“A lot of you cared, just not enough” – Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why
CONFESSIONS – It is that time of year again when the idyllic days of summer begin to fade and we re-immerse ourselves into the early trappings of fall. This particular year we went from a record breaking heat wave in Calgary to a sudden temperature dip resulting in an unexpected snow fall. Not nearly as bad as the tragedy of the flooding and hurricanes on the east coast but I can only deal with my own region. None the less my thoughts and hopes go out for the Carolina’s and other affected areas.
Kids are returning to school and for those children with special needs it is a particularly stressful time of the year, for both parents and child. It is also a time where I relive a tragedy from seven years ago, a tragedy that should have never happened. Mitchell Wilson was eleven years old on the last day of his life and I cannot generate the words to express my dismay over the situation. Had everything gone to plan he would have graduated this past spring and making plans for the next part of his life. He never had that opportunity due to the ineptitude of a crumbling system.
He was let down with false platitudes. I didn’t personally know Mitchell but for some reason that one really hit me and I am overcome with the need to remind people of the worthlessness of this death. Here was an eleven year old kid who should have been having eleven year old thoughts of the life ahead of him. Instead he was quietly planning his own demise. You don’t tight s plastic bag around your head at bedtime never to wake up again without some serious planning and thought.
He had been bullied for months at school and his bullies had been “reprimanded”. A of of good that did Mitchell. He had been bullied just a few days before his planned return to school over his dads iPhone. The same phone he carried should he fall while on his walker and need assistance. It was the known bullies greed over Mitchell’s lifeline that, I believe, finally convinced him that “things don’t get better”. At time time we had the pit-bull, John Baird, bullying his way through Question Period. We had Dean Del Maestro bullying his way through the commons. If anybody was paying attention to our politicians we had the likes of Lisa Raitt and Candace Bergen using a very overt approach to bullying while hiding it behind well chosen rhetoric. And lets not forget Pierre Poilievre, there was a man who could cut you to the quick and always maintain his snide smile. I will leave Stephen Harper out of this because, although I may not have agreed with his politics, I truly believe he was doing what he believed was in the best interest of the country, as he saw it.
We saw better decorum in a daycare centre than we saw in the House of Commons at the time. And we saw the tragic outcome of an eleven year old with more insight and intestinal fortitude than a room full of elected officials. We saw an eleven year old who had experienced over six months of “solution” get no where. We saw an eleven year old who was aged far beyond his years reach that point of desperation where death was a better option than continually putting his parents at odds with an ineffective school system. We saw an eleven year old who know how to portray the “stiff upper lip” facade right up the the night before school started and then slip a plastic bag around his head reportedly after saying good night to his parents while telling them how much he loved them. This was a needless death.
I experience my first death when I was nine and the young fellow in the bed next to me was the victim of Congenital Hydrocephalus, an excessive build up of fluid around the brain. The use of shunts was in its infancy, he was non-verbal and his head basically exploded. I didn’t really know him but I had five other friends all die by the time I was 15. I swore I would squeeze some life experience in for them and I believe I more than did that. Mitchell was to young for me to do that but I vowed he would never be forgotten. He would have been 18 years old this year but for the bullying and an ineffective system. Where is that system today? In Alberta it is still aimed at punishing the victim with this barbaric concept of “white rooms“. And in the States some schools want to return to “paddling“.
It sickens me…