Wednesday, December 3, 2008

what gives?

Did you hear about the girls in Albert Lea who were abusing the Alzheimer patients in the Good Samaritan nursing home? Here are two of them. You can read all about them on their myspace pages if you click the links below. They look like your normal everyday popular high school girls.

. . .
Brianna Broitzman (Myspace) and Ashton Larson (Myspace)

Callousness is a common characteristic in our society, and yet, people are surprised because these girls look like your average cutesy cheerleader type. Some people chuckle. Or think that it wasn't that bad. Some people seem so shocked that they would do things like the ones Brianna admitted to. I know I was appalled. She said once she... "hocked a loogey from her throat and spit it into a resident's mouth..." Isn't that how you would like your family member treated?

I wonder if people think that pretty girls aren't capable of being vulgar, rude and crude? It's like reverse discrimination.

I hesitate to say this, but if they weren't pretty young little things from a small town, if they weren't dance team sportsy kind of girls, do you think some people would laugh it off the same way? If they were homely, if they were heavy-set, if they were immigrants, or if they were open lesbians, say...would they be treated the same? Looked at the same? Would it have taken seven months from the time it was reported to hit the national news? Would they be out walking around free?

And would people be less surprised if the perpetrators were men? Only then, they wouldn't chuckle about it behind their hands. Would they be saying how lucky the guys were to see "Brian's" bare derriere? Would they have the prosecutor already saying that they would probably get off with a suspended sentence and probation, like Craig Nelson, Freeborn County Attorney has already said?

And if the men were men of color? God help them. They'd be like the Jena 6: buried in jail as deep as officials could find paperwork to cover them.

It kind of reminds me of Abu Ghraib. It was nowhere near as severe, but it's just because the girls were so open between each other about what they were doing to the residents. Taking pictures of the residents when they were vulnerable, when the girls were teasing and tormenting them. It was just for fun, they said, or because the residents made them mad, or who knows why else. But the residents were dehumanized. They were powerless. They didn't even have a voice because the girls chose patients who couldn't remember or verbalize well enough to tell on them. And none of the young workers who knew about it wanted to be the one to tell the truth about what was happening because they might put themselves at risk.

It makes me want to ask where the distinction between right and wrong has gone? What is it that makes people think they can do these things to people? What has happened to compassion and character? Why do some people get it, and others like these girls, really don't?

I guess for me the bottom line is that people make mistakes. These girls made some. Heck. I've made some, too. Not exactly the same, but who's to say what anyone could do? We're all flawed. I don't think any of us could say without a doubt what we might do in a particular situation, given the wrong circumstances.

Now the question is, what will they learn from it? What will we all learn from it? Any thoughts on the situation?


karen said...

Maybe if those involved find themselves vulnerable in a jail cell, someone may commit the same acts against them. I wonder how funny it would be to them then? Those poor senior citizens and their families - to endure this when they should be shown the greatest respect in our society, as all elders should. That it went on for so long shows without a doubt that they had absolutely no remorse. Honestly, I'm more sad than mad. My head is shaking ... these young girls appear to have so much going for them - but their hearts utterly decayed.

Becky K. said...

That is beyond sad!!!! I am sickened to read about it.

I went to both My Space pages. I could only read one...but it showed exactly what kind of person this girl is. I hope that any future employer would take a long, hard look at this page and the record she now has.

I don't know the legalities but I do agree that we, as a society, do not expect this atrocious behavior from individuals that look like this. We definitely stereotype. Sad, but true.

Crazy Daisy said...

i don't even know what to say. I'm disgusted, frustrated, and saddened. I agree with what you are saying about if it were someone else that looked different than these 2 do. The feelings above also are from how do people think this is okay? What went wrong for these girls/women? How can we prevent this?