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


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.