shot to bits….but Im cracking up at the comments & what gets people riled here, in this new cybergeek world Im likin so much. Look here: the gal who mentioned her sister has -what? dd problems- I admire her fierce protection of her sister. In that vein, this has reminded me of a strange situation back in Vermont.
    A big mo-dern highschool was built, well off a 55mph road. As you approached the school, the speed limit dropped to 25mph. This went for quite a ways on either side of the HS for ostensibly “normal” kids. Heading East, you came to the Resume Speed 55MPH sign.
    75 yards beyond THAT, was a small building set right on the road. A school for seriously mentally handicapped kids. And that probably sums up our lack of reguard for them what aint all there, & the overcoddling of them what supposedly are.
    Gettin hit on the head w/ a rock is no fun, & a human male, going thru puberty, w/ the mind of a 3 yr old, needs watching. Or a seat in the Senate……

  100. I’m no developmental pyschologist, so I help someone educates me — is it possible for a child at the stage of a 3- or 4- or 5-year-old to be taught not to leave the yard? Can such a child be depended upon not to do so?

    Even if it isn’t, you can install fencing that makes it impossible for the child to leave.

  101. My family adopted a wetback when I was a kid. I don’t call him Hispanic as I want to be perfectly honest – oh, he swam them rivers, boys. The kid was freakishly strong and put any sort of round object in front of him and dern if he couldn’t kick it between your splayed fingers. Some of the neighbor kids would sometimes come to take a peek at him, poke him with a stick, but you should have seen their eyes go wide and the blood from their faces drain when he’d open his mouth and let forth a spew of those odd sounds.

    Once, a neighbor kid came over. And Jose just started kickin’ the kid as though he had called his mother or sister somethin’ awfully dishonorable. So, we put him in a facility for like-minded Hispanics. I guess some folks call it “jail.” And darn, those people in jail are VIOLENT.

  102. “and this has been my Cathy Young moment”

    You unduly flatter yourself.

  103. “is it possible for a child at the stage of a 3- or 4- or 5-year-old to be taught not to leave the yard? Can such a child be depended upon not to do so?”

    http://www.invisiblefence.com/

  104. “Another resident bites residents who are being too loud”

    Actually, that’s a pretty good remedy.

  105. “I’m no developmental pyschologist, so I [hope]… someone educates me — is it possible for a child at the stage of a 3- or 4- or 5-year-old to be taught not to leave the yard? Can such a child be depended upon not to do so?”

    Even if it isn’t, you can install fencing that makes it impossible for the child to leave.

    I wonder, Jen — even if the kid is 13 YO and soon to grow to his adult size? I would think you’d need a very, very tall fence. When I was a small 4-year-old, I was already climbing over my parents’ chainlink fence — the one that separated our back yard from the big field behind our house. (Admittedly, I couldn’t yet climb it very skillfully — that’s how I broke my arm.)

    A quick Google seems to indicate that a lot of communities have regulations that limit maximum residential fence heights to five or six feet or so. Darn intrusive regulators again, standing in the way of a possible solution. I suppose the neighbors wouldn’t like living next to a miniature Joliet penitentiary, but that seems to be preferable to the alternative of ongoing casual burglaries.

    I’m not fightin’, I’m just thinkin’.

  106. A quick Google seems to indicate that a lot of communities have regulations that limit maximum residential fence heights to five or six feet or so.

    Good point. But if the parents can’t keep the kid on their property, they will have to seriously consider the fact that they can’t keep him at all. As other posters have mentioned already, suppose he gets into something dangerous during one of his casual burglaries? Sticks a fork in an electrical outlet? Eats a whole bottle of candy-tasting vitamins or baby aspirin? Finds a gun?

    And I don’t know how big this kid is, but even if he’s only average size for a boy his age, that’s still plenty strong enough for him to do serious damage to a small child (or small female adult), especially considering he’s not capable of knowing his own strength.

    At the risk of sounding creepy, I’ll also point out that if he hasn’t developed any sexual urges yet he will soon enough. And I doubt he’ll be able to restrain those any better than he can restain the urge to steal people’s things or throw rocks at people.

  107. Good idea Buddy. And maybe he needs as well a dog to keep him company and teach him how not to get buzzed by the fence.

    Anon your population is self-selected. You are seeing people whose parents can’t care for them, either because the parents are too old, or the kids act up too much.

  108. i wonder how many non-libertarians would be converted to the cause after reading this thread?

    -cab

  109. I once had a 9 year old visiting who put her fingers in a food processor and turned it on. When my kids were 3, we had all the outlets blocked and drawers locked. So someone who is as tall as a 13 year old and as bright as a 3 year old would require a lot of parental attention. There is an apparent neglect issue. A sheep dog might be a good babysitter, backed up with an invisible fence.

  110. There is an apparent neglect issue.

    johnl is right on this one, I think. It seems like the parent(s) of the mentally disabled boy are guilty of negligence, to say the least. I would argue that even a completely typical, normally-developed child at that age needs a lot of supervision and/or attention.

  111. You can teach a 4 year old not to go wander into traffic, but not so much a three year old.

    But this kid is not three, he’s 13 with the motivations of a three year old. With a lot of patience and positive/negative reinforcement I bet you could teach him to stay in your yard. i think the idea of a dog for a pet for him is an excellent one, for teaching rules and how to obey.

    or put a leather mask on him and lock him in the basement like the Gimp.

  112. i wonder how many non-libertarians would be converted to the cause after reading this thread?

    EVERYTHING WE MUST SAY SHOULD BE FOR THE CAUSE.

    NO OPINION CAN BE CONTROVERSIAL; IT WILL MAKE US ‘LOOK BAD’

    DIFFERING OPINIONS OF A CONTROVERSIAL NATURE WILL ALIENATE US FROM SOCIETY

    WE WILL BE IRRELEVANT IF WE DEBATE THE ISSUES OF THE DAY; WE SHOULD BE MORE RESPECTFUL.

  113. So someone who is as tall as a 13 year old and as bright as a 3 year old would require a lot of parental attention. There is an apparent neglect issue.

    If he’s eating cupcakes and cheetos at the neighbors house without permission, that’s a bit of an understatement.

  114. libcult:

    i disagree with everything except the very last line.

    -cab

  115. If he’s eating cupcakes and cheetos at the neighbors house without permission, that’s a bit of an understatement.

    Yeah, somebody should at least be making sure that this boy isn’t consuming that most-supreme-of-all-crimes-against-humanity: trans-fat. He is clearly on a path to self-destruction.

  116. i disagree with everything except the very last line

    In my world, respect is earned; it does not come from simply being born with a disability. I don’t think anyone on here was saying anything untrue or intentionally hurtful; even if they were, who cares? People who instantly judge Libertarians by the opinions of some on this board are low-minded fools who need to think with their heads more and their hearts less.

  117. To back up what anonymous is saying above about mentally disabled people; they are more violent. In many cases they don’t know how to express themselves. We learn how to assert ourselves during our development. Many mentally disabled people are still stuck in passiveaggressive mode. A baby kicks and cries for food. A child asks for it. An adult buys carry out at the philly cheesesteak store catering to their language of choice. Mentally disabled people often don’t mean to hurt you but that doesn’t mean their actions don’t cause harm.

    So, yeah, the parents of said disabled child are to blame for not keeping a watchful eye. And the sign bearers are complete assholes as well. I don’t care if the rock broke your kid’s nose — that sign is not mature on any level.

    And this isn’t a football game. One set of parents can be negligent and the other can be assholes at the same time.

  118. “In my world, respect is earned”

    interesting, thank you for that insight into your world view. i’ll return the favor. in my world, respect is given freely, but can be revoked for cause.

    mine is working pretty well for me. i hope yours is working well for you. it does seem to allow you to get riled up pretty easily, tho.

    -cab

  119. I think I have figured out how to kill two birds with one stone here.

  120. in my world, respect is given freely, but can be revoked for cause.

    Reaching the age of thirteen without figuring out that it’s bad to throw rocks at people or steal their belongings sounds like pretty good cause to me, as is being the parent of such a child and doing exacly nothing to prevent such behaviors.

  121. Utarded; I coined it to describe my slow mental slide since moving to Utah.

    As far as a 3 year old child (physical or mentally) running lose; no excuse, period. My wife and I picked up a very small child from a very busy street corner last year and called the cops. An hour later we tracked her mother down several blocks away – she looked overwhelmed (John). But so what? Your kid can?t play in traffic no matter how busy you are. That is, if you want to keep the kid.

  122. Considering the comments so far, it would seem like the only option to protect the neighbor’s life, liberty, and property is to kill this teen-child before it becomes a full-fledged man-child.

    I mean, it terrorizes the neighborhood worse than Heathcliff. This is the only way.

    /sarcasm

  123. hmmm…. not very thoughtful from a guy with an autsitic cousin.

  124. excuse the typo.. that would be autistic

  125. Have police EVER investigated childhood bullying or have people all become wusses?

    Kids aways used to bully, make fun of, pick on, and there was never a criminal investigation- just “oh, kids will be kids, hahaha”

    And I can guarantee judging ( sorry but I will judge these grownup “retards”) by the neighbors that they almost certainly do NOT know how to use an apostrophe “s” and they were NOT writng a contraction of “retard” and “is.”

  126. Kids aways used to bully, make fun of, pick on, and there was never a criminal investigation- just “oh, kids will be kids, hahaha”

    Oh how I miss my carefree early teen years–breaking into people’s homes, stealing their personal possessions, other forms of trespassing, throwing rocks at people much smaller than me . . . no, wait a minute. I never did any of that, because by the time I was thirteen I damn well knew better. And if a mental disability made me incapable of learning this, my parents would not have allowed me to run loose through the neighborhood, just as they didn’t allow me to roam free when I was only three years old.

  127. Reaching the age of thirteen without figuring out that it’s bad to throw rocks at people or steal their belongings sounds like pretty good cause to me, as is being the parent of such a child and doing exacly nothing to prevent such behaviors.”

    jennifer,

    ok, maybe the parents, especially based on the information in thomas paine’s goiter’s post. but the kid? that seems pretty cold.

    -cab

  128. ok, maybe the parents, especially based on the information in thomas paine’s goiter’s post. but the kid? that seems pretty cold.

    I respect the kid insofar as I respect any human being–I certainly do not want to see him killed, I would oppose anyone who wanted to torture him, he deserves certain basic hman rights, etc.

    But that’s not the same meaning of “respect” that I would use in a sentence like, “Despite our past disagreements, I have come to respect you.” In that regard, no; I do not respect this kid and see no reason to.

    Though I respect him more than his parents. He’s autistic–what the hell is their excuse?

  129. What a fascinating thread! I haven’t witnessed such a display of delirious delight in name-calling since about third grade. I was one of those annoying liberals-in-the-making who always stuck up for the kid who was teased and harrassed by stupid schoolyard bullies (apparently the bullies were libertarians-in-the-making). My son is autistic, and if one of my neighbors had posted a sign about “retards” when he was growing up, I’d probably still be doing time for assault.
    To all of you who find retarded people so scary, I’d suggest you do some research about the (non) likelihood of violence among the retarded. Or get a teddy bear to hug when you get too scared.
    To all of you who just want to re-visit your childhood pastime of calling people retards, being fucked with a log is too good for you.

  130. My son is autistic, and if one of my neighbors had posted a sign about “retards” when he was growing up, I’d probably still be doing time for assault.

    If the neighbors repeatedly complained about your son doing things like breaking into their homes or throwing rocks at their kids, would you do anything to stop your son from continuing these behaviors? If so, then your neighbors would have no cause for complaint. The neighbors in the story did.

  131. >scratches toe in dirt<<br />
    gee, sorry Mrs David, we didn’t mean nuthin….

  132. for what it’s worth, the weasel at 6:51 used my fake email address (complete with accidental misspelling), but they were not me.

    bully, since i cannot imagine a way this could have happened by accident, i hearby revoke my respect for you, for cause.

    devastating blow, i know, but you gave me no choice.

    -cab

  133. And this isn’t a football game. One set of parents can be negligent and the other can be assholes at the same time.

    It’s Cathy Young’s evil twin!

    Actually, you are quite right. But for some reason, I am less concerned about the illiterate assholes who put up a sign that their would-be-offendee can’t even read, than about the parents of the Unattended Little Wanderer.

    To all of you who find retarded people so scary, I’d suggest you do some research about the (non) likelihood of violence among the retarded.

    I made this point before, but it was apparently overlooked, so I’ll make it again with slightly more emphasis:

    The statistically low incidence of crime and violence among generally sweet, mild-mannered and gentle developmentally disabled folks is abso-bum-buggering-lutely irrelevant to this discussion of a particular and specific, rock-throwing, wandering-unsupervised-into-people’s-homes-and-taking-stuff individual.

    If we could only say to him, “You know, statistically, most developmentally disabled people don’t exhibit the kind of troublesome behavior that you do,” and this caused the kid to say, “Okay, I’ll change my ways to conform to the statistical norm,” then it would be relevant. But I don’t think it works that way.

    All that aside, I think it’s obvious the parents are falling short here. And I applaud any parents who have a developmentally disabled kid to raise, and who do a proper job of parenting under what can be very challenging circumstances. Not to say it’s without rewards; I’m not blind to the joys a child can bring, with or without disabilities, either. I used to know a woman with an autistic daughter. This particular girl was eventually able to make tremendous, almost miraculous progress. The mother wrote a short essay about it, and I kept telling her to get it published.

  134. My son is autistic, and if one of my neighbors had posted a sign about “retards” when he was growing up, I’d probably still be doing time for assault.

    Because might makes right, right asshole? You’re entitled to hit people when they say things you don’t like, especially since it’s about your precious little one.

    apparently the bullies were libertarians-in-the-making

    Because we’re the ones (oh holy liberal) who tell people when and where they can smoke, what they can eat, what they can buy and when etc, and we use to the government to throw people in jail when we don’t get our way. You probably need a teddy bear in case the big, bad Big Mac comes and forces you to clog up your arteries! Or if the evil puff of smoke gives you cancer forever!

    IDIOT!

    GET FUCKED!!!!

  135. Ayn Randian, do not use any more profanity on this or any other reason.com thread again. Do not insult anybody on any reason.com thread again.

    And no, that rule doesn’t go for everybody. Just you.

  136. An oppressive majority can take a value-neutral or even positive word for a minority group, and through insulting usage, change its meaning into a slur.

    A bit late in the thread, I know, but this isn’t usually what happens, semiotically.

    Things that mainstream society views negatively cannot keep a neutral name, because the negativity rubs off on the word. It’s why we cycle through ‘mortuary’ to ‘funeral parlor’ and so on, in a endless game of catch up. Same as it ever was.

    Anyway, in our neighborhood Mr Weaver was the high school counselor who served all the special kids. They became known as Weaver’s Rangers, and then just weavers.

    20 years later, kids in that little corner of Detroit were still insulting each other with “you’re a weaver” and none of them had any idea why they were saying it. Weavers.

  137. That sign ought to be posted where the roads leave the USA and enter Utah.

  138. Wow, just got back to my computer and I guess I should respond to some responders:
    Jennifer- my son did not throw rocks but he did occasionally wander onto other people’s property despite out attempts at eternal vigilance, and he could never resist grabbing any unattended soda, anytime, anywhere. We were fortunate to live among people who were fond of David and accepted his eccentric and occasionally disruptive behavior with good humor. You are right that these neighbors might have cause for complaint, but I have a strong visceral response to the word “retard”. Imagine that your kid (or any kid you happen to love), had an accident that resulted in brain damage and retardation- it happens. Now imagine other kids calling your kid a retard, or taunting his siblings about what a retard their brother is. NOW imagine scrolling through a series of comments from adults who apparently are in love with the word, or occasionally offer alternative insults, fondly remembered from their school days. Pissed me off, that’s all.
    Stevo–My comment about non-violent retarded people was a reponse to those posters who cited anecdotes about scary (and strong!) retarded people they had encountered– I make no judgment about the particular guy in this story.
    Ayn Randian– No, I am not entitled to hit someone who insults my kid. That’s why I called it “assault” and mentioned jail time. Also, I do not support interference with anyone’s smoking, drinking, eating, purchasing, or drug-taking habits, would throw almost no one in jail, and prefer my smoke first-hand, thank you. And your profanity is okey-dokey with me (obviously).
    Anyway, my remarks were not about the specifics of this case, just a gut reaction to a bunch of people throwing around a word that makes me nuts.

  139. my son did not throw rocks but he did occasionally wander onto other people’s property despite out attempts at eternal vigilance, and he could never resist grabbing any unattended soda, anytime, anywhere. We were fortunate to live among people who were fond of David and accepted his eccentric and occasionally disruptive behavior with good humor. You are right that these neighbors might have cause for complaint, but I have a strong visceral response to the word “retard”.

    For the record, I doubt I’d have a problem with a sweet-natured but ‘off’ kid who took any open soda cans I happened to leave outside, but such petty thievery (if I’d even deign to call it that) lacks the nasty undertone of breaking into a house or throwing rocks.

    Amendment: I doubt I’d have a problem with the soda snatcher if his parents at least tried to make him stop it. A good-faith effort, is all I’d ask. It sounds like these parents didn’t even do that, and furthermore this kid’s behaviors are wildly different from yours.

    I don’t think anybody here has an issue with an autistic neighbor; it’s that the autistic neighbor is causing serious problems, not petty annoyances, for those around him.

    Even if the kid can’t help throwing rocks and breaking into houses, from his victim’s perspective that doesn’t change the fact that he’s throwing rocks and breaking into houses. This must stop.

    As for the “retard” language: no, I don’t like it either, and if ever I did post a sign I wouldn’t use that word. But I suspect these people have somewhat less linguistic refinement that most posters here. Hell, there are still places where people honestly don’t know it’s considered unacceptable to say “nigger.”

    And I imagine these people were at the end of their rope. Bad cliche, I know, but I’m tired.

  140. Tim, a warning would’ve been nice. However, it is your property and you set the rules. Please let me know when my punishment is over.

    Forgive me, for I had strong words for somebody who told us that libertarians are bullies. Davidsmom, clearly that wasn’t your intent and I apologize.

  141. ….how can they tell when a Utah resident is retarded?

    I can usually tell, `cause the Utahns helpfully dress them in black and white, pin a nametag on them that designates them as “elders” even though they can barely shave, and send them to my neighborhood in pairs, to wander around bothering people. They are mostly harmless.*

    (OK, everybody drink!)

    Kevin

    * This is a joke, BTW.

  142. Davidsmom, folks are a lot more tolerant of bumbling soda snarfing retarded kids than rock throwing menacing ones. Americans cut disabled people a lot of slack (give us the best parking spaces, discounts on bus passes, the best seats on the bus, …), but there is bound to be a backlash if we push it too far (cut to the front of line at Disneyland). Expecting the neighborhood to put up with a violent kid is too much.

  143. I wonder what happens in a couple of years when he gets the strength of a full-fledged adult, but still has the mind of a three-year-old who thinks throwing rocks at people is lots and lots of fun.

    Yeah, better to just kill him now, or at least put him in a zoo somewhere.

  144. spencer — false dilemma.

    Or maybe you think we should just offer the kid a steady supply of younger kids so he can bash their skulls in with rocks, huh? Oh, I know — we’ll build this big, like, complicated maze or labyrinth, so he can’t find his way out. That’ll keep him from wandering the neighborhood! Only every few days we’ll force some young kids into his labyrinth as a human sacrifice, that he can kill with rocks! That’ll keep him amused so he doesn’t bug the neighbors. We’ll make a game out of it! He can wear this big pair of bull’s horns and we’ll call him … oh, I know! The Minotard!

    Or … just maybe we can find another solution, somewhere in between. Something that neither requires that the kid be killed, nor allows him to kill other kids in the neighborhood and be destructive. You think?

    Davidsmom — Thanks for responding to the responders to your response. Maybe I overresponded to your response when I responded. I also apologize for the sarcasm above.

  145. As a parent of a severly handicapped child, I am shocked at the attitude of the people who put up that sign and of the people who give them any credit.

  146. You know, Kara, it’s getting a little old when people feel they just have to mention that they are “the parent/sibling/godfather/neighbor” to a handicapped child. If you’re offended by the gosh-darn sign, just say so. Knowing/Raising a handicapped child does not make your argument or indignation more convincing. It doesn’t give you moral sanction or free reign. It’s just annoying.

  147. The story says neighbors say the kid has ‘wandered onto property.’ Okay, wandering into someone’s yard, if uninvited or unwelcome is annoying but it’s not ‘breaking into people’s houses’ as people have claimed here. And it’s also a behavior your average normal kid does pretty frequently as well. The story also has a claim from the one set of parents that the kid threw a rock at their daughter. It didn’t say he was repeatedly harassing and assaulting people in the neighborhood. But most of the posters here have automatically assumed the kid was not only guilty of what was alleged in the story but that what he did was far worse. It’s just as likely these people find the retarded kid annoying for other reasons or they have exaggerated what he did because they are bigots. I’m not automatically concluding that – if he assaulted the neighbor girl with the rock then the proper steps need to be taken, depending on what actually happened. Lots of kids throw rocks at other kids. There are ways to deal with that, depending on the severity, and similarily this should be dealt with considering the facts at hand. But why just jump to the conclusion these people aren’t a bit whacked themselves?

    Also, Anonymous, it doesn’t sound like the population you worked with had much interaction with the community. I also saw a few of these places and it’s not where I’d recommend the ordinary developmentally disabled kid be placed, lest we want him to turn out to be more violent like the other kids in the facility. But there are plenty of mentally challenged kids and adults who live *in* the community who are no more dangerous, probably much less so, then people in the average population. That’s not to say it’s all peaches and cream, there’s no incidences, etc. Obviously, there are problems occasionally. Also, there are some special forms of retardation that do tend to lead to more violence than others, and those folks are often placed in special sorts of homes, facilities, etc.

    I think it’s fine to disagree over the facts of the case and the lesson to be drawn, etc. and for the record, I think the authorities involved do have their priorities a bit out of whack. But that’s no excuse to enjoy making fun of retarded people in general or to extrapolate other stereotypes from this particular incident.

  148. Most of you people are a bunch of mean-spirted pricks. Calling someone a retard is the same as calling them a nigger. Saying someone is “retarded” is dated but not offensive, but “retard” is a insult. This kid MAY have thrown a rock at one other kid and MAY have trespassed. That doesn’t mae him a monster, I am pretty sure I did both things at one time or an other when i was kid. I think the family next door has a right to put up the sign; but I hope the neighbors put up “asshole family in area” signs. If the kid has a 3 year old mind then it is not really his fault, if anything they should have put up a “caution, bad mom in area” sign.

    This is no diffrent then putting up a sign that said “nigger in area” sign if your kid got a rock thrown at him by a black kids.

    Sam

    Ayn_Randian – yea, i have a retarded brother- suck it

  149. Kara– Take my advice and do what I’m about to do: go to bed, do not pass go, do not read any more of these comments, and do not assume that the nastier comments on this thread represent the reception your child will get from the world at large. Hug your kid and forget everything you read here. Besides, we wouldn’t want to annoy the locals.

  150. Final comment on the thread that has gotten me in so much trouble:

    First, I said what I said at 12:36 because it’s true: be morally offended by the sign, but feeling the need to mention that you have a loved one who’s handicapped isn’t an argument, it’s an intimidation tactic to get those of us who do not and happen to disagree to shut up. “ooh, s/he has a child who’s handicapped, best not to argue with him/her then.” It doesn’t work that way.

    I may have come across with a nasty tone (earning me a chastisement from M. Cavanaugh, no less) but it’s because this just concretizes, for me, this constant “it’s for the children” while also playing on our basest sympathies for those who are handicapped. Don’t get me wrong, I treat everyone equally. But the victim mentality, the sheer sense of entitlement those parents/guardians seem to have sometimes gets old, because it constantly leads to restraints on my liberty.

    “For the children (or the weak)” has become so frightening to me, you may as well say “for the proletariat”. Hence my strong reaction.

  151. Sam, the boy can’t read the sign. It’s to motivate his parents. The boy’s mom seems to be too lethargic to keep up with him, but there is ancient technology (sheep dogs, leashes) and modern (invisible fence) that can keep the boy in his own home but the family lacks the will to use it.

    And joe, you don’t have any friends from Utah. Violent retarded thieves are a protected species there. To call it a conspiracy suggests that it’s covert.

  152. Swear to God, this is the last bit of energy I’ll waste on this site, but this is for Ayn Randian: if you hate the victim mentality so much, quit whining about being so annoyed and frightened and intimidated and having your liberties restrained. And what in hell are “basest sympathies” and what makes you think you have any? AND it’s “free rein”, not “free reign”. FOR THE PROLETARIAT- take that!

  153. And on further thought, I wonder about the role of authorities in this incident at all. I mean, when I was a kid, there were all sorts of incidences between kids. I don’t remember once the local cops coming into play. The neighbors dealt with it, sometimes awkwardly but they dealt with it. I remember a kid throwing a dirt clod at another kid and hitting him in the eye. The boy’s father came out and pushed that kid’s head into a tree. The father of this other boy heard about it from his son, went and confronted the other father; harsh words were spoken but the incident ended. There were similar types of events that happened as well. I’m not saying the authorities should never be called in for the crimes of children, but I’m wondering, is the cry for the authorities to bust this kid, or his mom, or demand they put up tall fences (over one alleged incident or alleged incidences of trespassing), get leashes, etc. have anything, anything at all to do with the images we have of retarded kids as scary monsters and other derogatory stereo-types? So many here just assumed the worst about this kid, presumed guilt on his part when it might be that the parents who put up the sign are not only assholes, but quite possibly bigoted liars or exaggerators. And then a few of you went on to extrapolate stuff from the story that wasn’t even there – to make your case, like the kid was breaking into houses. Where’s Penn’s “Bullshit” show when we need it.

  154. Seriously, what troubled me the most about this story is the crappy sign. Spray paint on cardboard? Please. If you?re not going to do it correctly, why bother?

    I?m sure their local WalMart has an art supply section. All they need do is pick up a couple sheets of hard-stock construction paper, some glue, and maybe some glitter.

    As far as color scheme, it?s important to have DARK lettering on LIGHT background. So I suggest a pretty shade of light yellow with dark green lettering, in observance of the season. Also, hand-scrawled lettering is tacky, especially by those who have difficulty writing. So, proportional letters cut out of paper and carefully mounted would do the trick. Add some glitter (REMEMBER ? LESS IS MORE), and viola! The whole effort would take less than a half-hour (and think how much fun it would be to have the kids help!), and you end up with a much more presentable sign.

    If this issue is still cooking five months from now, they can opt to line the display with tasteful Christmas lights. Again, the key is to make the sign seasonally relevant.

  155. From the original article:

    “Tom Brownlee, Advocate for those with Disabilities: “When I was growing up, people always used that word in front of me and called me retarded.”

    Someone who knows how hurtful that word can be is Tom Brownlee, who today is an advocate for those with disabilities.

    Tom Brownlee, Advocate for those with Disabilities: “I hate that word, it was very offensive and I just want them to see that people with disabilities deserve the respect that they are entitled to.” ”

    Maybe the kid can get a job for the local paper…

  156. Whoops, I meant “at the local paper”.

  157. Apologies for double-post. Server squirrel yada yada yada

  158. lortsnaff —

    Sorry, but before you got all worked up, you should have read the thread. Tom Paine’s Goiter found another article that gave more details:
    ——————-
    http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_4085460

    “A Nephi family that alleges their neighbor’s autistic teenage son wanders the streets and rifles through nearby homes has taken down a sign in their front yard that said “Caution Retard’s [sic] in Area.”…

    But Bowles said he understands the Galbraiths’ frustration.

    He said neighbors have complained for some time about the 13-year-old, …

    “Mostly, they complain that he goes into their homes, rifles through their things and eats their food,” Bowles said. “There are a lot of people in the area who are frustrated with this boy.”
    ———————————–

    Scroll up and see:

    Comment by: Thomas Paine’s Goiter at July 24, 2006 02:11 PM

  159. lortsnaff

    Sorry, but before you got all worked up about the details that posters are “making up,” you should have read the thread. Tom Paine’s Goiter found another article that gave more details:
    ——————-
    http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_4085460

    “A Nephi family that alleges their neighbor’s autistic teenage son wanders the streets and rifles through nearby homes has taken down a sign in their front yard that said “Caution Retard’s [sic] in Area.”…

    But Bowles said he understands the Galbraiths’ frustration.

    He said neighbors have complained for some time about the 13-year-old, …

    “Mostly, they complain that he goes into their homes, rifles through their things and eats their food,” Bowles said. “There are a lot of people in the area who are frustrated with this boy.”
    ————————–

    Scroll up and see:

    Comment by: Thomas Paine’s Goiter at July 24, 2006 02:11 PM

  160. BTW, I’m sorry if I’m being kind of harsh dickhead on this thread. But right away I could foresee that the sympathy for the boy would lead to some people being dismissive of the real problems he is causing, and that need to be addressed and resolved somehow.

  161. I’ve read quite a few posts suggesting that the parents of the autistic child use an electric fence to keep him in the yard. Does anybody here actually know how an electric fence works? Allow me to enlighten you: I went to the “Humane Contain” electric fence website, and it promises “A revolutionary technique that delivers shock stimulus in short, intense pulses.”

    Am I the only person here who believes administering electric shocks to people, regardless of their handicapped status, is really wrong? I mean, this isn’t a spanking we’re talking about here, as anyone who has accidentally touched an electric fence can tell you.

  162. I guess the people who wrote the sign were hit in the head with something a lot heaver than a rock, long ago. Those assholes don’t deserve to be parents if they wrote such an insensitive, never mind politically incorrect, sign.

  163. The abuse is not right, nor is the sign, but the solution in this case was for the family of the 13-year-old to have kept him under control in the first place.

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