Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Please Let Me Go Home Right Now."

Just watch the video, okay?  It's  45 seconds long.  You've got that much time. 

There. It only took 16 months, but Justina Pelletier finally got to say something.  Imagine what it must be like to have total strangers making your decisions for you, including where you get to live, who gets to see you and whether or not you get to attend school, or practice your religion or even get Communion, and nobody listens to a thing you say.  In fact, you don't get to say anything, never mind be listened to, because you're under eighteen and therefore legally incompetent.  Sixteen-year-olds can get married, rent an apartment in some states, get a job, join the military with parental consent and even (gasp!) fly alone on an airplane, but Justina doesn't get to decide if she can see her parents on her birthday or Mother's Day.  

And what did she do wrong, to be put in this situation?  Nothing.  Her parents disagreed with a doctor's diagnosis.  That is all.  That led to her parents losing custody at an "emergency hearing" that Justina did not attend. That led to over a year in a locked psychiatric ward when there was never any indication that she was suicidal, or homicidal, or doctor-cidal (though I certainly would be in the same circumstances).  And even if she was, why did it take them a year to stabilize her?  If anybody took a year to stabilize me, my insurance company would just laugh at them:  "$2,000 a day for a year?  That's very funny. Try 15 days at the outside, assholes, or get your funds somewhere else." 

Justina's now in the process of bouncing from one residential treatment facility to another, which has to be almost as much fun as being in a locked psych ward (well, I suppose you get to go outside occasionally).  Her parents have filed a motion that she be released home, and the state's not opposing it, probably just because of the bad publicity and the fact that the parents have worn them down.  But imagine if they hadn't.  What if Justina's parents were too overwhelmed, exhausted, discouraged, or simply not rich enough to keep paying their lawyers?  Well, then Justina probably would have just disappeared into the system, never to be heard from again.  Believe me, if she were a poor black child, we'd never have known about this case. 

By the way, Justina used to be a competition figure skater.  A figure skater.  Now she's in a wheelchair.  Sounds like all the medical care she was getting by force from the state of Massachusetts really did a lot of good, doesn't it?  But at least now she's been able to say something.  Maybe somebody will even listen. 

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